Stop the BS Smash-and-Grab Security Tips

by | Apr 16, 2024

Stop the BS Smash-and-Grab Security Tips

With smash-and-grab robberies and similarly brazen crimes saturating the news, it’s become commonplace for every article to end with a few security tips for business owners. Here’s how to avoid tomorrow’s headlines, they promise. The problem? These smash-and-grab security tips are usually straight-up B.S.

(We thought about spelling out “B.S.” but didn’t know how readers or search algorithms would feel about strong language. If you’re a fan, feel free to substitute the full-blooded curse word in your head.)

Why Most Smash-and-Grab Security Tips Are B.S.

A major problem with most of these tips is that you can’t rely on any one tactic to protect you completely. But they’re presented in a way that suggests a “silver bullet” approach. That’s just not how it works.

First of all, these crimes have a lot of variables that you can’t control. Some robbers will be deterred easily. Others won’t. Some will strike by day. Others will come in the dead of night. You might be contending with a single perpetrator, a duo, a small group, or a huge flash mob. All of these situations test your fortification in different ways.

Secondly, many smash-and-grab security tactics are reactive. They don’t prevent a crime. They don’t even help during a crime. All they can do is provide information about a crime that has already happened. That’s not protecting you.

Another factor is that some of these tips have practical limitations. Maybe they’re prohibitively expensive for a small business. Or maybe they’re unsightly for an environment that wants to welcome shoppers. In some cases, you might face issues getting permission from a city board or a similar oversight organization.

Admittedly, we’ve been guilty of providing some of these watered-down security tips on this blog. We do so assuming you’re layering bigger, better security measures on top. These lesser tactics are more about creating purposeful redundancies and filling in any gaps.

The Weakest Smash-and-Grab Security Tips: Total B.S.

If you rely on one of these security methods to protect your business from robbers, you’re in for a nasty surprise. These tactics aren’t enough to prevent a smash-and-grab incident unless you combine them with something stronger.

Proper Lighting

Yes, your store needs adequate lighting for multiple reasons. It’s useful for preventing tripping hazards and other safety concerns. It helps customers find what they’re looking for. And yes, in the event of a break-in, having lights on in the building enables cameras and passers-by to see what’s happening.

But if you think a few lightbulbs will stop a determined thief, you’re kidding yourself. Even if a well-illuminated property is intimidating, it only takes a few swift moves to cut the lights. And if your cameras don’t have night vision, it’s time to upgrade. (You do have cameras, right?)

All in all, lights do absolutely nothing to stop a smash-and-grab crime. They only illuminate it.

Educating Employees

We’re going to stop you right there with this tip. When it comes to smash-and-grab security, anything related to involving employees is a minefield. Unless, of course, the tip is to “tell employees to hit a panic button and keep their heads down.”

Smash-and-grab robberies are dangerous, violent crimes. There’s a high potential for injury… or worse. The last thing you want is to involve your employees in some sort of vigilante justice battle that also puts customers in the crossfire.

Setting aside the obvious moral quandaries of asking your cashiers and stockers to put themselves in harm’s way, there’s also the practical issue of legal risk. If an employee confronts a thief and sustains an injury in the process, you’re liable to pay worker’s compensation at the very least. You could also be held responsible for more substantial damages in court.

It’s just not worth the risk. That’s why many retailers have a corporate-level policy that employees aren’t allowed to detain thieves.

So, you can educate your employees about recognizing the behavior of shoplifters. You can educate them about avoiding conflict and staying out of trouble. Maybe you can even educate them about providing detailed suspect descriptions to the police. But, for your sake and theirs, keep them out of trouble.

Locking Up Cash and Merchandise

This tip sounds good in theory. If there’s nothing in your store to steal, thieves won’t break in, right?

Well, not exactly.

It’s common knowledge in many industries with high-value products (like jewelry and cannabis) that stores lock up their wares for the night. However, that knowledge is not so common among thieves. And, hey, there’s a reason the “dumb criminal” stereotype exists.

All jokes aside, if a crook thinks you have cash or valuables lying around unprotected, he might risk breaking in. And, although you won’t lose any inventory from the crime, you still have to contend with an attack on your business.

