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Thwarting the Smash and Grab Epidemic, Leveraging 2 Steel Security Shutters Styles

With alarming escalation in smash-and-grab attacks (thanks to KIA and Hyundai), store owners are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to protect their businesses. With criminals becoming increasingly audacious, employing swift and violent tactics to loot high-value retail stores, there has never been a more pressing time to amplify security measures. Central to this security revamp is a multi-faceted approach, focusing on fortified exterior security and robust interior shutters. Furthermore, well-designed bollards are emerging as a potent deterrent to these vehicular assaults on storefronts.  

In Western Washington State, a region renowned for its lush landscapes and vibrant communities, the surge in smash-and-grab crimes is casting a shadow over the usually tranquil and harmonious environment 

The Smash and Grab Onslaught 

In recent times, an alarming surge in smash-and-grab robberies has left communities across Western Washington on edge. These audacious crimes have not only been concentrated in urban areas like Auburn, Tacoma, and Federal Way but have also spilled into rural and suburban locales such as Buckley, Algona, and Puyallup. The heightened criminal activity underscores the urgent necessity for retailers to fortify their security protocols.

In today’s volatile retail environment, the security landscape is increasingly complicated by phenomena like flash mob robberies. Orchestrated often through social media, these involve large groups descending on stores en masse, overwhelming staff, and security systems. In some instances, these criminals are armed with hammers, which they use to smash display cases and swiftly snatch high-value merchandise before making their getaway.

To combat these evolving threats, retailers are ramping up their security infrastructure. Rolling security shutters and roll shutters have gained popularity as robust physical barriers that deter unauthorized access, including for smash-and-grab attacks. Manufactured with reinforced materials that are resistant to breakage or cutting, these shutters can be deployed rapidly. Likewise, display cases fortified with shatter-resistant materials offer an added safeguard for valuable inventory. By comprehending the mechanics of flash mob robberies and implementing stout security measures such as rolling security shutters and enhanced display cases, retailers can significantly reduce the risks associated with these orchestrated thefts.

Smash-and-grab robberies are not just a growing trend but a significant public safety concern, inflicting heavy financial losses on businesses. One potent solution lies in the installation of security shutters. Comprising durable materials like steel or aluminum, these shutters serve as formidable physical barriers that are both time-consuming and labor-intensive to breach. Such obstacles serve a dual purpose: they not only deter criminals seeking quick loot but also buy critical time for law enforcement to respond. Additionally, the very presence of these security installations often acts as a psychological deterrent, steering would-be robbers toward softer targets. As such, investing in premium security shutters is not just a practical choice, but an essential strategy for mitigating robbery risks.

Local Smash and Grabs in the News

Kia and Hyundai keys bypassed by usb. 

The problem started gaining momentum after a viral TikTok video demonstrated how to steal these vehicles using just a USB cable, exploiting a vulnerability in the cars. Despite the video being taken down, the trend had already caught on. The thefts spiked in January 2023, with Renton recording 110 Kia and Hyundai thefts that month alone, compared to just seven thefts for all of 2022.

Dealerships have been rolling out software security upgrades, but a backlog has led to continued thefts. Some car owners are taking extreme measures, like installing webcams for overnight surveillance, to protect their vehicles. Law enforcement notes that these stolen cars are often subsequently used in other crimes, such as armed robberies and drive-by shootings. The thieves tend to be juveniles and young adults.

While thefts have decreased somewhat recently, police are not declaring the trend to be over, as these remain the most commonly stolen family of vehicles in the area.

Kia used in smash and grab robbery

The Call for Robust Defenses 

As these crimes grow in number and audacity, store owners are keenly aware of the urgency to fortify their establishments. The protective measures are not only about preventing financial loss but also about safeguarding the community and restoring a sense of safety and normalcy. 

The Exterior Security Shield – Reinforcing the Storefront by use of Security Shutters 

To curb the menace, the first line of defense starts with bolstering the exterior security. Store owners are increasingly investing in high-strength materials to reinforce the storefront, making it less susceptible to vehicular attacks. 

