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4 Easy Window Defense Tips That Prevent Burglary and Smash-and-Grab Theft

Written By: Brad CampbellApril 21, 2022

With a wave of smash-and-grab luxury retail theft and other types of burglary on the rise in the United States, now is a good time to take a look at your window defenses and make some upgrades and changes to your retail security practices.

forced entry

With the right combination of deterrents, physical barriers to forced entry, and other retail defense tactics, you can greatly reduce the chances of devastating financial loss for you and your business.

Make These 4 Window Defense Upgrades Today

1. Reinforce your windows with containment-grade polycarbonate security glazing

Containment-grade polycarbonate glazing shields, like ArmorPlast® AP25, are specifically designed to fortify commercial windows against forced entry and prevent incidents of burglary, smash-and-grab theft, rioting and looting, and vandalism.

Polycarbonate glazing designed for defending windows has a glass-like surface hardness and appearance. It is completely transparent, so it won’t block out natural light, inhibit views, or noticeably alter the outward appearance of your storefront.

glass store front

These characteristics alone make polycarbonate security glazing a much better solution than traditional window defense mechanisms, such as metal window bars and grates because your business retains all of its curb appeals. Traditional bars and grates simply don’t work for most luxury and specialty retailers.

Containment-grade polycarbonate glazing shields can be retrofitted on top of your existing glass, protecting it from all types of impacts with the virtually unbreakable strength of polycarbonate.

If a would-be intruder attempts to gain entry to your property or tries to smash a display window/case to steal expensive items, their efforts will be futile. Polycarbonate security glazing can withstand even the most determined, prolonged forced entry attempts using common burglary tools, including bats, hammers, pry bars, and other heavy hand tools.


Reinforcing your commercial windows with polycarbonate is the top window defense upgrade you can make because it provides 24/7 protection against a wide variety of real-life threats — not just forced entry.

Benefits of upgrading windows with containment-grade polycarbonate shields:

  • Fortifies windows, without making them look fortified
  • Prevents forced entry, burglary, and smash-and-grab theft
  • Protects businesses from unexpected rioting and looting
  • Acts as a storm damage mitigation barrier
  • Alternative to plywood board-ups
  • Can provide blast damage/injury mitigation
  • Does not require window replacement (can usually be retrofitted)
  • Works for both windows and glass doors

2. Spread out high-value merchandise

If you own a high-end retail store, avoid placing all the most expensive items in a single area, such as a display case or storefront window, as this can make your luxury retail store an even more attractive target for burglary and smash-and-grab theft.

Instead, spread out high-value items in different display cases and windows throughout your store to deter criminals from thinking your business is an easy target, where they can make off with a ton of expensive merchandise quickly.

3. Remove major obstructions in front of doors and windows

Sometimes the best way to combat smash-and-grab theft is to spot the potential perpetrators and lock down the store/call the police before it goes down.

In order to be able to do this, make sure your storefront doors and windows are clear of large obstructions, so your employees can clearly see out and spot suspicious individuals or groups of people.

While it may be difficult to spot single individual planning on attempting a robbery, larger groups of smash-and-grab thieves (known as flash mobs) wearing face coverings and carrying burglary tools are easy to see as they approach a business from the street or parking lot out front.

Make sure your employees know how to recognize these types of organized retail theft groups and know what to do when they see them, including locking front doors and calling the authorities right away.

monitored alarm

You might also consider installing panic buttons that employees can press to instantly alert the authorities if they suspect your business is about to be targeted for a robbery. These panic buttons can be placed behind/under display counters and in other easy-to-reach areas around your store.

4. Re-evaluate the positions of your security cameras

Although surveillance cameras don’t always deter criminals from targeting businesses, they are still an essential component of any comprehensive retail security system.

You should have a mix of both obviously visible surveillance cameras and concealed video cameras in your store to help deter would-be thieves and catch them in the act if they go through with committing some type of theft.

In the worst-case scenario, the footage from the cameras can help the police catch the criminals after the act, and you may be able to recover at least some of the stolen merchandise or money.

For the best chance of capturing usable footage of criminals, make sure to position cameras at face height at the entrance to your store, and make sure the cameras are of a high enough resolution to actually capture footage that can be used for facial recognition.

What Types of Retail Stores Should Implement These Window Defense Measures?

Any type of retail business can be the target of burglary and smash-and-grab theft. However, there are certain types of luxury retailers and specialty retailers that have been particularly targeted in recent times. These include:

  • Jewelry stores
  • Cannabis stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Liquor stores
  • Gas stations
  • Pawnshops
  • Electronics stores
polycarbonate jewelry store glass protection

Thieves like to target these types of stores because they can often get away with a ton of expensive merchandise in a matter of seconds, as we’ve seen in recent cases of smash-and-grab flash mobs targeting jewelry stores and other high-end retail shops.

If you make only one change to your window defenses today, it should be to reinforce the glass with polycarbonate security glazing. A physical barrier to forced entry and smash-and-grab theft is the single most effective method for protecting your merchandise.

If criminals do decide to target your store, they’ll be surprised to find that their attempts to break your windows and display cases just bounce off your new polycarbonate glazing shields.

Contact Riot Glass LLC today for help fortifying your business against forced entry and smash-and-grab theft.

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