Organized retail crime, also known as ORC, is a problem that has been increasing in the last couple of years. In fact, these robberies have become more brazen and more frequent. Some shop owners are even saying they’re becoming more violent. A recent report cited that 70% of retailers said ORC is increasing. Plus, two-thirds of them say the perpetrators are more aggressive than ever before. One of the most common ORC tactics is a smash-and-grab robbery. Here, we’ll discuss what a smash-and-grab is and ways you can prevent them from occurring at your home or business.

Police Lights

What Is a Smash-and-Grab Robbery?

A smash-and-grab robbery is exactly what it probably sounds like. It is a burglary that involves smashing a barrier such as a window and grabbing valuables. Then, the perpetrator makes a quick getaway, usually in a waiting vehicle. 

You may also hear these robberies called “flash mob” crimes, since they are committed by coordinated groups. What makes these robberies unique is that they are short. In fact, they’re usually over before an effective response can be taken. In addition, they can be committed by large groups of people, even up to around 80. This makes it difficult, if not nearly impossible, for security or law enforcement to apprehend all of the participants.

Alarms don’t scare those who participate in smash-and-grab robberies, as they already have a plan for getting out of there very quickly. They also don’t have a concern for customers or employees seeing them. That is, unless they get in the way.

While a lot of people think of smash-and-grab robberies happening to stores that keep many high-value items such as jewelry stores, they can happen anywhere, including homes. These are typically brazen robberies that happen very fast and result in expensive losses. Most smash-and-grab robberies happen during daylight hours. In fact, they often happen when shoppers are in stores. This allows the perpetrators to blend in until it is time to commit the smash-and-grab.

What Can You Do to Stop Smash-and-Grabs?

With what we’ve described of smash-and-grab robberies, you’re likely asking yourself what you can do to either prevent or stop one from occurring at your home or business. Luckily, you don’t have to take any drastic measures. Taking the first steps toward preventing a smash-and-grab robbery will be relatively easy. These are some of our best tips that you can begin incorporating into your business today. 

Complete a Risk Assessment

Many times, stopping smash-and-grabs begins with a risk assessment. This is a process that identifies your home or store’s vulnerabilities, hazards, and risks. Some of the things the risk assessment might end up recommending include:

  • Burglary-resistant glass be installed for display cases or windows
  • Utilization of security devices to protect high-value merchandise
  • More surveillance cameras
  • Installing discreet police call buttons
  • Installing door buzzer entry systems
  • Spreading high-value items out, instead of having them all in one location
Robber breaking in window

Prioritize Employee and Customer Safety

One of the major things you should prioritize in order to stop smash-and-grabs is employee and customer safety. It’s vital to remind your staff that no amount of merchandise is worth someone’s life. Unfortunately, participants in these robberies are sometimes carrying things like pepper spray, knives, or even guns. Employees should be encouraged to not intervene physically, as this could cause the thieves to harm them. A lot of these robbers don’t want to use force or cause harm – but they will if someone tries to stop them. Any kind of physical intervention can quickly escalate a situation that otherwise would have remained nonviolent. Employees should understand that intervention should only be the role of security and law enforcement personnel. 

Have a Plan

As smash-and-grab robberies become more common, you should create a plan in case it happens to you. The last thing you want is to be caught without having any sort of plan in place. This could cause unnecessary panic among your employees or family members. It should be very clear what you expect of your employees in the event of a smash-and-grab. For example, is there a place they can retreat to? Who, besides first responders, should be notified? What can they do to keep customers safe? Taking the time to put this plan into place can reduce the amount of chaos that occurs in the event of a robbery.

Panic buttons are a very valuable tool when these robberies occur, as they often allow for a quicker response. A panic button eliminates the need to speak directly with 911 operators, instead automatically sending a law enforcement response to the location. Plus, they can be placed in discreet spots, so robbers will not be aware that they have been activated.

Security Screens

As we mentioned, most smash-and-grab robberies involve breaking windows or doors, as these are unprotected openings in buildings. That is where security screens come in. They can prevent a burglary from occurring in the first place by keeping burglars from being able to enter your store or home. The screens are engineered to resist cutting, impact, and prying. This makes them a virtually impenetrable barrier.


Preventing Smash-and-Grabs With Midwest Security Screens

At Midwest Security Screens, we believe that feeling safe and secure in your home or business should never come at the expense of its visual appeal. 

You may be more familiar with security options such as metal grates, which can make for an unsightly exterior. Plus, they disrupt the views from your window. The screens from Midwest Security Screens are made of stainless steel mesh that provides security while still letting in sunlight and airflow. While keeping the visual integrity of your building, these screens are so tough that they can withstand category 4 hurricanes. With our security screens on your windows or doors, you can improve the security of even the weakest areas of your home or building.