You’ve probably seen the headlines – there’s an epidemic of ram raids in New Zealand.

The numbers are staggering. In fact, there has been a 400% increase in ram raids in the past five years. 

In the 12 months until July 2022, New Zealand Police recorded 436 ram raids – more than double those recorded in the previous 12 months.

There is a lot of commentary about why this is happening, often revolving around the young age of the offenders and social media.

But what could this mean for businesses owners, particularly those with small business that have been the target of raiders?

How are ram raids affecting small businesses

Ram raids are costing businesses thousands in stolen items and damage. Retail crime costs New Zealand retailers $1 billion each year and this year’s rise in ram raids is likely to see the total climb even higher.

Money and the cash register are often the major targets of raiders, followed by tobacco, cigarettes, alcohol, and designer and branded goods (particularly surf and sports gear) as well as power tools.  The raiders are generally looking for goods that are easy to sell through social media.

The New Zealand Government recently announced support to help police protect small businesses affected by the increased ram raids.

The Government has invested $6 million in a crime prevention programme which includes solutions such as installing bollards or other protection structures.

With this funding, police will work closely with vulnerable small retailers. But most business owners will have to look at how they can avoid becoming ram raid victims.

“Retail crime costs NZ retailers $1 billion each year and this year’s rise in ram raids is likely to see the total climb even higher”

Do you have the right cover and protection?

For a start, talk to your Steadfast Broker to ensure you have the right cover. While it can be tempting to cut cover costs, this could prove risky down the track.

As a business owner, you may also want to set aside a security budget to help. It’s worthwhile speaking with your local police for advice on crime prevention in your area.

5 tips to decrease the risk of ram raiders

There are some practical things that you may be able to do to deter raiders and to help protect your business. 

  • Block access

Make sure ram vehicles don’t have a clear run to smash into your premises. A growing number of businesses are installing safety bollards outside their premises, but they can be costly. The good news is Auckland Transport is streamlining the process for businesses to apply for bollards.

  • CCTV systems and alarms

This may seem only important after a crime has taken place, but they are also effective in preventing attacks. Make sure they are regularly service and that you have signs, so that potential thieves know they’re in place.

  • Fog cannons

Some retailers are installing fog cannons, which create a dense smoke barrier when triggered by an alarm. Thieves get startled or blinded by the smoke and retreat.

  • Remove temptation

It’s one of the simplest but most effective means of reducing risk. Remove temptation from the shop window at night by taking out valuable stock. Also, inside, move stock out of sight and take the till drawer out to show it’s empty.

  • Support staff

A good idea is to have your staff undertake training from security experts, so they know how to handle themselves if a crime is being committed.

 

Plan to protect your business from ram raids

The impact of ram raids is rarely just monetary. There is often also an emotional effect on those targeted, especially business owners who have been hit more than once.

Many victims, both owners and staff, can be traumatised by criminal acts committed at the premises. Remember that staff may need professional counselling after an attack.

Ram raids and similar criminal acts are becoming more and more prevalent. The impact on a small business can be disastrous, in cost, time wasted repairing the damage, and the effect on you and your staff.

Take time to ensure you premises is as secure as possible, and that you have the right plans, protection and cover in place.

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