Offenders beware! Waiuku shop owners have had enough of falling victim to intimidation and petty crime.
Over 60 Waiuku based shop owners, staff and concerned parties attended a meeting with Police on Wednesday night 30 August 2017, to discuss how to reduce crime in the Waiuku CBD area in response to a recent spate of petty theft and intimidation incidents.
Whilst some who attended were surprised to learn of the issues their fellow shop owners were facing, a number shared similar experiences of feeling unsafe in their own shops due to the actions of a handful of offenders, most of whom were youth. Others expressed frustration at the lack of response they had received from Police, especially when attempting to contact the local station.
Waiuku Sergeant Graeme Wood, who was joined by Inspector Kay Lane from the Pukekohe station, encouraged shop owners to make more use of the 111 service to report incidents.He explained that it was not possible to have the local stations manned for phone calls when officers were attending call outs, assisting the public and managing court related work.
“I often find that in rural areas, people are reluctant to call 111 because they don’t want to bother the Police, or they feel the matter isn’t urgent enough. But if you have someone come into your shop and you feel threatened by their behaviour, pick up the phone, tell the offender you are calling the Police and tell them to get out of your shop. Dial 111 and give the operator a full description of the offender and if you can, take a photo of them,” advised Sergeant Wood.
A strong sense of community could be felt in the room as shop owners shared ideas and discussed additional measures to deter and capture offenders. This included the use of social media, group sharing of information, trespass notices, greater CCTV use and security management.
Waiuku College Deputy Principal Todd Malcolm reiterated the college’s commitment to community safety, stating, “If one, or a group of college students is causing you concern, please take a photo of them and send it to us with details of your concerns. Often this is teenagers making poor decisions, but as a school, we will have follow up conversations with the students concerned, and in many cases, that will assist in sorting the matter out.”
Sergeant Wood advised that a number of offenders involved in recent incidents had been apprehended and dealt with through the justice system. He also noted that Waiuku is a great community and safer than most, and it is only a small group of people causing issues.
So what can you do if you witness threatening behaviour in your town? Firstly, keep yourself safe. Take a photo on your phone if you’re able to and call 111 with details of the incident and a description of the offender, place and time.