Dairy design basically ‘advertising’ to criminals - urban designer

The AM Show 21/06/2018

Dairies across New Zealand have evolved into attractive environments for criminals, suggests an urban designer.

Dairy owners have been calling attention to repeat robberies and assaults on their shops, and even marched in south Auckland last year to call for more police patrols to protect them.  

Between June 2016 to May 2017, 1237 aggravated robberies were recorded at dairies and petrol stations. Many of the robberies were targeting high-priced cigarettes.

The thieves are thinking this is easy picking.

On Tuesday night, a mother and her adult son were violently attacked at Hylite Dairy on Great North Road in Grey Lynn. A man armed with a knife waited for customers to leave the store before stabbing the two victims.

Ludo Campbell-Reid, urban design champion at Auckland Council, says New Zealand needs to change the design of the shops to make them less appealing to criminals.

Mr Campbell-Reid told The AM Show the first thing we need to do is “think like a criminal”.

“[Criminals] are in and out. They want to not be seen. And they don’t want to be disturbed. So they’re looking for objects or places where that can occur.”

“I believe the design of a dairy is starting to look like a batting shop or something… You can’t see in, you can’t see out.”

When people are unable to see in or out of a dairy, Mr Campbell-Reid believes this becomes an easy target for thieves.

“The thieves are thinking this is easy picking,” he told The AM Show.

The urban designer suggests dairies open their windows, create visibility on both sides of the shop, and return to “the way dairies used to be in the old days”.

“We need to take down the advertising, remove the signs, open up dairies, free them up. And then you’ll be able to see this interaction between inside and outside,” he said.

Mr Campbell-Reid also recommended removing the cigarettes from behind the shopkeeper to another area, as it can create a target and exacerbate violence.

"It's pretty upsetting really and it is unacceptable levels of violence. [Dairies] are trying to sell our children lollies, a pint of milk and some bread, but they have to sit there for the majority of their day with a baseball bat behind the counter waiting to be attacked."

Watch the full interview with Ludo Campbell-Reid above.

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