Brash Employees Thwart Jewelry Store Smash-and-Grab Robberies at Great Risk
On May 23, 2022, ABC 7 Eyewitness News in Los Angeles shared a surveillance video of a smash-and-grab robbery stopped by employees in Huntington Beach, CA. Without consideration for their safety, employees fought back against masked thieves until they fled. The smash happened quickly. Two showcases broke open. Before anything could be taken, employees jumped at the thieves shouting and, in a flurry of fists, drove them out. Fortunately, nothing was stolen, and no one was hurt.
Smash-and-grab refers to a criminal breaking a retail store window or showcase with a hammer, ax, or brick. Once breached, the thief reaches through broken glass and scoops up as many items as possible. A quick getaway is essential to success.
Five days earlier, in a chaotic scene, chairs were thrown, and the fighting spilled into the street at David's Jewelers in El Monte, CA. Employees failed to stop the criminals who made off with over $1 million in merchandise, according to a spokesperson for the El Monte Police Department.
Determined store owners and dedicated employees defending their merchandise put themselves at tremendous risk of injury and death. Tragically, in November of 2021, Kevin Nishita, an ex-cop from Alameda County, CA was shot and later died from injuries sustained while protecting a film crew covering a smash-and-grab. A suspect reportedly tried to steal their camera, and Nishita intervened fatally.
Insurance coverage limits add insult to injury as retailers discover, too late, that they may not be adequately insured against the waves of organized retail crime on the rise since 2020, according to the National Retail Federation's 2020 survey. NBC News reported on December 2, 2021, hiring security is too expensive, and insurance comes short for many small business owners. One unfortunate owner discovered her coverage was limited to daytime hours, not nighttime.
Loss Prevention Magazine recommends ways to protect employees, merchandise, and customers from smash-and-grab, which boil down to a simple strategy: make your retail store unattractive to criminals.
Smash-and-grab techniques rely on speed and opportunity. Installing physical security can deter or slow criminals to the point where smash-and-grab becomes so complicated it is no longer worth the effort. For example, installing security glass with bullet-resistant properties in showcases, storefront windows, and doors can endure repeated strikes without breaking.
CAN-BEST Testing Laboratories, located in Toronto, Canada, has specialized in innovative building envelope research and testing services since 1985. In this 35-minute demonstration video, they attempt to breach security glazing using the ASTM F1233 test method. Hammers, axes, pipes, torches, and chemicals failed to penetrate the glazing.
In one test, a sledgehammer and fire ax struck the glass 25 times each, in the same spot, without success, demonstrating the resilience of this glazing and its ability to slow down and frustrate thieves.
Security glazing can slow attackers until they tire and realize they can't achieve a quick getaway. Instead of employees rushing into harm's way, they can retreat to safety as thieves pound away without success. Unlike insurance, which is a necessary expense, security glazing can increase your property value as well as provide additional R-value.
Covenant Security Equipment supplies security glazing as well as doors, transaction windows, bullet-resistant wall panels, safes and intercoms which reduce risk and protect people and property. A smart use of these products can harden your retail store and make your location unattractive to smash-and-grab criminals.
Contact a sales representative at (866) 286-4400 for information about how to secure your retail location.