Weak store security is leading to more smash and grab crimes, but it doesn’t have to

San Antonio – Benjamin de los Santos had heard about nearby stores being targeted by thieves, but he never thought he’d be one of those victims.

He owns Benjie’s Munch on the North Side.

On Tuesday morning, cameras caught a suspect in his store taking the iPads used at the register.

“You don’t see the rock coming through but he threw a rock, and shattered glass all over the restaurant,” he said.

He had to close shop that day, replace the glass at the door, clean up, set up his new system and his workers had to stay home without pay. He said all of that cost more than what the thieves took.

He added that security upgrades are now underway.

Ken Gordon, with Alamo Door Systems, said businesses have started increasing security for their front doors as the increase of crime and even national news of riot threats arise.

He said the upgrades don’t have to be costly to work.

“Maybe it’s not as robust as these,” he said, pointing to the thick door covers outside his office. “It looks visually imposing. It looks a lot more difficult to get in. And sometimes [thieves] say, ‘it’s too much effort, I’m going to go down the street.’”

He said barriers can be expensive for store owners, but the stronger the barrier, the longer it takes for a thief to get access. They could also help give police extra time to catch up to them.

Gordon urges business owners to talk to their landlords to pay for the upgrades and even their insurance company can sometimes cover the costs to upgrade security.

“It’s worth asking,” he said.

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