“Reclaiming Your Retail Space: An Action Guide for Bouncing Back After a Smash and Grab”

Simon Speight
22 May, 23

In recent months we’ve seen a spate of meticulously planned ‘smash and grab’ robberies sweeping through storefronts in the UK, causing substantial losses for retailers. Organised criminal groups have been targeting shops and businesses, resulting in damage to the premises, stolen merchandise, and significant disruption. The aftermath of these robberies often leaves stores exposed to subsequent attacks, emphasizing the need for quick and effective action. Here are a few steps storeowners can take to secure their businesses from such attacks.

Implement Forensic Marking

Forensic marking is a cutting-edge technique that has gained popularity in recent years as an effective tool in the fight against theft and robberies. A unique code or chemical marker is applied to high-risk products sold in retail stores during the process. The code is normally imperceptible to the naked eye and can only be detected with specialised equipment. This method is especially effective in ‘smash and grab’ robberies, where criminals frequently steal large quantities of goods with the intent of selling them on the black market. Retailers can create a powerful deterrent to theft by applying forensic marking to their products, as the marked goods become instantly traceable back to the store from which they were stolen.

“Advertise” your Deterrent Technologies

Criminals scout out sites in advance. They’re unlikely to target those that are clearly well protected and are attracted to those that look vulnerable. For example, where shutters, windows or fences have already been compromised. Whatever security measures are in place should therefore be obvious and prominent.  

Permanent measures such as in-store CCTV, access control and forensic marking should be communicated through clear signage. Additional temporary solutions should also be considered for out-of-hours protection. For example, rapidly deployable intruder detection systems can be placed in shop windows out of hours to make it very clear that the site is fully protected. Then stored out of the way during opening hours when the store is manned. They’ve proved highly effective as a temporary measure while repairs are made to shutters, windows or as an additional layer of security for high value items.  

Utilise Crime Intelligence

Finally, organised gangs tend to be predictable in their movements, targeting a number of stores in close proximity to each other in a relatively short period of time. Retailers can therefore gain a lot of intelligence on when and where they’re most vulnerable by staying updated on local crime trends and police reports. Police departments frequently share information about local criminal activity, and retailers can use this intelligence to improve their security measures. Retailers can also collaborate with other local businesses to share information and pool resources, forming a united front against criminal activity.

In Summary

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to take its toll, retailers are likely to remain vulnerable to smash and grab attacks. While it’s crucial to have physical security measures like alarm systems and security cameras, having a comprehensive ad hoc security plan in place is critical for protecting employees and minimising further losses. Retailers can ensure a quick recovery and minimal losses if they take proactive measures to prevent and respond to ‘smash and grab’ incidents.

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