Who, in their right mind or otherwise, steals a vehicle and crashes it into a COUNTY COURT HOUSE to steal an ATM????
On the evening of April 25, 2014, then Artesia Mayor Pro Tem, Victor Manalo received word that his mother-in-law, Marisa and his three children, Isabel, Jack, and Amanda were involved in an accident at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor in Buena Park, CA. While waiting in front of the restaurant, a man got into his car with his wife to leave.
The car, parked in a disabled parking spot, was facing the front of the restaurant. Instead of putting his car into reverse, he put it into drive, and he drove straight into the front of the restaurant, instantly killing Marisa and severely injuring my two daughters. His children recovered from their injuries, but the scars of that evening will be with them for the rest of their lives.
Now principal consultant at VManalo Consulting, Victor has assumed a leadership role with the Storefront Safety Council.
Victor along with experts from Calpipe Security Bollards, the Storefront Safety Council, and other security professionals will gather on Thursday, January 25, 2018 to discuss solutions to make cities safer and preventing future avoidable tragedies. Over 80 professionals from varying industries are expected to attend.
It has been a very bad six months for crowds and pedestrians in America.
First came Mardi Gras in New Orleans in February, when a crowd watching a passing parade was struck from behind by a pickup truck driven by a very intoxicated driver. 28 people were injured, some seriously.
Next came Times Square in May, where a crazed driver accelerated down a sidewalk in Manhattan deliberately aiming at pedestrians, injuring 22 and killing one young girl.
Now in August comes the events in Charlottesville Virginia, when an angry driver deliberately crashed into a street demonstration, resulting in the death of Heather Heyer and injuries to 19 others.
Three separate incidents involving angry or drugged drivers. Three separate incidents where pedestrians and visitors were struck without warning. Three separate incidents that have put the rest of America on notice:
1) Vehicle attacks against pedestrians and crowds, whether acts of terrorism, acts of anger, or criminal acts such as drunk driving, are increasing.
2) Failure to take simple preventive measures against possible vehicle incursions into crowds exposes the public to death and injury
3) Failure to take preventive measures after being put on notice of hazardous conditions will expose cities and counties to civil litigation and judgements.
Today I saw a news report (pasted and cited below) which if accurate, could expose the City of Charlottesville Virginia and Albemarle County to increased civil liability in any upcoming litigation that stems from this vehicle-into-crowd crime. A county employee had sent an email to the Charlottesville City Council warning just four months prior to this incident that the area of the attack was vulnerable to just this kind of vehicle attack. Says the report in the Daily Progress "He noted that driving a large vehicle into pedestrian groups at tourist destinations had become the “new terrorist trend,” and he warned that the Downtown Mall “could be an immediate threat.”
Three points raised in the article seem to be prominent: a) the lack of a coherent traffic plan for these demonstrations, b) the lack of enforcement of a vehicle ban called for in the traffic plan as drawn up, and c) the lack of any effective barriers to actually prevent vehicle incursions. These will be significant factors in any case that is brought against the city and the county in this matter.
More broadly, this report highlights a more universal truth for municipal officials -- not only are they all on notice that pedestrians are increasingly targeted on purpose in America, it is also clear that crowds in areas perceived to be under the control of public safety officers presume that they are safe from accidental or deliberate vehicle incursions. They assume that if the police have a presence on scene or there are traffic cones set up, the area has been made safe. Thus having been put on notice, failure by any municipal agency to take appropriate steps could be seen as negligent in any civil litigation.
While the legal fallout from the Charlottesville incident will likely take many months if not years to resolve, this basic fact remain:
Vehicle-into-crowd incidents are frequent, they are dangerous, and they are deadly. Ask officials in New Orleans, New York City, and Charlottesville. If you cannot reach them, ask officials in Austin Texas (four killed at SXSW by a drunk driver) or Stillwater Oklahoma (four killed at the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade by an impaired driver) and see if they can speak with you. If not, you can probably reach someone in Santa Monica California (10 killed and over 60 hospitalized at a farmer's market.)
The need to protect pedestrians and crowds from deliberate or accidental vehicle intrusions is obvious, officials in cities and counties large and small have been placed on notice by recent events and national coverage, and a failure to act will result in two things: more body counts, and more lawsuits.
It doesn't have to be this way.
County employee raised concerns about Downtown Mall crossovers in April
An Albemarle County emergency management employee warned Charlottesville’s City Council in April that the Downtown Mall’s vehicle crossovers posed an immediate danger to public safety.
