23 May 2024

'Somebody tried to attack me' - Robbed Auckland shop owner says CBD no longer safe

12:55 pm on 23 May 2024

A shop owner near Auckland's Sky Tower says the area needs more police to keep his customers and employees safe.

Several businesses, including government agency Stats NZ, have expressed concerns about recent criminal activity in the city centre.

One shop owner on Victoria Street, who asked to stay anonymous so he would not be targeted, said he had been robbed multiple times.

"I'm worried about doing business in the CBD. [I was robbed] two or three times ... somebody tried to attack me. I've called police many times," he said.

"There are a lot of people sitting in front of shops drinking alcohol, I have to call security several times a day."

Sky Tower. Auckland CBD

Sky Tower. Auckland CBD Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

He said people would loiter outside his shop and ask customers for money as they entered and exited the store.

"It's unsafe for us to be doing business around [here]," he said.

"This is a tourist area in front of the Sky Tower, police should be around all the time and [look] after these people."

He urged police to set up more patrols in the area to protect tourists visiting the city.

Earlier this week, deputy mayor Desley Simpson said she had written to the ministers of police and mental health to find a solution together to address antisocial behaviour and crime in the central city.

"We're doing quite a lot from our perspective. We have added more money into the city centre in April for a safety coordinator with safety hubs, community patrols, New Zealand Māori and Pacific wardens," she said.

Auckland Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson

Auckland deputy mayor Desley Simpson. Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro

"And then again in May we've put some more funding in there for compliance wardens, but those compliance wardens really can only address low-level antisocial behaviour such as enforcing liquor bans and obstruction and general nuisance.

"But criminal behaviour has to be dealt with by police and we need the resources for that."

There needed to be a bigger police presence in the city, she said.

On Tuesday, police area commander Grant Tetzlaff said crime in Auckland CBD had been growing over recent years, but had plateaued in the past six months.

In a statement, Tetzlaff said police were working to help prevent alcohol-related disorder and crime.

"The issues causing crime in the CBD can be complex in nature and involve a number of agencies and community partners.

"For that reason, police cannot solve these issues alone."

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