Using a shopfront to advertise and represent a business is a popular way to attract attention from shoppers and tourists. However, the use of glass has been shown to cause issues for shops that exhibit expensive goods in their displays. Glass is traditionally the most vulnerable point of a building’s exterior, and therefore, windows, doors, and glass fronts are highly attractive to thieves. According to a report by CNN, there has been an uptick in smash-and-grab crimes in upscale stores all over the United States. In 2021, at least 18 people broke into a Nordstrom department store in Los Angeles in and stole thousands of dollars in merchandise. Yet, there are a number of security measures that can offer a solution to business owners who want to reduce the likelihood of crime occurring against their shopfronts. Below are four solutions we recommend.
1. Shop Front Bollards
With the increase in smash-and-grab raids, many shops have invested in concrete or metal bollards outside their shop fronts as a means of deterring vehicles being used to penetrate shops or banks by shattering the window glass. Bollards do not disrupt foot traffic and are installed deeply into concrete at regular intervals, ensuring they cannot be uprooted. Furthermore, shop fronts can work closely together with Unafor to customize the design. This allows upscale shops to maintain and continue to promote their brand image. While bollards are effective at preventing VAW (vehicle as a weapon) attacks against shop fronts, they cannot directly prevent attacks from passers-by using handheld weapons. Therefore, it is not a given that shopfronts can be completely protected by bollards. Furthermore, before installing it is important to check that the area of installation belongs to the business premise. In other words, the business needs to own the area where the bollards are being installed and permission from a local authority may still be required before installation.
Planters are another way of using discreet protection to protect store fronts. With the same advantages of a regular bollard, a planter can offer a great solution to the design challenges that often come with security measures. Planters are a multipurpose solution that can simultaneously incorporate greenery around the shopfront while offering effective protection against VAW attacks — benefitting both the city and the shopfront. Read our article to learn more about how HVM solutions can work to promote biodiversity in our cities. With that being said, planters often require a strict maintenance schedule as the plants themselves need to be watered regularly. However, the benefits of bringing nature into the city often outweigh the time and money spent on maintaining the plants.
3. Installing Roller Shutters
Steel or aluminium roller shutters may also be a great solution to protect a shop front from an attack – shops can utilise dropdown shutters during non-business hours. Attackers (whether in a car or not) cannot penetrate solid steel or aluminium roller shutters at all, and on top of this, the shutter can work as a visual deterrent due to its high visibility. The roller shutters can also provide protection during extreme weather events – securing a shop against debris during tornadoes, storms, and hurricanes. It is important to note, however, that the shutters need to be secured at the bottom of the shop front. It is recommended to use a physical lock that is welded to the bottom rail of the shutter as solely using an electrically operated system can leave the key switch open to hot wiring. Additionally, many stores are reluctant to use shopfront rollers as they aren’t ideal for branding and image – they often block the products and can give the shop a hostile look. On top of this, roller shutters may be difficult to install on buildings that are unlisted.
4. Secure your Glass
A storefront may decide to make the glass of the shop as secure as possible – investing in security glass is, thus, another great option for upping security. Durable security glass panels are generally tougher and more resilient than safety glass as they cannot be shattered and so greatly reduce the likelihood of a break in. The security glass incorporates penetration resistant films, so even if the glass cracks no one will be able to gain entry. Furthermore, the tough plastic interlayer is flexible, so it retains the glass shards if it is broken. However, security glass does come with some disadvantages. It can be very expensive and weighty to install – for example, some window frames will not be able to bear the extra weight of the glass or are too small for the new panels to fit. This often means one needs to replace the full frames, which can be expensive. A cheap alternative is to retrofit window laminate to existing glass, which has the effect of toughening the existing glass and retaining shards in the event of an attack. Furthermore, installing security glass does not guarantee proper protection and whether you install security laminate or security glass, after an attack you will still need to replace the broken glass. As such, it is not enough to just install security glass. You may need to look into further security solutions, such as bollards, to ensure full protection of a shopfront.
5. Talk to the Security Experts
It is always important to consult a security expert before making any decisions about how you want to protect your storefront. Not only is it important that you find a product that suits your design needs, but a product that is recommended by a security expert who can assess what your storefront needs. At Unafor, we believe that you can enhance your brand while protecting your storefront. Not only can our bollards match your business’s brand, but they have been tested to the international standard for impact ensuring the safest solution for your space.