Months before a car plowed into a group of anti-racist demonstrators, killing one and injuring 19 others, the county employee penned a letter to the city imploring officials to install collapsible traffic bollards at certain access points on the Downtown Mall. He noted that driving a large vehicle into pedestrian groups at tourist destinations had become the “new terrorist trend,” and he warned that the Downtown Mall “could be an immediate threat.”
The sole response to the employee’s April 10 missive was a four-sentence email from Councilor Bob Fenwick that did not address the crossovers, the Downtown Mall or any substantive portion of the original email.
“Thank you for the email. Many of us are working on how to best protect our families, friends and neighbors, not just in the outside areas but the inside areas as well. This is a real challenge when we live in an open society but we will address it as appropriately as possible. I would not want to publicize our efforts for obvious reasons,” reads Fenwick’s response in its entirety.
The concerned employee, who told The Daily Progress his letter represented his own views and was not sent on behalf of Albemarle County or his department, asked to remain anonymous.
Chief Al Thomas said the violence was initiated by “mutually engaged combatants” at an “alt-right rally” that was met with large numbers of counter-protesters.
The employee wrote that there are “hundreds of types of traffic bollards on the market that are relatively cheap,” and that certain types still would permit access to the mall for emergency personnel when necessary.
“I know that these access points exist for public safety vehicles to enter the mall for emergency situations, therefore a collapsible type that can be quickly unlocked when needed would be best to explore,” he wrote.
James Alex Fields Jr., 20, a security guard from Maumee, Ohio, is charged with second-degree murder in Heyer's death.
When reached by email, Fenwick recalled reading the email and said that past efforts to install traffic bollards “never had enough support.”
“If I remember correctly the last time this came up, the fire department and first responders were very concerned about possible delays in immediately locating a key or a passcode, and to address this concern, I noticed more frequent training drills in moving the large safety vehicles around and down the mall,” Fenwick wrote. “Perhaps this time that will change.”
He added that in the wake of the tragedy, the city would take renewed looks at security improvements.
When asked, Mayor Mike Signer was unclear about whether he’d seen the email.
“I mean, we get thousands of emails,” Signer said. “The city manager receives all the emails that are sent to council … I think the question would be what really could stop somebody determined to use a car as a weapon?”
“I think it’s something we should look at with our professional staff who received that email,” Signer continued. “My initial inclination is we should keep striking a balance between public safety in our civic spaces with an eye toward having an open society rather than a closed one.”
Both the ACLU of Virginia and the Rutherford Institute received blame from some for the turn of events Saturday because of their representation.
City Manager Maurice Jones said he had seen the email in question, and that it had sparked a discussion about safety in Charlottesville.
“I shared those concerns especially after the incidents in Berlin, Nice and Stockholm,” Jones wrote in an email. “We have been discussing these types of bollards as part of a more comprehensive look at safety.”
In his original email, the county employee warned that there were four locations on the mall that could be targeted for a vehicular attack, including the Fourth Street crossover where James Alex Fields Jr. is accused of driving his gray Dodge Challenger into a crowd of people during Saturday’s white nationalist rally. Fields faces a second-degree murder charge, among others.
During a news conference Monday, Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said that, like other streets crossing the Downtown Mall, Fourth Street was not supposed to be open to traffic during the rally, which saw thousands of white nationalist demonstrators and anti-racist protesters inundating the heart of the city.
When asked why Fields’ vehicle and two other cars were able to access Fourth Street, Thomas replied, “I’m not sure.”
A city official later confirmed that Fourth Street was supposed to be closed as part of the event’s traffic plan, and that authorities still were investigating how Fields’ vehicle and two others were able to access the street.
White nationalist leader Matthew Heimbach drew a crowd outside the court-house but was shouted down.
More than a decade ago, the Fourth Street crossing was a hot-button issue for the City Council. After the crossing at Second Street was opened in 1994 despite widespread public opposition, the idea of opening another crossover was floated to the council by downtown business owners.
Those owners claimed the then-recent closures of Sixth and Seventh streets for the construction of what is now known as the Sprint Pavilion had impacted their sales, and that a new crossover could ease traffic congestion and parking difficulties.
The notion faced adamant opposition from pedestrians and city residents “who want[ed] the mall to remain as car-free as possible,” according to a 2006 Daily Progress report, and the Charlottesville Planning Commission voted against the crossover earlier that year, though the council was not bound to the recommendation.
