Retailers Use Slinky-Type Barrier to Deter Theft and Catch Thieves
(NewsNation Now) – In an effort to tackle a wave of retail thefts and armed robberies, some retailers are implementing coiled wire – much like what can often be seen at the exterior of a prison – to serve as a barrier between potential thieves and high-end products.
The product is called an accordion or tangled wire, and its Slinky-like design acts as both a deterrent and a means of slowing down thieves.
It’s also safer than the reciprocating razor or barbed wire, said Josh Nielsen, vice president of Adamson Police Products. While not impenetrable, it functions as a visual deterrent and has the potential to slow thieves in time for police to apprehend them, Nielsen said.
“If someone is running and trying to cross something fast, they will have to navigate and get tangled,” Nielsen said.
As the security measure is erected in malls, including The Grove in Los Angeles, vendors said they couldn’t keep it in stock.
“We are constantly getting phone calls for this,” Nielsen said.
A recent report from the National Retail Federation found that in response to organized crime and in-store attacks, 50% of retailers spend money on specific loss prevention equipment. The other half look to technology resources that will help them report their activities and track data.
The federation says organized retail crime costs businesses an average of $ 700,000 for $ 1 billion in sales.
Although incidents of organized crime in retail increased before 2020, a shift towards online shopping, where stolen goods are often sold, has exasperated the problem, according to the NRF. While some retailers expect a more robust and collaborative response from law enforcement and lawmakers, security measures such as accordion wire are additional tools to guard against theft.
“(The police) are doing (the best) they can with the tools provided, and it’s one of those tools that we’re trying to help them,” Nielsen said.
Ideally, the responsibility for merchants and buyers should not rest with a single entity, said Rob Karr, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
Instead, law enforcement, lawmakers, retailers and court officials must work together to find solutions that better protect everyone, he said.
Until then, physical stores should continue to operate as they always have.
“(People) want to come in, touch, try, see, feel,” Karr said. “We are in front of the public. It’s the only way retail works.