When it comes to loss prevention, smash and grabs are some of the most violent, destructive and costly types of robberies that retailers face. Shops such as jewellery stores or high-end retailers are particularly vulnerable to smash and grabs because of the reliance on window displays to attract customers and sell high-value products. Some have taken measures such as bullet-proof glass, extra surveillance cameras, multiple alarms and security guards, but these are proving less of a match for the escalating violence of smash and grab attempts.
Aside from the physical security risks, the loss prevention risks of smash and grabs are immense, with stores potentially losing up to hundred of thousands of dollars in merchandise.
The City of London is doing its best to protect its shops from smash and grabs in the wake of several violent incidents seen throughout its neighborhoods. Recently, Oncam was invited to join the Met Police Flying Squad at an interactive event called Stop Smash & Grabs, held at the East Wintergarden in London’s Canary Wharf.
The purpose of the event was to address what retailers have in their power to do if faced with a smash and grab, and also how to prevent them from happening. The event featured speakers such as Commander Letchford, leader of business crime for the Metropolitan Police (the Met, for short), and Simon Cham, prevention coordinator at the Met Flying Squad.
However, this was no ordinary loss prevention gathering. To hammer the point home, the main event featured a simulation of what a real-life, real-time smash and grab looks like for those that have never seen one in the flesh. Attendees at East Wintergarden received a massive shock as four men rode into the venue on motorcycles and smashed a mock-up jewelry display case and storefront using sledgehammers and axes, stealing thousands of dollars worth of goods.
The pace and the violence of such an attempt demonstrated what kind of physical and financial impact a smash-and-grab robbery has on an average retail location, which presenters then used to instruct participants on how to deal with the situation as it unfolds and after the fact. Tips to handle a robbery in progress emphasized the need to remain calm, to trigger alarms discreetly, to ring the police and most importantly, the physical safety of employees and staff.
The key takeaway from the event was the need for preventative measures to deter smash and grabs from occurring, such as stronger doors, more robust alarm systems and better video surveillance capabilities.
Oncam’s presence as a purveyor of powerful 360-degree video surveillance technology signifies the growing need for comprehensive, high-definition surveillance amongst retailers for stronger investigative evidence and better real-time optics.
The shift from traditional PTZ surveillance cameras to 360-degree cameras with no moving parts is already helping multiple high-end retailers gain more situational awareness, and its true value is measured through every prevented incident.