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Americans in cities racked by violent crime are taking a drastic approach to protect themselves, their valuables, and their loved ones.
Armormax is an armorer that bulletproofs cars for foreign diplomats and corporate CEOs. But in an interview with the New York Post, Armormax’s Mark Burton said that the Utah-based company is fielding orders to bulletproof cars for residents of cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Memphis, and Las Vegas.
“It’s been pretty shocking,” Burton told the New York Post. “I would say it really started about 18 months ago. It used to be politicians and CEOs. Almost all international. Now we’re bulletproofing Honda Accords.”
Armormax was founded in 1993 in Ogden, Utah. The company centered on clients from Mexico, where kidnappings in the 90s prompted the rich and famous to protect themselves by bulletproofing their glass. Their services soon expanded to clientele in Nigeria, South Africa, and the Middle East. But recently, demand has surged at home. The company opened a plant in Atlanta in 2021, and has plans to build three more.
Demand has skyrocketed so much so that Burton told the outlet he recognizes some area codes that frequently crop up. Recurring clients have come from cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Atlanta, and New Orleans. Chicago is another recurring locale; the Windy City was the scene of raucous lawlessness over the weekend. Teenagers in Milennium Park jumped on cars and smashed windows on Sunday night. Police were forced to escort residents and others to their vehicles. But at least one man was beaten after teenagers jumped on his car’s windshield.
“The clientele is changing,” Burton said. “Doctors, lawyers — now you’re seeing real estate developers and even some real estate agents.” He added that realtors and builders feel especially vulnerable in areas of big cities that are gentrifying.
One client from the Las Vegas area, who works in the gaming industry, paid $85,000 last year for Armormax to fully bulletproof his Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, including a PA system to communicate with people outside the vehicle, without opening the windows, in case of an emergency.
“I think post-COVID things changed,” the resident told the Post. “Big city crime, road rage, shootings, carjackings. I drive my car down to The Strip every day, there’s been a lot of incidents here. I feel safer. It was well worth it and I would do it again.”
Another client, from Los Angeles, told the outlet that she will be picking up her newly-armored SUV from the Utah plant in June.
“I have kids,” she said. “No one gets punished for anything anymore so these incidents are only going to increase. That seems pretty obvious. So I think it’s just a sensible thing to do.”
Other clients order their cars armored after they become victims of crime or get surrounded by a crowd. “It costs $38,500 for a basic windows and doors package for handgun protection,” Burton said. “We get people who are so scared after something happens that they’ll just get their windows done — or even just the windshield — because they can’t cover the whole car being armored.” Heavier armor packages that protect against high-powered rifles can add some $10,000 to the cost, he added. Furthermore, new technology allows vehicles to look unchanged after being retrofitted, increasing demand even further, he noted.
Burton said that the high levels of socio-economic disparity in the third world seems to be developing in America. There are also a growing number of Americans building bug-out vans in anticipation of more widespread chaos.