It’s time to ask the unpalatable yet unavoidable question – if Auckland is fast becoming the city of Ram raids?

Because if we do not ask this question now, then we will surely not be doing anything substantive about it, and most certainly, we will be ascribed with the ignominious label of Auckland becoming the city of ram raids – regardless we like it or not.

The pattern of ram raids in the last few weeks demonstrates a growing spike in not only the number of ram raids but also a growing sense of audacity and brazenness, in the manner of carrying out such raids.

It has also become apparent that the crime scene is shifting beyond the erstwhile targets of mom-and-pop dairy stores located in remote suburbs to bigger retail outlets located centrally in the heart of shopping centres and the CBD area.

While some dairy operators, particularly within ethnic migrant communities, who for many months now have been crying out loud about the rising graph of retail crime and the financial, emotional, and psychological stress that such despicable acts of violence leaves on them - may find this a good thing - in a hope now there will be more urgent prioritisation on the raging issue than it is currently getting from the police, authorities, and the government.

However, regardless of this opportunistic thinking largely emanating from the frustration and desperation of victims of retail crime, everyone is equally concerned about the rising level of audacity and brazenness in the ram-raid incidents.

Earlier in the month, on the night of Sunday, April 10, a high-end luxury boutique Gucci was among two stores that were targeted in ram-raids that took place in Queen Street, in Auckland CBD.

Recently a retailer’s old parents were held on knifepoint by two young girls right in the middle of Sandringham shops in broad daylight – the fourth such raid in less than six months.

In the latest incident on Monday, April 26, three stolen cars drove into a South Auckland mall where they hit Noel Leeming and other shops, walking away with electrical goods and clothes and leaving behind a trail of destruction of broken glasses and windows, and fearful and unsure staff and workers in the precinct.

The CCTV footage of the Ormiston shopping centre ram-raid shows almost a dozen offenders running behind three cars going berserk inside the shopping mall in a regimented manner, depicts an imagery nothing less than a “mauling” of the otherwise pristine shopping precinct in the middle of the night.

To brush aside such an audacious “mauling” of a centrally located shopping centre as another act of merely thrill-seeking “young offenders” is akin to choosing to keep’s head buried under the sand.

If the police, the authorities, and this government is assuming that these rampant acts of brazenness will automatically subside on their own, they are grossly mistaken or, at worst – disillusioned.

NZ police seem to remain stuck in the past and following the same pattern of actions that were probably effective a few years ago, such as educating retailers of implementing structural changes in shops by bearing additional costs such as placing bollards to disincentivise potential future ram-raids.

However, they still seem clueless or, at best unsupported with adequate laws to be able to take punitive actions that could potentially deter such wannabe “ram-raiders.”

Police also remain clueless on how to effectively respond to several victims of retail crime who point them to real-time evidence where some young offenders are seen flaunting the exploits of ram-raids without any sense of fear or consequences of their actions.

This will not change unless the government of the day remains as inattentive or as dismissive as it is now towards the gravity of the problem of rising incidences of ram-raids.

It may not be too far that our City of Sails acquires an ignominious reputation of being a city of ram-raids if the unbridled youths are allowed to run amok while the adults (in the government) continue to choose to remain oblivious.