That is why we offer QMI’s StoreSafe® exterior security shutters for enhanced retail protection. These durable shutters effectively deter or guard against break-ins and vandalism. We have many examples where the robber could not get though or its stopped them from a complete robbery due to the extreme difficulty of getting in. 

QMI Installed Exterior Security Shutters after smash and grap robbery

The Role of Security Shutters

In commercial applications, security shutters provide an effective line of defense against unauthorized entry, theft, and vandalism. Easily deployable, they fortify storefronts, service counters, and other potential entry points, serving as both a physical barrier and a visual deterrent to would-be intruders.

Interior Shutters – The Second Line of Defense 

The Importance of Interior Shutters 

In addition to fortified exteriors, the incorporation of interior shutters has emerged as a viable strategy in deterring break-ins. These shutters, often made from resilient materials, provide an added layer of protection, making it exceedingly difficult for criminals to gain access to valuable merchandise even if they manage to breach the exterior barriers. 

For this, we provide QMI’s CounterSafe® and ProductSafe® security shutters for safeguarding your counters and valuable products. These specialized shutters offer reliable protection against theft and unauthorized access.

Flexibility and Adaptability 

Interior shutters offer a degree of flexibility and adaptability, allowing for customization to meet the unique needs of each establishment. Their robust construction can be complemented with modern locking mechanisms, making them a formidable barrier against forced entries. 

inner security shutters / QMI installed inner security shutters to stop smash and grabs
Bollard to stop smash-and-grab robberies.

The Role of Bollards 

In the defensive blueprint, bollards play a critical role. When properly designed and strategically positioned, they can prevent vehicles from approaching too close to the storefront, effectively thwarting attempts to use vehicles as battering rams. These sturdy structures can be both a physical and visual deterrent, signaling a strong line of defense that deters potential criminals. 

Who Is QMI?

Their Story

Established in 1986 by Jim Miller, Qualitas Manufacturing, Inc., commonly known as QMI, has evolved from a family-started initiative into a flourishing enterprise employing over a hundred people. Inspired by his father’s business expertise, Miller acquired Mid Continent Rolling Shutter in Naperville, Illinois. His exposure to the high efficacy of exterior rolling shutters in Europe led him to expand QMI’s product range significantly. In 2002, the organization shifted its headquarters to its current location at 1661 Glenlake Drive, Itasca, Illinois.

In a pivotal moment in 2017, QMI underwent a financial recapitalization, facilitated by Prospect Partners and its own management team. This step has catalyzed the continued development of new physical security products, bolstering revenue streams and widening their sales channels.

A Forward-Thinking Approach 

In these trying times, characterized by the rise of smash-and-grab thefts involving vehicles, a forward-thinking approach is more crucial than ever. The use of both exterior and interior security measures, such as high-strength shutters and bollards, can serve as formidable deterrents against such brazen acts of theft. These security solutions are not just about safeguarding assets and inventory; they also protect employees and customers, thereby reinforcing the integrity of the business. Implementing robust security features, like QMI’s StoreSafe®, CounterSafe®, and ProductSafe® security shutters, can act as the first line of defense in preventing burglars from gaining entry in the first place.

By embracing these comprehensive measures, store owners are doing more than just protecting their individual businesses. They are contributing to a broader societal effort aimed at restoring peace and security in their communities. Well-fortified establishments can dissuade criminals from targeting the area, thereby providing a residual protective effect that benefits other local businesses and residents alike. In an era where law enforcement agencies are stretched thin and response times can be delayed, taking proactive security measures can be invaluable.

Moreover, the peace of mind that comes with heightened security cannot be overstated. For employees, this assurance can lead to a more focused and productive work environment, free from the anxieties associated with potential break-ins. Customers, too, are likely to favor businesses where they feel secure, which can result in increased loyalty and repeat business. This is essential in an age where consumer sentiment can swiftly affect a business’s reputation and bottom line.

So, the case for a forward-thinking approach to security is not merely about preventing financial loss; it’s an integral aspect of community-building and fostering a sense of safety and well-being for everyone involved. Adopting stringent security measures can be the cornerstone of a strategy aimed at thwarting the smash-and-grab epidemic, fortifying not just the business but the community as a whole.


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