Parija Kavilanz, CNN, December 13, 2021
As a recent wave of mob-led store robberies has put retailers, mall operators and communities on edge, one popular shopping center is keeping an unusual security measure in place through the holiday season.
The Grove, a famous open-air shopping complex in Los Angeles, has added a high coil fence barrier that resembles barbed wire at the property’s entrances and exits.
Management added the “tangled tape” coil fencing, which is made from a custom aluminum-and-steel mesh, ahead of Thanksgiving weekend. The fencing is installed nightly after the mall closes and removed before it reopens, and it’s just one of the security measures the complex put in place after a rash of November smash-and-grab robberies at high-end stores in San Francisco and other cities.
The shopping center has also heightened its security presence with additional personnel including off-duty police officers — but the fencing is a more novel addition to the options operators can choose from to protect their stores, experts say.
“The coil wire is a reasonably new technology in retail crime prevention,” said Mike Lamb, an expert in retail security and former vice president of asset protection and safety at Walmart (WMT), Home Depot and Kroger. “It looks like it’s designed to not cause injury, but [it] can tangle a person in it and slow down someone who is trying to get away quickly.”
The wire fencing in place didn’t fully deter a robbery at The Grove on November 22, when a group of 18 to 20 looters used sledgehammers and an electric bicycle to smash into the complex’s Nordstrom (JWN) store after hours. They managed to steal at least $5,000 of merchandise and cause $15,000 in damage, though police later recovered merchandise and arrested three people in connection with the burglary.