Progress in ram raid fight 

Te Awamutu’s main street retailers appear to be on the same page as the district council in the fight against crime – and ram raids in particular.

The chair of the retailer’s Ram Raid Committee, James Clark, says Alexandra St shop owners are looking at two types of ram-raid proof defences along their store fronts.

What’s not on the cards are an ugly roller-door type defence or concrete block bollards.

Clark said 11 retailers already had installed barriers and following a committee survey, another 11 had indicated they wanted to protect themselves.

“It looks like every at-risk retailer has put their hand up,” he said.

The committee formed last year had set out to work with retailers and support the CommSafe organisation and its drive for volunteers. CommSafe,  formed in Te Awamutu in 2006, runs community patrols, coordinates  Neighbourhood Support and monitors CCTV – security cameras.

The committee was keen to see retailers follow the process rather than do work first and “seek forgiveness after”.

Retailers in Alexandra St are using two types of  barriers – standalone bollards and a crash barrier which has uprights and cross bars.

Clark said the committee had also been given useful information by Waipā District Council to get a clear understanding of the application process for retailers. In some cases where shops were recessed there would be no fee, while others which were not might have to apply for a “right to occupy” space.

He met mayor Susan O’Regan and Transportation manager Bryan Hudson last week. The committee is pushing for more and better CCTV coverage and also wants to unlock any funding streams which could be made available to help retailers help themselves.

Clark said the security issue had gained greater traction as a consequence of the killing of dairy worker Janak Patel in Sandringham, Auckland.

When the ram raid committee was formed in May, Noel Leeming had been hit three times in 14 months. It now has a post and rail protection.

Off the top of his head Clark – who was appointed chair in September – could recall about eight incidents where Te Awamutu retailers had been the victim of ram raids – “enough to cause alarm”.

District councillors met this week to discuss a working party recommendation to accelerate their installation.

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