The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has thrown its support behind Victoria Police calls for a stronger response to punish violent thieves who commit crimes against retailers.
As the community reels from an increase in so-called “swarming thefts” where larger groups of criminals use intimidatory violence as a stealing tactic, North West Metro Commander Tim Hansen says police plan to lobby government to try and create a new “aggravated shop steal” offence.
AACS puts its weight behind call for stronger response to crime
AACS CEO Jeff Rogut agrees a stronger legislative response is needed to deter and punish violent criminals.
“Anyone who robs from honest retailers, and especially those who use violence in doing so have no place in our community. We want to see them removed from the streets and punished appropriately,” Mr Rogut said.
“It undermines the good work of police to apprehend these thieves only for the judicial system to give them a slap on the wrist and send them back out into the community to re-offend.
“It is unacceptable for anyone to face the threat of violence as they go about their work. We need police, the court system and law-makers to be on the same page on this issue. Get these criminals off our streets and make them pay for the physical, emotional, psychological and financial harm they inflict on their victims.”
Violent robberies usually target cigarettes
Convenience store operators and staff are too often the victims of violent robberies, usually targeting cigarettes given the enormous excise on tobacco products, which drives prices so high.
“There needs to be a clear message sent to people who commit these crimes that they will pay an extremely hefty price,” Mr Rogut said.
He adds that the matter is bigger than just the convenience industry but encompasses a vision of community life where people fee safe.
Mr Rogut says that to avoid small businesses worrying about who’s coming through the door the toughest penalties need to be imposed on those who steal from retailers and their staff.”