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Commercial Crime Stats: Insurance Claims Reveal Targets

Insurance claims for commercial crime increased 26% in 2022, with Auckland bearing the brunt, data released today by NZI reveals. Of the 3,698 commercial crime claims received by insurer NZI, 37% were in Auckland.

This places Auckland well above the Waikato’s 18%, followed by Canterbury at 12%, Bay of Plenty at 8% and Wellington at 7%.

“While population will no doubt factor into this, it’s clear that businesses right across the country are suffering from an increase in crime, particularly burglary,” says Garry Taylor, Executive General Manager NZI.

For the past five years, burglary has remained the most common type of commercial crime claim, making up 75% of crime claims in 2022 (2,773 claims).

Auckland again tops the regions for burglary claims, but the Bay of Plenty had the second highest number of burglary claims in 2022, with 288 claims (after Auckland at 508), despite being ranked 8th overall for crime claims.

“Anecdotally, the addition of vape products in dairies appears to increase the risk of burglaries,” says Mr Taylor. “Over the past decade, security measures for cigarettes have been developed and improved and are now at generally good standards. However, vaping products, which are newer to New Zealand, tend to have fewer security measures, making them common targets for thieves.”

Ram raids soar

Ram raids also feature in insurance crime claims, with Auckland (38%), Waikato (25%) and Canterbury (10%) the top three targets in 2022, followed by the Bay of Plenty (8%). Northland and Wellington rank equally in 5th place (5% each).

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In 2022, NZI received 213 ram raid claims, a 132% increase from 2021 (92 claims) and 420% above 2020 (41 claims).

“Unfortunately, we are seeing ram raids feature more often,” says Mr Taylor. “These crimes are incredibly disruptive, and it can take a long time for businesses to recover.Often there is significant damage to the building, on top of the loss of stock.In some parts of the country, supply chain shortages have meant lead times to procure shop front glass and tradespeople has increased.

“Ram raiders tend to target branded goods and items that are easily disposable through social media – so branded clothing, surf and sports gear. Power tools and cigarettes have traditionally been stolen, but vape products are now frequent targets too.”

Retail shops continue to be targeted

In terms of retail crime, Auckland (32.5%) and Waikato (26%) lead the country, again followed by Canterbury (11%), the Bay of Plenty (9.2%) and Wellington (6.5%).

However, Northland had the highest average cost of retail theft related claims, despite making up only 1% of total retail theft claims. Similarly, Hawke’s Bay ranked 4th for average cost, despite being in 8th place for overall claims lodged.

NZI’s tips to help prevent retail crime and ram raids

  • Firstly, talk to your insurance broker for advice around your insurance needs and tips to prevent crimes. They will be able to give advice specific to your situation such as the examples listed below.
  • Professionally installed steel bollards are strong visual deterrents, or ram beams if underground cables and pipework make bollards difficult to install.
  • Move stock out of sight and take the till drawer out to show it is empty.
  • Turn alternate coat hangers around on clothing racks to slow down a smash and grab.
  • Use high quality, locked cabinets and minimise excess stock for products such as cigarettes and vapes.
  • If possible, consider changing store layout, to allow better visibility of entrances and exits, and /or install controlled access where only one customer can enter at a time.
  • Fog cannons can fill a store with a heavy harmless fog in 10-20 seconds that is so thick, you can’t see your hand in front of your face. Not only does it prevent raiders from seeing stock, but the fog can also allow store owners and staff to make a safe exit. We suggest integrating the cannon with any existing building alarm system, so that when the alarm signals, the fog cannon automatically activates. This will ensure stock is protected after hours (the most common time for ram raids), while staff are not onsite.
  • There are also fog cannon models that come with a personal panic button that can be worn on a necklace, and therefore activated from anywhere in the shop, not just the counter.
  • The local police can also provide advice on the latest burglary prevention measures.

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