In April 2006, the council voted to open the Fourth Street crossing for a one-year trial run, which started on May 1, 2006. The following year, the city voted to make the crossover permanent, saying it had made it easier for drivers to navigate around downtown and access shops without burdening pedestrians.
“A majority of the councilors concluded that the one-year trial of the Fourth Street East crossing, which ended last month, had benefited the business community and should become an enduring fixture on the commercial strip,” reads a 2007 Daily Progress article.
Dean Seal is a reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact him at (434) 978-7268, email@example.com or @JDeanSeal on Twitter. Daily Progress staff writer Chris Suarez contributed to this story.
Well Done Walmart! Bollards Done Right Protected the Employees, Customers, and Storefront at the location in Princeton, Texas
Simple. Clean. Effective. In an area with almost no setbacks and a tight space shared by cars, pedestrians, and customers with shopping carts, Walmart prevented tragedy in Princeton Texas cheaply and effectively.
Simple lesson, well learned. Well done, Walmart!
After a tragedy, the City of Midfield Alabama took immediate action -- Midfield passed a storefront safety ordinance in just over one week!
In a little more than a week, this town saw the tragedy, saw the problem, and resolved to find a solution. The result: an ordinance requiring safety bollards in front of retail stores and other vulnerable locations
Contact me if you want a copy of the ordinance. Here is the media report:
Midfield passes ordinance for barriers in front of businesses after fatal crash
By WIAT Staff Published: March 1, 2017, 1:20 pm Updated: March 1, 2017, 5:36 pm
MIDFIELD, Ala. (WIAT) — The City of Midfield passed an ordinance on Monday at their council meeting after an SUV crashed into a dentist’s office, killing 6-year-old Camlyn Lee.
Midfield Mayor Gary Richardson says the ordinance is for businesses to place a barrier in front of their building if parking is within 10 feet of the entrance to the facility.
Current businesses are grandfathered in and will not have to make those changes unless they make changes to their building or the parking lot at that point the new rule will apply.
The dentist’s office Vital Smiles where the fatal crash occurred will be putting up the barrier in front of their structure.
In the America’s heartland, many of us live out our everyday lives without the worry of terrorist striking close to our towns and cities, simply believing that the threat of terrorism will not visit their own home town or city. Since 911 our government has successfully thwarted similar attacks on a grand scale, but they have been unsuccessful at stopping them entirely, as terrorists today have changed their strategy and are now striking softer targets which could occur right here in the state of Kentucky.
A very alarming threat and growing new trend is the increase in vehicle ramming attacks on innocent people going about their day. Terrorists overseas have suggested conducting vehicle ramming attacks— using modified or unmodified vehicles — against crowds, buildings, and other vehicles.
This seemingly new and destructive form of terrorist attack is fast becoming one that security experts fear the most, because it can cause untold carnage and seemingly can come out of nowhere.
While Homeland security has sophisticated systems in place to alert them to those acquiring weapons or explosives, getting your hands on a vehicle is very easy. These low-tech vehicle attacks can be carried out by lone wolf terrorists who are inspired by an ideology but are not actually working within a specific political movement or group making them harder to detect. Vehicle ramming attacks offer terrorists who have limited access to explosives or weapons an opportunity to conduct an attack with minimal prior training or experience with little to no warning.
Such attacks could be used to target locations where large numbers of people congregate, including sporting events, entertainment venues, festivals, parades, fireworks displays, public school functions, universities or shopping centers. In essence, any such event that attracts a high number of people in a confining space could be a target.
One of the very first deadly vehicle ramming terrorist attacks in our history was the attack in Beirut barracks bombing on October 23, 1983 when two trucks bombs struck separate buildings killing 241 U.S. and 58 French peacekeepers, six civilians.
Such events have remained rare until Israel started to experience such attacks in growing numbers over the past decade. Then here recently such attacks have started to increase worldwide in the last year, where the body counts have been rather significant.
On December 19, 2016 in Berlin, Germany, a truck was deliberately driven into the Christmas market. The attack left 12 people dead and 56 others injured. One of the victims was the truck’s original driver, who was found shot dead in the passenger seat. The perpetrator was a Tunisian asylum and was killed four days after the attack in a shootout with police near Milan, Italy.
On November 28, 2016 at Ohio State University, a car ramming attack and mass stabbing occurred at 9:52 a.m. EST in Columbus, OH. The attacker, a Somali refugee, was shot and killed by the first responding OSU police officer, and 13 people were hospitalized for injuries. The next day law enforcement officials stated that the attacker was inspired by terrorist propaganda from the ISIS.
