Retail security systems are extremely important in America right now because, as one restaurant owner in Chicago said recently, “This [looting] is the new normal.”
Upscale shopping districts from coast to coast are facing a nightmare scene of constant, unexpected riots and looting and, if there’s anything that the civil unrest of 2020 has shown, it is that the sudden destruction of luxury retail districts can happen on any day, with little to no warning.
Luxury retail store managers need to be prepared at all times – and these retail security tips will help.
The New York City Meltdown
“The looters tore off the plywood that boarded up Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square, swarming by the dozens inside to steal whatever they could find before being chased down by the police. Others smashed the windows at a Nike store, grabbing shirts, jeans and zip-up jackets… a group of looters approached Madison Jewelers on Broadway, where the glass storefront lay shattered, and forced open the store’s metal gate. With the store alarm blaring, young men foraged inside and dozens of others rushed to the scene. When an unmarked police car with its lights on passed the scene, it paused briefly — and then continued down 37th Street.”
This chilling New York Times eyewitness account of the mayhem that erupted in New York City in early June 2020 serves as a stark reminder that luxury retail stores are likely to be the top targets during periods of looting and civil unrest. It also serves as a reminder that boarding and roll-down gates will not work to keep out determined looters.
Footage from source moments prior to NYPD arriving in which looters broke into the Herald Square Macy’s pic.twitter.com/mGWu7ooZno
— Matthew Fischetti (@Matt_Fischetti) June 2, 2020
Fortunately, boarding and roll-down gates aren’t the only options for retail security and, fortunately as well, alarms aren’t the only theft deterrent available for a complete retail store security system. In cases of looting, the best solution for luxury retail security is Riot Glass.
Retail Security Tip #1: Install Forced Entry Resistant Doors
Humans are creatures of habit, which means that whether you’re conducting legitimate business or you’re a looter intent on destruction, your first instinct for entering a building will be through the doors. Effective luxury retail security requires that you install forced entry resistant doors, such as ones with Riot Glass retrofitted onto them.
Fast Facts on Riot Glass
Riot Glass is a patented framing and clear ArmorPlast shield system made from a combination of polycarbonate and plastics that mechanically anchors to your windows and doors for maximum strength. The framing system comes in anodized clear and bronze, custom fit to your doors and storefront window system to create a protective, clear shield that is always working. (Think: Permanent, clear boarding up.) The panels are scratch-coated, solar UV treated, and extremely durable.
Riot Glass stops break-in attempts using sledgehammers, crowbars, knives, pickaxes, bricks, blocks, bats, and more – in short, it stops looters from getting in to your luxury retail store.
Does it really work? Riot Glass has proven more effective any other forced entry protection system including boarding, roll-down gates, and security window film. Riot Glass currently has a 100% success rate in stopping breach attempts. It has literally never failed.
A Scene of Destruction in Los Angeles
“…[D]emonstrators have descended on some of Los Angeles’ most upscale, iconic retail areas, including Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Hollywood and the Fairfax District. Looting has occurred in some of those locations, as some used the cover of what were largely peaceful protests to rob stores.
On social media, residents in some communities where the protests have raged complain of the destruction, the sound of helicopters and sirens and the thick smoke that hangs in the air.”
After a night of destruction in Los Angeles, also in early June 2020 and described by the L.A. Times, many upscale retailers were still struggling to contain the damage in what should have been a bustling luxury retail district. The stores had just barely opened after the coronavirus shutdown restrictions were lifted.
A local ABC news on-the-scene broadcast (below) shows smashed windows and doors at Gucci and construction crews struggling to board up a damaged Ermenegildo Zegna before the next night of expected mayhem continued.
Retail Security Tip #2: Have a Permanent Security Solution in Place
Lately, it seems that any town and city in the U.S. could be the next location of civil unrest and violent uprisings, yet it takes time to board up a large glass retail storefront or luxury hotel. The best idea for luxury retail store managers is to install a permanent solution that you can count on for retail security exactly when you need it.
Riot Glass reinforced glass windows are a great choice for permanent retail store security and, as a security glass solution, you can also rely on Riot Glass to help prevent damage from other disasters like wind storms, blasts, and active shooter attacks.
Looting is “The New Normal” in U.S. Upscale Retail Areas
“The looters arrived downtown in cars about 1 a.m. Police had major intersections blocked off, but that did not stop groups of mostly young people roving through the district of high-end retail stores, smashing windows and stealing goods. Clothes hangers and smashed glass covered sidewalks along North Michigan Avenue. Water Tower Place, the district’s premier indoor shopping mall, was broken into on both its west and east sides. Looters shattered windows of convenience stores and retailers including Macy’s, Ralph Lauren and Express.”
The damage and destruction hasn’t stopped. Riots still continue. Though the scene above sounds almost precisely like the events that happened in New York and L.A. in early June, these events in Chicago occurred in mid-August, 2020. And, sadly, they are likely to happen again and again in response to the brutal killings of Black people in this country.
As the Washington Post reported on the scene at the Chicago riots, “A woman who was quickly walking while carrying a Target basket filled with goods said she and her friends went downtown because they ‘felt like starting a riot’” and a 33-year-old restaurant manager who spoke on the condition of anonymity stated that “This [looting] is the new normal. At this point you become desensitized to it.”
Retail Security Tip #3: Understand Bullet Resistant Glass Levels
In scenes of mayhem and destruction, it’s common to watch looters wrench open roll-down gates and smash their way through boarded-up luxury storefronts. It is also common to watch looters use more weaponized methods to break in, such as Molotov cocktails, bricks, bats, concrete blocks – and even bullets – to gain entry to a valuable store.
Once the looters are inside, they can steal inventory, vandalize the property, and set fire to the building. The best idea is to keep looters out of your store entirely.
Though there are many methods to improve luxury retail security, one of the top ways to deny entry is to use bullet resistant polycarbonate panels that look like glass. Although ballistic-rated glazing or polycarbonate panels are incredibly effective materials for stopping forced entry, you can still stop forced entry with NON-ballistic-rated versions of Riot Glass. This approach allows you to reduce the cost while still achieving your objective of keeping looters out.
Choose the right level of bullet resistance for your needs by reading our handy guide on bullet resistant glass…
…Or you can simply contact the retail security experts at NGS to learn more about your options.
NGS is a national window film and security glass installer focused on the top retail security solutions, including security window film, anti-graffiti solutions and Riot Glass. Riot Glass has a 100% track record of success for stopping forced entry attempts. Learn more about your options for retail security when you contact NGS today.