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New Zealand

Revealed: What’s Behind Ram Raid’s Rampage? TikTok and adrenaline

Rick Stevens

One of 42 Rum raid robberies at Glengarry Wines.

One of 42 Rum raid robberies at Glengarry Wines.
Photo: attached

The children and young people behind the 2022 assaults learned about domestic violence, driven in part by the fun, the adrenaline rush, and the notoriety of posting themselves on TikTok.

There were few established gang members, but they were loosely grouped around an influential ringleader.

When these leaders were forced out of certain areas or placed in youth custody, local crime decreased.

The people behind the assault and the scale of the problem have been revealed in a series of ministerial briefing papers from the police obtained by Open Justice under the Public Information Act.

More than 500 ram attacks have been reported in 2022, a six-fold increase from four years ago. The worst affected areas are Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

Hundreds of people have been charged with assault this year, about 80% of them under the age of 18.

Improving the security of dairy stores and small retailers, the most common targets for cash, tobacco and clothing, has proven costly.

Physical barriers cost $1000 per bollard and the most vulnerable stores require an average of six. Inexpensive variations such as planter boxes, roller doors, and fog cannons are mixed in.

The earliest of the briefing papers was a previously classified police intelligence report dated last January, just as the ram raid rate rose to more than 40 per month.

Among the findings was that large chain store retailers and gas stations that may have previously been targeted in raid attacks already had the resources to implement effective security measures. was included.

Money/cash registers, retail goods including clothing, cigarettes/tobacco, and liquor were the most stolen items, in that order.

“Both Waikato and the Bay of Plenty… Rum raids are reportedly being carried out for entertainment and notoriety,” the January report said.

“Issues are often posted online. In Waikato, they are even live-streamed for others to see.”

By May, concerns about the assault surged to such an extent that a meeting was convened with several ministers and officials, including the police, to discuss the issue.

Ormiston Town Center Mall Rum Raid - Noel Leaming Store

The aftermath of the Ram attack on Noel Leaming.
Photo: RNZ / Malika Kabazi

A police briefing paper on one such meeting said the assaults were linked to young people’s exposure to a “negative home environment,” being out of school, financial gain, and “using social media, particularly TikTok.” It is likely that it is caused by a combination of “using and advertising”. Commit their crimes and gain notoriety.”

A briefing paper in May said, “Young people and children get offended in order to gain approval and attention from their peers.

“Some criminals show off by uploading videos of criminal activity and stolen goods on social media.

“In turn, they attract support and attention, provide negative reinforcement, and encourage further attacks.

“The video has been viewed by other young people and children who are very impressionable.

Police were also concerned about the level of school truancy. Elsewhere, it was reported that more than half of junior high school students did not attend regularly this year.

But one of the most powerful factors behind those who carry out ram raids is that they have been subjected to violence in their own homes.

Of the 29 people who went through the youth justice system in assault cases in May, all but one were recorded in the police system as having been involved in family violence as participants or witnesses.

One 16-year-old had received 37 police family calls of harm before he was arrested for the attack.

By July, police had conducted a detailed analysis of 63 young assailants.

This left only three with gang ties, but more than half had been reported to the police via domestic violence reports before the age of three.

More than half had been reported as missing at some stage, and more than half had been dealt with under Section 48 of the Oranga Tamaliki Act 1989.

Police generally noted a lack of engagement in education and health services, which may have been affected by the post-2020 Covid lockdown.

On Tuesday, May 17th, a car hit Bottle O on Walters Road, Takanini.

On Tuesday, May 17th, a car hit Bottle O on Walters Road, Takanini.
Photo: RNZ / Mohammad Alafeshat

They also said this limited some of the intervention work by various agencies that may have addressed some of the youth’s behavior before escalating into assaults.

Another briefing said that for many people, being offended provides a way to “escape from a negative home environment.”

“Young criminals tell police it’s for the adrenaline rush, to avoid boredom, and because they love to drive.”

As for measures, the police are assisting retailers through a retail crime prevention scheme specifically set up in response to assault incidents, now extended to small businesses where robberies have gone awry.

When it was first established, the police covered the cost of installing the bollards at $1000 plus GST per bollard and worked on the assumption that the average retailer would need six.

At the time, police expected 500 robberies, half of which would be protected small businesses, meaning that 250 stores would each require $6,000 worth of bollards.

The cost was $1.5 million, plus $825,000 in police time to implement the plan, representing a total of $2,325,000 spent from crime prevention funds. For 500 facilities, the cost doubles.

Since then, the police have announced new measures, including a subsidy program for fog cannons ($4,000 per retailer) and a $4 million fund to support the city councils of Oakland, Hamilton and the Bay of Plenty, to help improve streetlights, CCTV, and more. Crime prevention measures such as cameras and planter boxes are in place. .

Police Minister Chris Hipkins told parliament on December 1 that 189 stores had completed police evaluations and 116 had approved estimates or commissioned measures to be installed.

Robberies account for less than 1% of all retail thefts, according to police briefing documents.

* This story was originally New Zealand Herald.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/481402/revealed-what-s-behind-ram-raid-rampage-tiktok-and-adrenaline Revealed: What’s Behind Ram Raid’s Rampage? TikTok and adrenaline

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