On the evening of July 14, 2016 in Nice France, a 19-ton cargo truck was deliberately driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day resulting in the deaths of 86 people and injuring another 434.
Attacks like those in Berlin or Nice are easy to replicate and difficult to prevent, that is the simple fact. Sensitive facilities, such as airports and transportation hubs, government and military buildings already have the proper security crash and attack-resistant bollards in place to prevent such attacks. Many of these anti ramming barriers are disguised as flower boxes, benches, street lights, garbage bins, etc.
What is concerning to me as a risk management and safety profession aren’t the large venues in larger cities, but instead the smaller venues in small towns and cities.
Sizeable crowds show up to weekly summer music concerts, marathons, festivals, parades …etc., producing crowds where several hundred to several thousands in attendance. Many of these events will have street vendors, alcohol and food concessions; with entire families, strollers, pets standing in the middle of a street distracted by the events of venue, like bowling pins in a bowling alley.
These events usually occur on closed-off streets in the heart of that community, obstructed only with safety cones — without any anti-ramming security barriers in place to protect the public from a vehicle ramming attack.
With enough planning and time major larger cities have caught on and are now employing temporary concrete barriers to block streets off. Some cities will also strategically place dump trucks filled with sand to help thwart ramming attacks. Just recently in New York City used more than 80 sanitation trucks along the 2 ½ mile route for the Macy Day Parade this past Thanksgiving as protection.
Unfortunately every defense has its flaws and consequently security experts has been tossing around the deployment of a technology already developed called “directed EMP devices” as a countermeasure to stop car ramming attacks once they have begun.
If deployed these electromagnetic pulse devises could be used by local police to disable a vehicle by simply pointing the device at the moving vehicle, boat, or construction equipment involved in the attack, by emitting radio frequency pulses that overload the sensors in a vehicle’s electronic controls. For as long as it emits the pulses, the engine cannot be restarted. If vehicle-based ramming attacks trends continue to increase, I would expect that local law enforcement agencies will start deploying these as a countermeasure.
The reality is that you can’t protect every event from an attack like this and it is impossible to reduce the risk to zero. Crowds of people are abundant in just about every American town or city and law enforcement must be prepared to protect them from an evolving playbook of terrorist tactics.
Law enforcement agencies as well as the general public should be zealously aware of suspicious activity that could be indicative that a vehicle ramming attack is being plotted.
Here are some countermeasures to consider.
In the interim regardless of size of the community, event planners, mayors, county government officials and/or police chiefs must begin to consider the use of temporary barriers, sanitation trucks or dump trucks to adequately barracked. Consideration should be given to physically obstructing roadways leading into special events that involve dense pedestrian traffic in every community within our great state.
Remember — if you are alert today, you will be alive tomorrow!
Be Safe My Friend.
Keven Moore works in risk management services. He has a bachelor’s degree from University of Kentucky, a master’s from Eastern Kentucky University and 25-plus years of experience in the safety and insurance profession. He lives in Lexington with his family and works out of both Lexington and Northern Kentucky. Keven can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goleta California in October. Kettering Ohio and Encinitas California this week. Three storefront crashes at Trader Joe's stores in three months. For a chain that values and promotes its image of a happy team working to serve happy communities, these three crashes (after more than a half dozen over the last three years) show a large gap between what gets said and what gets done at Trader Joe's.
Since announcing their comprehensive storefront protection program called “Universal Parameters for Site Safety Low Speed Barriers" in 2015, Trader Joe's has suffered a number of additional crashes and suffered millions of dollars in judgements and settlements stemming from storefront crashes. Apparently, progress has been very slow on their protection program, because none of the photos of Goleta, Kettering, or Encinitas show any sort of protection for pedestrians, customers, and employees.
The Grocery Industry has been ON NOTICE for years that this problem exists -- insurers, risk managers, and safety folks like the Storefront Safety Council have all documented the problem. Programs that have been announced and/or already underway by companies in the grocery industry are being praised and recognized by many, including our own Storefront Safety Initiative. On that topic, please see www.storefrontsafetyinitiative.org
With something more than 60 vehicle-into-building crashes per day, storefront crashes are a national problem. They will not stop by themselves. If a company announces a safety program and does a poor job of follow-through, what is the message they are sending to employees and customers? Ask Cumberland Farms, who lost a Massachusetts case last year that will cost them several tens of millions of dollars in damages for a single wrongful death of a customer.
