A spate of aggravated dairy and petrol station robberies in Tauranga in the last couple of months has left one question in people's minds – how do we stop this sort of crime?
SunLive asked a number of people in the community the question.
While there was no real answer, one general suggestion that kept popping up was for the shops to stop selling cigarettes.
This may seem like a simple solution, but it's properly not a practical one for the service stations and dairies in the community.
With the increasing amount of armed robberies taking place, police are launching a new taskforce to deal with such crime.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush announced earlier this month a campaign targeting those responsible for receiving property stolen in aggravated robberies.
As part of the campaign, police will be running a series of targeted ads on social media and on national and district Facebook pages encouraging people to call Crimestoppers if they have any information on stolen goods from aggravated robberies.
“Crimestoppers is an avenue that police use to enable members of the community to provide information on crimes anonymously, and we encourage anyone who has information which could help us identify offenders to use that option if they are not comfortable contacting their local police or providing their details to us,” says Mike.
“Police will be offering a reward for any information provided to Crimestoppers as part of this stolen goods campaign that leads to a successful prosecution. It's important to note however that to be eligible for a reward you will need to provide your details to Crimestoppers when you call.”
The Crimestoppers campaign and associated reward offer will initially run until the end of June. Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111.
Police are also putting more resources on the streets, high-visibility patrols, in high-risk areas at high-risk times, to deter offenders and improve response times if something does happen.
“We have formed a special taskforce to focus on aggravated robbery, using street-level intelligence and social media as an investigative tool,” says Mike.
The new taskforce will be made up of more than 20 officers working across Auckland.
“Our approach to these robberies, as with all crime, has three areas of focus - to catch offenders, prevent crime from happening in the first place, and understand what is driving the offending.
“We are working hard to understand the drivers of this type of offending, and why it is on the rise. It is complex and we are working with other government agencies and NGOs on the issues.
“We are also working with community groups and business associations, both to address their concerns and tap into what they can offer within their areas of influence.”