A security executive said that demand for his business is rising amid a national trend in “flash mob” robberies.
For the past several weeks, shops in major metropolitan areas — especially San Francisco — have been terrorized by large crowds of people carrying out group robberies. Black Friday saw a wave of these thefts across the United States.
During an interview with Fox Business’ Madison Alworth, Michael Sapraicone — the CEO of Squad Security, which specializes in high-end corporate, technology, and entertainment security services — observed that the nation is seeing a “big increase” in smash-and-grab thefts.
“We’re hearing a lot of people looking for more security, but the key to the security is to put an effective plan together,” Sapraicone explained. The interview took place in front of a New York City storefront that had been targeted in a smash-and-grab robbery earlier in November.
In a press release from Squad Security, Sapraicone — a former NYPD detective — predicted a rise in violent thievery ahead of the holidays.
“The stars of sticky fingers are in alignment,” Sapraicone said. “Shoplifting has already reached epidemic proportions in some parts of the country, and some stores have been forced to close because of it.”
“Security guards can provide a measure of deterrence, which can be very effective,” Sapraicone explained. “But when guards try to stop shoplifters, it can pose serious threats to law-abiding shoppers and passers-by. Often, retailers’ policies will be just to let the shoplifters leave with the goods. Of course, this drives up the cost of merchandise and insurance.”
Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey likewise warned that the robberies will spread across the United States.
“This is something now that I really unfortunately think is going to spread,” Ramsey told CNN. “Right now it’s in California, but it will spread, there’s no question about it.”
“I don’t know what’s driving all this, but it is of concern and it will continue,” Ramsey added. “It is not going to stop anytime soon.”
Although the problem has been spreading throughout the state, purported law enforcement experts in California have been accused of downplaying what some describe as “looting sprees” as “organized robbery.”
“As the Bay Area grapples with a wave of seemingly organized smash and grab robberies this weekend, policing and journalism analysts are cautioning against the use of the term looting,” opined Julian Glover, who works as a “Race and Social Justice Reporter” at ABC affiliate KGO. In the report, University of New Haven criminal justice professor and former police officer Lorenzo Boyd said that calling the thefts “looting” carries a racist connotation.
“Looting is a term that we typically use when people of color or urban dwellers are doing something,” he said. “We tend not to use that term for other people when they do the exact same thing.”
Law enforcement officials have forwarded similar arguments.
“We are talking about two incidents, we’re not going to call this looting,” San Jose police spokesman Sgt. Christian Camarillo recently explained. “This is organized robbery. That’s what it is.”
California penal code defines looting as theft or burglary “in a ‘state of emergency’ or a ‘local emergency,’ or under an ‘evacuation order,’ resulting from an earthquake, fire, flood, riot, or other natural or manmade disaster.”