An Auckland business leader says it will take more than fog cannons to protect shopkeepers from violent crime.
A 34-year-old man working at the Rose Cottage Superette in Sandringham was fatally stabbed in on Wednesday night.
Police said there was a confrontation between the victim and a robber who took the drawer from the till.
On Thursday night people gathered outside the dairy to mourn the man, describing him as an innocent soul, and laying flowers in his memory.
A distraught relative of the dead man said he was on the phone to him when the robbery happened.
The family member runs a dairy in Cambridge and said he heard the man’s wife say something was going on in the shop, but he didn’t know what happened next.
The relative said something was going wrong with people in this country.
“It’s very bad, if you take something you just take it and go outside, that’s it. But why hurt people, why kill people, that’s not right.”
Rose Cottage Superette had reportedly been turned down twice for a fog cannon despite a 15-year history of violence and theft.
Police Minister Chris Hipkins said based on what he could see the business should have qualified, and was asking police for an explanation.
“What we know from evidence is that fog cannons can make a difference in situations like this.
“It is still not clear to me at this point why it was that they weren’t able to access one, so I don’t want to say that there was nothing further that could be done because at this point I don’t have enough information to be able to really answer that.”
A subsidy for fog cannons has been available since 2017. RNZ has asked police for comment.
The superette isn’t the only business in the area denied funding for a fog cannon, according to the Sandringham Business Association.
Chairperson Jithin Chittibomma said one local vape store was attacked six times before it finally got a state-funded fog cannon, and a liquor store gave up asking and bought its own.
But the real problem to be addressed was how to stop violent offending.
“Someone was stabbed here after the perpetrator was confronted, so a fog cannon or a bollard wouldn’t have helped in any way in that situation,” he said.
“What we’ve seen is absolutely ‘I don’t care’ attitude, a sense of entitlement” that someone could go into a shop and take what they want and there was s nothing anyone could do to them.
“How do you change that attitude? It goes beyond fog cannons and bollards.”
Chittibomma said there was anger towards the authorities that not enough was done to avoid the death.
“We all saw this coming … but for it to actually happen a couple of nights ago it’s just incredibly sad.”
He had no hope that anything would improve if the government continued with the same reactions.
“We still are in shock, we haven’t even come together to discuss what we’re going to do next.”
Everyone was emotional and angry right now and a few business owners told him they just want to shut up shop. “It’s all up in the air right now … we need to let things settle down and see how people react.”