Havelock North Armed Robbery Impacts On Family

The Dom Post has today reported on the robbery of another small business in New Zealand, this time a dairy (NZ vernacular for a small convenience store) in the small town of Havelock North.

The report in itself is surprising given that there are restrictions on crime reports that are released to the press.

It tells of the terror an immigrant family faced when trying to run a small business in small town New Zealand. Their story must be similar to that of many other dairy owners, for whom the death of Navtej Singh who died in his store when he was shot in the chest with a rifle,  must be still prominent in their minds, and it demonstrates how acts of robbery impact on migrant families who come to New Zealand looking for better lives.

Four men came into the family’s Middle Road Dairy on Sunday afternoon and held a rifle to Mr Ramjit Ramjit as they robbed his store,  metres away from where his wife was preparing the family’s evening meal. The Dom Post said:

Mr Ramjit said the experience was terrifying, particularly as most of his family were in the rear of the dairy in Middle Rd, Havelock North, where they lived. His 10-year-old son was due to walk through the front door of the shop at any minute…

But this wasn’t an isolated incident by any means, Mr Ramjit’s only staff member was held up at gunpoint in the town last year and is still traumatised by that event. According to the Dom Post.

Mr Ramjit said he would not consider changing occupations, but his sole staff member was not so sure. John Booth sold his own dairy in Havelock North last year after being held up at gunpoint in April. He and his mother and aunt were in his Lipscombe Cres dairy when a man with a pistol burst in and took cash.

Mr Booth said his decision to sell the business was directly related to the robbery. “It was just too scary.” Though he had not been in the dairy on Sunday, the robbery had frightened him all over again.

“I was just starting to come right. Now I’m very nervous again.” Read the full report here

We checked our list and found just two other aggravated robberies in small businesses in the town that had been reported on by the media since 2009. There is the hold-up at Lipscombe Dairy on 2 April, in which the accused had been bailed and had then crashed his vehicle. The other was at the Video Ezy on 10 March this year when a man threatened staff with a spanner before stealing cash.

Coincidentally, Havleock North was one of four regions in New Zealand included in an Victoria University Study – Not in my backyard? Crime in the Neighbourhood

The study showed that although >80% of people thought crime was a problem in New Zealand  63.2 per cent of them believed it was a problem only in other areas. Given the rising crime figures in New Zealand, which includes the fifth highest murder rate in the OECD and the overall rise in total offences in the Hastings area, that raises some questions as to the accuracy of crime reporting by the media and how much the public’s perception’s of crime can be influenced by news reporting.

Recorded crime in the area, 2008 & 2009

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