“Hamilton West has not had a single business fitted out with protective equipment from the Retail Crime Prevention Programme that the Government announced six months ago,” says ACT MP and Hamilton West candidate James McDowall.

“I have been out talking to business owners in Hamilton and crime is their number one concern.

“Business owners have told me they are sourcing protective equipment privately and using things like steel poles because the wait for bollards is too long and the risk is too great, they will not be reimbursed for this.

“Others have found they are ineligible, even if they have already been the victim of a ram raid.

“Since Labour got into Government, there has been a 400% increase in ram raids around the country, around 10 a week.

“In Waikato alone, there were 81 ram raids from May to October. Just two weekends ago in Hamilton, there were seven businesses targeted by ram raiders in one night, and 29 retail burglaries in the week leading up to it.

“There are businesses that have been repeatedly targeted by youth criminals, like one dairy owner in Te Rapa who was robbed 10 times within two weeks.

“ACT says serious, violent youth offenders should be on electronic monitoring.

“Nobody wants to see young people incarcerated. Aside from the fact youth justice facilities are full, they are known to be a training ground for worse offending.

“If young offenders have a tracking bracelet, their mates will not want them around and penalties such as staying at home at the weekend and after 5pm could be enforced.

“They can be used to ensure kids are going to school and not associating with other criminals.  It keeps these young offenders out of youth justice facilities, and it means they can be tracked to the scene of a crime.

“Ninety five per cent of youth offenders dealt with by Youth Aid are seen only once, we're talking about the worst five per cent of youth offenders.

“ACT proposed ankle bracelets in our Law and Order policy document in August. Ram raids are being carried out by the same, hardened group of young people who face no consequences. They’re too young for prison, they’re known to escape from youth justice facilities, or are sent home to their families where they have a lack of guidance and discipline.

“This is exactly the sort of consequences that Labour should be looking into. Some people will say 11-14 is too young to wear an ankle bracelet. Do those same people say it’s too young to carry out a ram raid? ACT says if you can do the crime, you can cop the punishment.

“Hamilton West deserves action, and I will continue to fight for it.”

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