Retailers respond to increased smash-and-grab robberies

(NewsNation Now) — Smash-and-grab robberies are affecting large and small businesses throughout the country. Some stores are closing up shop altogether because of their losses, but others are coming up with a new strategy.

“We try to be prepared,” said David Blagg, the general manager at Citdel Outlets in Los Angeles. “We have a lot of measures in place, some of which we shouldn’t go into.”

Shoppers may never notice some of the new tactics around them. What can be seen at the outlets is far more security officers and an extensive camera network.

“You’re not going to try to stop that kind of a group,” Blagg said about flash mob style smash-and-grab robberies. “You’re only going to try to contain the areas they can get to.”

With more in-person holiday shopping due to supply chain delays, some consumers are on alert, too.

“It just got a little crazy lately so I’m watching my back,” said Tal Amar, a holiday shopper.

A close eye is especially being focused on high end merchandise, including designer bags and clothing. And with safety in mind, retail workers are instructed to protect themselves above all else.

“It’s our safety first,” said Elvia Xec, a retail store employee. “Then whatever they grab, it’s an item so we can replace it eventually.”

Also in Los Angles, a steel Slinky-like device is being used a security measure at The Grove mall.

Tactics are also in place overnight at the outlets to block suspicious groups and vehicles.

“Like the name Citadel, it is kind of a fortress,” Blagg said. “We have gates that we keep closed, that basically you have to go over a wall, I guess, if you wanted to get here.

For security reasons, Blagg would not discuss specifics regarding measures worked out with law enforcement. He encourages consumers to focus on holiday shopping.

“Because of our increased presence of safety and security measures, people are safe,” Blagg said. “If something is happening, don’t get involved. Know someone is here that will get involved and will take care of things.”

The Los Angeles Police Department recently made 14 arrests linked to smash-and-grab incidents, but many other suspects have yet to be arrested.

Authorities credit the organized retail crime wave to the ease in selling stolen goods on the internet.

Jason Brewer with the Retail Industry Leaders Association joined NewsNation Prime to weigh in on how this impacts shoppers. See the interview in the player below.

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