Three accidents in three months. It doesn't have to be this way.
Another Storefront Crash at a Trader Joe's Store. Grocery Chain Falters In Program To Protect Customers and Employees.
A Trader Joe's grocery store suffered a serious injury crash on 8 October. A vehicle operated by an elderly driver crashed into the storefront -- the cause of the accident is as yet unknown. However, the lack of protection from such accidents is VERY WELL KNOWN. A rash of similar crashes caused Trader Joe's to initiate "Universal Parameters For Site Safety" which includes the installation of barriers to protect storefront from oncoming vehicles.
Clearly -- no effective barriers were installed at the Trader Joe's in Goleta:
Trader Joe's has paid large damage awards in previous accidents, and has initiated a program to prevent such incidents from happening again. But good intentions are not the same as good progress -- we will be continuing to monitor their progress. Sadly, we just have to keep watching the news to see how they are doing.
September is Preparedness Month -- Prepare Now to Prevent Storefront Crashes Later Using Design "Best Practices"
September is National Preparedness Month And has been designated by the Department of Homeland Security as a time for civilians, government, businesses, and institutions to join together to start planning to prevent tragedy and catastrophe BEFORE disasters occur. For more about this program, see this link at READY.GOV
We here at the Storefront Safety Council want to point out that when a car crashes into a convenience store or a restaurant or a dentist's office, it is indeed a disaster for a customer that is killed or an employee severely injured. It is surely a disaster for a small business owner suddenly faced with structural repairs, lost business time, and lost inventory or equipment.
The point is an obvious one; the best way to prepare for the disaster of a vehicle crashing into a building is to prevent the crash in the first place. Planning and best practices and simple efforts can pay off in the form or decades of safe operation and zero vehicle disasters at your business or property.
It really is all about being prepared.
With New Legislation, California Takes The Lead In Promoting Safety Where We Work, Play, Eat and Shop.
AB-2161, written and championed by California State Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-20), passed the California Assembly and Senate with no dissenting votes, and was signed into law July 22 by Governor Jerry Brown. The new law makes California the first state in the U.S. to encourage through statute the use of protective safety barriers at vulnerable locations including parking lots, retail centers, office buildings and restaurants.
The law "provides that the use of certain vehicle barriers at a commercial property may be considered by insurers as safety devices that qualify for a discount on the owner's insurance premiums," explained Storefront Safety Council Co-Founder Rob Reiter. "Prior to adoption of the appropriate standards by the California Building Standards Commission, the new law defines an appropriate barrier as a device 'that is installed to protect persons located within, in, or on the property of, buildings, or to protect pedestrians, from collisions into those buildings by motor vehicles'."
Assemblyman Quirk worked on the bill for two years, with support from The Storefront Safety Council and many stakeholders, and with staff support from Legislative Assistant Miranda Flores in the 2016 term and from Dr. Scott Sellars, 2014-2015 Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the California State Legislature, during the 2015 term. The full text of the bill and the legislative counsel's digest is available online, and is reprinted below:
The Storefront Safety Council applauds the hard work of Assemblyman Quirk and his staff. This important legislation sets the pace for the rest of the nation, costs taxpayers nothing, and will help guide standards and building codes in California and nationally in the coming months and years. The use of discounts as an incentive to property owners and businesses will encourage adoption of these safety measures even for older properties that want to reduce liability risks today and amortize savings over longer timelines.
Assembly Bill No. 2161
An act to add Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 11895) to Part 3 of Division 2 of the Insurance Code, relating to parking lots.
[Approved by Governor July 22, 2016. Filed with Secretary of State July 22, 2016.]
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
AB 2161, Quirk. Parking lots: design: insurance discount.
Existing law provides that building standards shall be filed by the California Building Standards Commission with the Secretary of State and codified only after they have been approved by the commission. Existing law regulates the issuance and renewal of liability insurance policies in this state.
This bill would authorize an insurer to consider the installation of vehicle barriers as a safety measure and would authorize an insurer to provide or offer a discount on the property owner’s insurance covering damage or loss to the covered commercial property or liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of the commercial property relative to the reduced risk of installation of the barriers. The bill would require that any discounts be determined to be actuarially sound and approved by the Insurance Commissioner prior to their use.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Welcome to the Storefront Safety Blog page. Here we will post articles relating to recent crashes, updates on new codes and standards along with various other pieces of information relating to storefront crashes and our mission.