Shopping center

Famous LA mall adds barbed wire fence to deter smashes and foreclosures

By Parija Kavilanz, CNN Business

While a recent spate of crowd-led store robberies has left retailers, mall operators and communities on edge, a popular mall is keeping an unusual security measure in place over the holiday season.

The Grove, a famous outdoor shopping complex in Los Angeles, added a tall, coiled fence barrier that resembles barbed wire to the entrances and exits of the property.

Ahead of Thanksgiving weekend, management added the “Tangled Strip” coil fence, which is made from a custom aluminum and steel mesh. The fence is put up every night after the mall closes and taken down before it reopens, and it’s just one of the security measures the resort has put in place after a series of armed robberies in November in high-end stores in San Francisco and other cities. .

The mall has also beefed up its security presence with additional staff, including off-duty police – but the fence is a newer addition to the options operators can choose from to protect their stores, experts say.

“Boiler wire is a relatively new technology in retail crime prevention,” said Mike Lamb, retail security expert and former vice president of asset protection and security at Walmart. , Home Depot and Kroger. “Looks like it’s designed not to cause injury, but [it] can entangle a person in it and slow someone trying to get away quickly.

The fence in place did not completely deter a robbery at The Grove on November 22, when a group of 18 to 20 looters used hammers and an electric bicycle to crash into the resort’s Nordstrom store after hours. ‘opening. They managed to steal at least $5,000 worth of goods and cause $15,000 in damage, although police later recovered goods and arrested three people in connection with the burglary.

But a spokesperson for The Grove noted that the fence helped prevent attackers from accessing the shopping complex property by blocking the entrance: the damaged Nordstrom store entrance faced a public street and this area was therefore not protected by the barrier.

Additionally, all stores in The Grove have a special ballistic film coating for exterior and interior windows, which helps fortify the glass in the event of smash-and-grab crime. This film made it harder for Nordstrom’s attackers to break through the glass, giving law enforcement more time to react.

Retailers across the country have been rocked by the wave of thefts.

At the Citadel Outlets mall near Los Angeles, for example, general manager David Blagg said security there has also been tightened: “We have also increased our 24-hour on-site security staff and posted security personnel throughout the center. Additionally, we have doors at the entrances and exits that can be closed quickly, allowing us to lock down the center in 1-2 minutes.

And last week, a group of 20 retail leaders – including the CEOs of Target, Best Buy, Nordstrom, Home Depot and CVS sent a letter to Congress expressing concern over the wave of brazen thefts in major cities. Americans and urged lawmakers to take action.

“As millions of Americans have undoubtedly seen on the news in recent weeks and months, retail establishments of all kinds have seen a significant increase in organized crime in communities across the country,” says the letter, sent by the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

The group called on Congress to pass legislation that would deter criminals from easily reselling stolen goods, especially online.

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