Four fog cannons are being planned for distribution in Southland as part of the fight against aggravated robberies, particularly in dairies.
In February this year police minister Stuart Nash announced a refreshed government subsidy to enable the deployment of fog cannons in small, independently owned businesses at risk
Since the initiative started more than 240 fog cannons have been installed nationwide with four set to be in place in Southland.
Fog cannons fill the area with a dense fog to make it very hard for burglars to see and hopefully stall them long enough for police to arrive on the scene.
The fog won't cause damage in store and is harmless for people too.
New Zealand police prevention manager, deployment Inspector Brian Moyle said the initiative complemented other work under way across the police service to prevent that type of crime and the social and economic impact it had on businesses and the wider communities.
"The prevalence of aggravated robberies across New Zealand is causing significant concern among small business owners who feel vulnerable and who feel less supported to take preventative action. We know items such as cash, cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol have long been a targeted commodity for thieves and we intend to continue with the initiative to help vulnerable members of our communities be safe and feel safe."
Inspector Moyle said the fog cannon initiative also complemented other low cost changes business owners could make to their store layout to make it a less attractive option for thieves.
"This includes making sure windows are clear, installing CCTV cameras and ensuring the staff have visibility of the store, i.e. no high shelves."
Police data did not focus right down to dairies but showed that between February 1 and August 6 this year there were 275 cases of unlawful entry with intent/burglary and breaking and entering, and 24 thefts from retail premises.
More information for business owners safety was available on the police website, he said.
Police have identified vulnerable businesses eligible to receive fog cannons, in most cases because they have previously been targeted, or their geographical location is a recognised hot spot.
However, businesses can 'self-refer' and ask to be included in the scheme and would be required to contribute $250 toward the cost of installation.