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Retail Center Smash-And-Grab

Posted by Rick Charney on Aug 11, 2020

What happens when window shopping turns into window smashing?

Just before 3 o’clock in the morning, a Stealth Monitoring security operator saw an individual approach a storefront window in a West Palm Beach, Florida retail center. With a tool in hand, he began to carefully remove the rubber stripping around the frame of the window. Our operator activated the on-site speaker warning and contacted police.

The suspect ignored the speaker warning and kept working. Once the two sides of the frame were disposed of, he started prying off the bottom strip. The window came crashing down to the ground. The perpetrator casually backed away and waited several seconds before ducking under the window frame and sticking his upper body inside the store. The suspect opened the drawer at the front counter and removed several items. When finished, he backed out of the store and walked away. Officers arrived at the shopping center to investigate. They tracked down the suspect and took him into custody.

Damage from Smash-and-Grab Robberies

While windows are important to showcase a store and its products, they can leave a retail establishment susceptible to crime. Smash-and-grab robberies can cause a host of problems. In addition to the loss of merchandise and/or cash, owners will be faced with replacement costs and possibly left with employees who are afraid to come back to work.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that in 2017, approximately 33 percent of burglaries were of non-residential buildings, which includes retail stores. Unfortunately, burglary cases often go unsolved unless the criminals are arrested at the scene.

These types of robberies are usually crimes of opportunity. For example, if a retail center is located near a freeway, it is more likely to be targeted due to its proximity to an easy escape route. That makes an effective security solution even more crucial. Failure to do so could be an invitation to criminals.

Help Deter Smash-and-Grabs

If you own or manage a retail center, your lease likely has reasonable safety and security language to help your tenants and the visitors. Commercial real estate owners and REIT’s nationwide use live video monitoring as a cost-effective solution.

Trained security operators monitor analytics-based surveillance cameras. Operators can respond immediately before or during unusual activity. Because we watch crimes in progress, this typically results in faster police response times and more arrests since the criminals are still on the property.

Break-ins at a shopping center can be very costly. Not only will they result in expenses to cover the damaged property, they can lead to higher vacancy rates and a tarnished reputation.

For more information about a proactive solution for your retail center, contact us.