a client told me about his subway sandwich store job. as a result of management insistence to keep extended hours in a dangerous part of town, the store had multiple robberies. eventually, the police told the store that the needed to eliminate their extended hours of services. the reason was that the police felt the could no longer protect the store from crime.
my client’s story came back to me as i read the story of how, in new jersey, an attempted robbery at a balanciaga that made headlines. the hampton’s store was robbed by five thieves in a matter of less than 30 seconds. in that short time, the team of robbers made off $90,000.00, worth of purses. mathematically, they were at a pace of stealing over $10 millions dollars worth of goods per hour! the robbers were eventually caught after a high speed chase. it ended when the getaway car’s tire got a flat. nypost.com
the stake and risks in high end fashion-related robberies are increasing. in california, a security guard was assaulted with bear spray. weapons are increasingly present at some of these group robberies. hammers have been brought to smash through display cases or windows. guns have been flashed.
the trajectory of these robberies is that it is simply a matter of time as to when a worker, a shopper, a pedestrian, a police officer or a robber will pay the ultimate price for this criminal activity. while the burial coffin may not be designed by the likes of louis vuitton, gucci or dior etc., high end fashion stores may bear some responsibility.
as someone who has frequented rodeo drive and the south coast plaza, i am quite familiar of how stores used to operate. they often had very nice security guards in the front and customers would usually connect with a salesperson who would show the merchandise. some was in the case and others were readily available for customers to handle and inspect.
the business model of old is over. shoplifting laws, relaxed punishments and law enforcement cut-backs have led to rampant heists. stores cannot rely upon government to handle the situation. sadly, they must re-invent their business models to limit customer access to merchandise as well as control traffic flow.
stores are starting to do this. some stores require appointments for entry. while this is a good step, much more is needed to protect their employees, their clientele and the public. sadly, those who re-imagined the justice system lacked the imagination to realize the consequences of their actions. the public’s freedom to shop has and will continue to diminish. luxury brands are a mere example of a greater problem. anybody purchasing razor blades in a drug store can attest.
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