NZI gives businesses tips on how to defend against ram raids

NZI gives businesses tips on how to defend against ram raids | Insurance Business New Zealand

NZI gives businesses tips on how to defend against ram raids

Commercial insurer NZI has shared tips to help business owners protect their establishments from ram raiders.

Over the past several months, the number of ram raids has escalated, especially in the Waikato and Auckland regions. Ram raiders use a vehicle, often stolen, to drive into a storefront and steal the items inside. This inflicts heavy losses on the targeted businesses, as well as for their insurers. A business might not be able to operate for quite some time after a ram raid, as it may take a long time to repair the premises.

In response to the ram raids, city councils and police have promoted deterrent measures, such as bollards and planters, to make it harder to ram the establishment. However, these are not always a practical solution for businesses.

“Bollards are strong visual deterrents; however, they vary in their effectiveness,” said Brendon McLaughlin, risk consulting manager at NZI. “We recommend choosing bollards that are made of steel and properly installed and buried at least 500-700mm into the ground.” 

According to NZI, where bollards are not feasible due to underground cables and pipework, businesses can install various types of ram beams. These include swinging or fixed and slotted beams, which attach to the building and protect the doors or windows when installed correctly.

Retailers can also reduce their chances of being targeted by a ram raid by removing from view items that could tempt criminals.

“It is good practise to move stock out of sight and take the till drawer out to show it is empty,” McLaughlin said. “The simple act of turning every other coat hanger around on clothing racks can also slow down a smash and grab. These ram raiders want branded goods and stuff that’s easily disposable through social media – so branded clothing, surf gear, power tools and of course, cigarettes.”

According to NZI, fog cannons are another effective defence, and more retailers have been installing them due to a government awareness initiative. These cannons can fill a store with a heavy yet harmless fog in 10 to 20 seconds. The fog prevents raiders from seeing stock, and it also allows store owners and staff to exit the store safely.

McLaughlin also advised retailers to coordinate with their local police to get advice on the latest burglary prevention measures, and to consider getting a risk assessment with the help of their insurance broker.