It happened to a jewelry store in Sherman Oaks not long ago. Thieves rammed a stolen vehicle into the storefront, expecting a legendary haul, but left with nothing. All the display cases were empty, just as they are every night, as part of the store’s closing procedures. Even if no jewelry went missing, the store still had to deal with the financial impact of repairing the destruction.

Keeping valuable items under lock and key may prevent thieves from taking these items, but it can’t stop the thieves from breaking in.

Somewhat Effective Smash-and-Grab Security Tips

Here are the tactics that make a little difference in your store’s fortification efforts. You might still get hit by the most brazen robbers, but timid or opportunistic criminals might pass you by. Or, if you do experience a break-in, these measures will lessen the attack’s effectiveness.

Shatter-Resistant Glass

To “shatter” one illusion right away, there’s no such thing as truly unbreakable or bulletproof glass. With enough force, any glass—even specially engineered glass—will eventually break.

However, some companies (like Armoured One) have developed glass products that will resist quite a beating without shattering. Their window security film, for example, can withstand more than 10 gunshots plus two hits from a battering ram.

If the criminals choose another entry method, like smashing a car into the side of the building, then shatter-resistant glass won’t do much good. But for small-time crooks looking for an easy target, a window that’s tough to crack might be reason enough to move on.


Smash-and-Grab Security Tips - Bollards

Bollards are those stocky metal posts that some businesses sink into the cement outside their perimeter. They create a physical barrier around the store. The gaps between the posts are wide enough to let people through—but too narrow for a car.

In other words, these are the current default solution to ram-raiding. If a car can’t reach the building, it can’t crash into the building.

Bollards aren’t a bad solution. Installed properly, they definitely stop cars. But, much like shatter-resistant glass, they can only stop one specific type of crime. If your robbers come on foot, bollards are useless.

They also have a few minor drawbacks that are worth considering. Depending on the size and configuration of your building, surrounding all vulnerable exterior walls with bollards can get expensive. They can pose a safety hazard for customers who aren’t looking where they’re going. And, for businesses with an upscale atmosphere, bollards may not fit into this aesthetic.

Security Cameras

At Deep Sentinel, we’re certainly in favor of security cameras. But type matters.

Old-school CCTV systems or any camera that just records the crime is virtually useless. A visible camera might dissuade a fainthearted or inexperienced criminal. But most smash-and-grabs are enacted by bold, unforgiving gangs of thieves.

They have seemingly no fear of their acts being caught on camera. That’s why there are so many of these crimes showing up on the news—there’s lots of footage.

But let’s take it a step further. What about a camera system with live security monitoring, like Deep Sentinel?

Now you’re taking a traditionally reactive approach and making it proactive. When a professional guard can evaluate the situation, verbally intervene, set off an alarm, and call the cops—at any hour of the night, remotely, without needing to bother the business owner—that’s taking security cameras to the next level.

But still, the most brazen criminals will continue with their dirty deeds. So the need for an even more powerful solution arose.

When Criminals Get Nasty, Get Revenge. Learn More About FlashBang.
When Criminals Get Nasty, Get Revenge. Learn More About FlashBang.

The Only Smash-and-Grab Security That Works

There’s only one security tip we can recommend wholeheartedly to stop smash-and-grab crime for good: install FlashBang at your business.

FlashBang empowers businesses with an arsenal of on-the-scene crime deterrents, including smoke bombs, pepper spray blasters, strobe lights, and ear-splitting sirens. The solution integrates with Deep Sentinel’s PoE security camera systems and award-winning live surveillance service for a worry-free crime suppression solution.

When the AI-powered camera system notices human activity at your business (like a smash-and-grab burglary), it notifies a live guard. This professional guard can use all of Deep Sentinel’s typical deterrents or deploy FlashBang’s supercharged deterrents with approval. The guards also call your local police and provide real-time details about the crime.

The process happens in moments—leaving the crooks disoriented, in pain, and regretting the day they decided to burglarize your business.

Cut the B.S. smash-and-grab security tips and stick with a solution that works: Deep Sentinel’s FlashBang.

FlashBang Blog Banner - Desktop
FlashBang Blog Banner - Mobile

When Criminals Get Nasty, Get Revenge.
With criminals becoming more violent, the response needs to become more aggressive. FlashBang subdues even the most determined intruders with smoke bombs, pepper spray, strobes, and sirens. Visit or call 833.983.6006 for more information.

Share This