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Storefront Safety and Security Can Be Twice as Effective Together

For more than a decade, the Storefront Safety Council has worked hard to bring awareness to the problems and risks resulting from vehicle-into-building crashes. We have assembled a database of nearly 30,000 storefront crashes, and we have a separate dataset of nearly 20,000 vehicle-into-building incidents that have been documented by police, fire, or court records. Safety for employees and customers and pedestrians is the crux of our research and the #1 priority of our work over the years, and this data has increased the awareness of all stakeholders to the very real safety and liability risks at unprotected locations..

A subset of all vehicle-into-building crashes includes DELIBERATE crashes -- sometimes an angry driver seeking to hurt someone or damage some business, but much more often, it is a Crash & Grab ramraid -- the use of a vehicle to gain entry to a building in order to commit theft. We see hundreds of these, and they are increasingly more frequent. One of the categories of theft that are most concerning is vehicles crashing into gun shops and pawn shops to steal firearms -- these are crimes that produce more crimes, and obviously bring stolen weapons out of stores and into the hands of criminals.

So we were very happy to see this story out of Lake Stevens Washington this week -- a gun store owner, in an area where crash & grab thefts are very common, installed a row of steel bollards in front of his store. Whereas just last month several gun stores were crashed into and firearms stolen, at this store on this night, the bollards stopped the crashing vehicle and prevented the thieves from gaining entry. See the surveillance video to learn more.

One of the takeaways from this story and from the video -- the bollards installed made this gun store secure -- but they also made the storefront safe in the event of an accidental incident where a vehicle might jump the curb and crash into the store. My point is, install safety barriers, and you will increase the level of safety for people AND increase the security for the business; install security barriers, and you will increase resistance to acts of theft AND increase the safety for the people who work or shop there. Safety and security can be a two-for-one cost and a win-win.


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