30 Nov 2022

Canterbury businesses 'menaced' by smash and grabs and antisocial behaviour

2:44 pm on 30 November 2022
2018 DEC 22, New Zealand, Christchurch, New Regent st,

Staff of Canterbury businesses are in a "constant state of fear", Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Leeann Watson says. File image. Photo: 123rf.com

Eighty Canterbury businesses have signed a joint letter calling on the government for help with crime.

The letter was coordinated by the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce.

Chief executive Leeann Watson said Canterbury businesses were growing increasingly concerned about crime and antisocial behaviour.

"We, nor the 80 businesses who have signed the joint letter to the government, can no long sit by idly when businesses and residents are being menaced by a continual stream of smash and grabs leaving staff in a constant state of fear, antisocial behaviour spreading throughout the city centre."

Watson said the government's response to the situation so far was insufficient.

"We need to see action. Government must ensure there are sufficient resources and changes to ensure those in roles of authority can act and that there are immediate consequences for those who commit these hideous crimes," she said.

There seemed to be a lack of concern for non-criminal but antisocial behaviour, she said.

"What we're starting to hear and see more of is this antisocial behaviour that doesn't necessarily meet the threshold of being a criminal activity, so largely there are no consequences."

Watson's examples of this behaviour included teenagers crowding people, waiting outside businesses when they closed, and general intimidation.

"Those are the sorts of behaviours that are very frightening for staff and do have the potential to change the perception of our city."

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced support for dairy owners following the death of a worker at Rose Cottage Superette in Auckland's Sandringham.

Cabinet signed off an additional package to support businesses. This included:

  • A new $4m fund to support local council crime prevention programmes to be matched dollar-for-dollar with councils
  • Expanding the Retail Crime Prevention Fund to include aggravated robberies committed in the past year
  • A $4000 subsidy for small shops and dairies to install a fog cannon if they choose, "not just those who have been the victim of a crime"

Further details over the $4000 subsidy would be made available over the coming week, but it would be done through an authorised supplier list, Ardern said.

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