Ram raids have seen a staggering 465% increase since the onset of the pandemic, with a disturbing majority of perpetrators being under 18 years old. These raids involve using vehicles to forcefully gain access to buildings and steal valuable items. Money and cash registers are the primary targets, closely followed by tobacco products, cigarettes, and alcohol. Adding to the concerning nature of this trend, these criminal acts are often shared on social media platforms, creating a community that both glorifies and profits from these illegal activities.
The rising cost of living crisis and the deteriorating mental health and wellbeing of young people contribute to the persistence of this issue. Recognising the urgency, collaborative efforts have been undertaken between the police, youth aid organisations, and Oranga Tamariki, to help combat the occurrence of ram raids. A recent study has shed light on some key reasons behind the surge in these incidents.
Many of the young individuals involved in ram raids hail from difficult home environments and feel disconnected from school, especially due to the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 lockdowns. Unfortunately, the use of social media platforms, play a significant role in promoting and normalising these criminal acts, enticing others to follow suit. Showcasing these crimes on social media can desensitise impressionable young minds to the gravity of breaking the law, leading them to emulate such behaviour. It is therefore crucial for parents and caregivers to be vigilant, engaging in open conversations with their children about the dangers and consequences of getting involved in criminal activities.
To safeguard children and steer them away from trouble, it is important to actively monitoring your children's online activities, ensuring they are not exposed to content that glorifies or normalises criminal behaviour. Providing ample opportunities for positive and engaging activities helps mitigate disengagement and boredom, addressing any underlying factors that can contribute to participation in ram raids.