Preventing vehicular smash-and-grabs

Oct 5, 2023
Written by WR Communications


Earlier this year, we reported on the staggering frequency of vehicular smash and grabs. In most cases, stolen cars are driven through a retail business’ storefront doors, giving thieves access to the store’s goods. Stolen vehicles are a much more substantial “tool” to access a retail business than bolt cutters or a hammer. The good news is business owners have preventative options.

As outlined in the Guide to Navigating Public Safety & Retail Crime, a free resource WR offers, bollards can prevent vehicles from ramming into buildings. If cities or counties don’t approve bollard installations, removable barriers, such as rock-filled gabion wire cages, can support a planter or bench seat while effectively stopping a moving vehicle.

Recent cannabis shop smash and grabs have spotlighted property owners’ intent versus effectiveness. These owners were well-intentioned with bollards in place but set too widely apart.

The world’s smallest production car was only 41 inches wide, but today, most small and sub-compact cars on the market are over 5 feet wide—meaning, bollard poles should be set at no more than 5 feet on center. Bollard poles should ideally be made of concrete-filled 6-inch galvanized steel or concrete-filled plastic PVC pipe. PVC pipe bollards should be reinforced with several pieces of rebar penetrating the entire tube length and embedded in a concrete footing that sits 18 inches to two feet below grade.


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