Saturday, January 21, 2023

Owen Jennings: The new normal

Two young guys, hoodie dressed, walked out of a South Auckland supermarket each pushing a trolley heaped with wine, chips and cake. They didn’t pay. No one stopped them, including the overweight security man who was studiously looking the other way. Apparently, the local cops know them but have “more important matters” to deal with including filling in numerous forms that are supposed to improve policing and safety.

How do I know? A close family member works in that supermarket and witnessed the brazen theft.

Theft in supermarkets is common. It has increased dramatically since someone decided that criminals would not be stopped if they had got passed the checkout and that police would not be notified. Staff are not allowed to interfere at all. Security can only intervene if culprits can be caught prior to checkout. We are not talking about women with large coats nicking a few items in their inside pockets – it is loaded trolleys pushed out the door in full view.

It is one reason for higher grocery prices – we are subsidising petty crooks. Retail theft amounted to $1.2 Billion last year. That’s the recorded stuff only. Double it at least. It's over $800 a household and maybe well over a $1,000 if unrecorded crime is added in.

If you buy weekly, your grocery bill could be $25 to $30 higher just to keep the crooks happy.

Statistics are being manipulated to make it look like crime is down. Listen to the Government and they will pull numbers showing theft crime is down, police numbers are up and there is nothing to worry about. Try telling that to a supermarket owner or the local corner dairy.

Gang numbers increased 50% between October 2017 and June 2021 to well over 8,000. The tough end of gang land operates in hard drugs monopolising the trade and pulling serious profits. The newbies run the car thefts, ram raids, shop thefts and nick stuff from supermarkets.

Police are now caught up in more and more welfare work, dealing with mental health issues, court time and endless paperwork. Labour is quick to point out extra police on the beat but the workload is up over 60% and the numbers barely 10%. More and more of the ‘low level’ crime is simply ignored because of a lack of resource.

Only about one third of recorded crime is solved and with a high level of crime not being recorded, criminals are playing the odds knowing they have a high chance of never facing any consequences. Further should they be in the small group of apprehended they know those consequences will be a minimal disruption and cost. The old adage that crime does not pay is turned on its head.

Figures show that the Auckland area has 1530 crimes per 10,000 people- 667 more than surrounding areas – and it shows a massive increase over previous years.

Australia has three times the coppers on the streets per head of population than Auckland. Maybe that is a factor in the major crime rate being only a third of ours per capita.

Those who say jail is not the answer and that more needs to be done to rehabilitate miscreants are losing both ways. No jail and no rehab. And so are we. The anti-jail lobby is working well with lots of help from the bench. Community service is a very sick joke with limited supervision, no penalties for “no shows” and guys just sleeping it off in the corner. Ankle bracelets and home detention means more porno movies and Maccas delivered by courier.

The answer? Education and heavy intervention taking control through mentoring and tough love. That is another story for another time and, sadly, avoided like a plague.

Owen Jennings, a former Member of Parliament and President of Federated Farmers, maintains a keen interest in ensuring agricultural policies are sensible and fit for purpose. This article was first published HERE


Anonymous said...

Supermarkets are a bit slow on the uptake for making preventative alternatives.
How hard is it to put security on the inside of the exits? Get people to remove hoods and sunglasses on the way in. Put a remote locking device on the trolley wheels that is locked passing the checkout and released when things are paid for? Snipers on the roof??? We are wimpy wimps and are getting the society we deserve.

Robert Arthur said...

Home detention as a punishment is a farce. As a retired person I would sacrifice little but grocery shopping outings. During months of Covid I was effectively in home detention apart from an occasional solitary exercise bike ride. Presumably where income is affected some allowance is provided. Who fetches and pays for the groceries? For the majority with a band of mates to deliver females, drinks, smokes and more, and company to go with, no great inconvenience. As a demonstration of having made a swipe at conventional civilised behaviour (ie acting out "imagining decolonisation") mana is gained.
Return of the stocks, or hard labour, would be more effective.
I have observed work gangs. A day out in the sunshine with the boys. No supervisor is going to get tough with such ratbags, especially knowing of their irrational and violent associates.

Anonymous said...

I wish more people would become more Knowledgeable about how absolutely destroyed our education system is.I subscribe to the belief that if you fix education everything else will come right.The most important thing in schooling is literacy and thanks to Marie Clay's balanced literacy.We are now right at the bottom on international tests.Can you imagine what it is like for a child who fails to read.Year after year,day in day out you are in a classroom where everyone in the class knows you can't read and they can't help thinking you are a 'retard".Your self esteem plummets and there is little chance things will ever improve for you.You may be given certificates and commendation for trying or helping but you are still reading books with pictures while most of the class can read chapter books.You get bullied a lot because you are 'stupid". Parents often think you are not trying hard enough and you can have trouble finding friends because you feel so insecure. Often you don't want to go to school at all You develop school anxiety.Watching videos at home is less intimidating. Schools may get a psychologist to categorize you with a number of learning disorders. But they are used as an excuse for why they failed to teach you. They won't admit this, of course. You are in a low group with other "retards'.The veges group.
The future looks bleak.Just for a bit of excitement they plan to smash some windows and shop lift.It doesn't matter how hard you try you just can't succeed at learning.Why keep on trying .Its all hopeless .You'll never be able to get a decent job or read or write properly. Someone will have to help you read medicine bottles,menus, timetables. manuals, newspapers,application forms,the road code etc. You have lifetime of failure and dependence ahead. You become frustrated, depressed and angry. When you started school you were so excited and had such high hopes of a bright future.It's all dashed now. Why couldn't someone have just cared enough to ensured you could read and then you could join the rest of society and be like everyone else ?