I think they’re going to have to start offering danger money to work in a jewellery store these days.
These clowns in hoods and masks, they’re probably just teenagers trying it on, but they’re armed, they’re yelling at people as they smash up glass cases and demand jewellery, and that must be terrifying if you’re working in a mall not knowing how it could all end up.
Hamilton shoppers witnessed not just one, but two smash and grabs in one day at the weekend. Broad daylight, busy shopping areas, armed robbers these days do not care.
They don’t care how busy the mall is, how packed the shop might be, how many witnesses are there, they just go in anyway. Witnesses said some in the group of robbers looked as young as 13.
Retailers, shoppers, the public, we’ve all been saying it’s not long before someone gets injured or worse; so how bad does it have to get? Some of the young children who witnessed all this in Hamilton were traumatised and wanted to go back home to Northland.
And that’s a problem too – how do you think this goes down with tourists and what about international visitors? What sort of look is this? If shoppers were left horrified and workers sobbing, then where does that leave our reputation as a warm and friendly open country?
One of my sons in the States said how awful it would be if we go the way of America where people start arming themselves for this very reason. Lack of consequences, lack of Police action, lack of response. It is making people want to take matters into their own hands, which is worrying Police.
Experts are warning bystanders to stay clear and not attempt to stop these armed robbers; so who is stopping them? Who actually cares about what's happening here?
It doesn't help to have had a PM more focussed on the world stage than what is going on back here. I mean great to be overseas promoting New Zealand as a country if all back home here is rosy and fine and we truly are open for business, but we’re not.
I think we'd feel better about the PM promoting New Zealand if and when her Government had addressed all the pressing issues really upsetting New Zealanders right now, like the upsurge in violent crime emergency housing, poverty, inflation and kids not turning up to school.
But if at home is a mess, there’s a fierce labour shortage where many places still don’t even have enough staff to open their doors, and then others who do are being ram raided and smashed into, then what does that say about priorities?
It’s hard to know when serious stuff like this might be taken seriously, I feel like we've all been banging on about it forever.
I don’t know how many editorials I’ve written on it, or how many times we have to say it, or how many opposition politicians have begged the Government to act, or how many retailers have raised concerns, but it feels like crickets are chirping.
And all the while smash and grabs continue, offenders remain emboldened, Police remain on the back foot, and innocent bystanders risk real injury or worse.
It should not be scary, or dangerous, to go into a mall with your family at the weekend. It should not be dangerous for retailers to go to work and yet, here we still are.
Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.
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