The peak body for Australia’s convenience stores has called on the Victorian Government to shoulder its fair share of the blame for its inaction in addressing crimes committed against the convenience industry.
The call follows reports of more violent crimes, an issue the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores boss said won’t simply go away. Earlier this week, four masked bandits robbed a Melbourne convenience store, armed with a gun and an axe, after attempting to rob several other shops, AAP reported.
“The Opposition has laid its cards on the table. Petrol theft will be formally declared a crime, and armed robbers will need to contend with a more coordinated response to catch and prosecute them,” AACS CEO Jeff Rogut said.
However, he’s concerned nothing is being done to offer convenience store workers any respite or comfort.
“People feel less and less safe and in the case of petrol theft, criminals can even afford to be confident that they’ll not be brought to justice,” Rogut said. “The people in the convenience industry demand tougher action against criminals who target businesses with genuine deterrents in place to crack down on these crimes.”
According to AACS, many petrol thefts go unreported under their current classification as civil matters, because the burden falls to retailers themselves – the victims in all this – to attempt to do the work of police.
“In the context of running a small business, it is unreasonable to expect retailers to follow these crimes up and still maintain a profitable operation. Only through a proper legislative and judicial response can these businesses be protected against violent crime,” Rogut said.
“AACS encourages our members and the many employees in the convenience industry to pressure their local representatives to call for a zero-tolerance approach to crime. Lives depend on it,” he said.