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Stop Storefront Ram Raiding with Properly Spaced Bollards

Ram Raiding. It’s the newest name for “smash and grabs” and latest trend for criminals all over the country as cars are being stolen and used as battering rams to smash into retail storefronts and loot the empty stores afterhours. This is a problem that has happening for many years but has taken an upturn over the last couple of years, especially on the west coast, per The Wall Street Journal

In the WSJ’s latest, author Jim Carlton talked about several instances and talked about the specific cars that are being targeted to engage this tactic: 

“The battering rams of choice are often stolen Hyundais and Kias, officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said. Those cars have become targets of criminals nationwide because they lack certain antitheft technology and are relatively easy to steal, police have said.” 

The article also includes some eye opening video footage of the break-ins. Showing vehicles maneuver around poorly placed protective bollards and smash into the storefront, allowing for planned groups to loot the stores. Showing that bollards are only as valuable as the installation. If the bollards are placed too far apart, cars can fit between them and inflict damage upon the store. 

So, what is the recommendation for stopping these “Ram Raids” before they happen?

The first is the placement of the bollards. Did you know the average car width is around 5.8 feet, per Way.com. Whether it’s just a standard 6″ schedule 40 pipe bollard, if the bollards are placed within five feet from one-another, there aren’t any known cars that can fit through that opening. Add in the ADA requirements of at least three feet of spacing between storefront bollards and that 3-5 foot spacing should stop any slips throughs. 

List of the 2023-24 Narrowest Cars

  • 2024 Mitsubishi Mirage – Width: As low as 65.6 in. 
  • 2023 Kia Rio – Width: As low as 67.9 in. 
  • 2024 MINI Cooper – Width: As low as 68.0 in. 
  • 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata – Width: As low as 68.3 in. 
  • 2024 Nissan Versa – Width: As low as 68.5 in. 

The second would be the strength of the bollards. Even if a storeowner puts a bollard every 3 feet, if the pipe is cheap and weak, a car can plow clean through those. That is why strength matters. While the 6″ schedule 40 pipes can be a great deterrent and hold up for the basic bumping accidents, if business owners are looking to ensure vehicles cannot penetrate the bollard front, we suggest adding in Crash Rated Bollards

Ideal Shield’s C40 Bollard crash test.

Here at Ideal Shield, we offer some of the strongest and economically friendly rated bollards. That includes our storefront specialist, the C40 Traffic Impact Bollard, which is independently tested and designed to stop a standard 5,000 lbs. vehicle at 30 mph. 

Looking for something even stronger? If you have a decent sized parking lot or “runway” in front of your storefront, you will want a bollard which can hold up to heavier and faster vehicles. That is where we would suggest our K4/M30 Bollards or our K12/M50 Bollards, both of which are Department of Defense approved. 

The K4/M30 Bollards are certified and tested to stop a 15,000 lbs. vehicle at 30 mph while the K12/M50 Bollards are certified and tested to stop a 15,000 lbs. vehicle at 50 mph. Both options are also available in a removable application so you can still access the storefront with work vehicles, if necessary.

Installation of Ideal Shield's K12 Bollards in front of a bank

Installation of Ideal Shield’s K12 Bollards in front of a bank.

Storefront protection is extremely important for accidents alone. Add in criminals specifically targeting the storefronts and weaknesses in protection, and now the properly placed storefront bollards are becoming a requirement for any retail business owner.

If you’re a business owner or property manager looking to truly protect your storefront from ram raids, smash & grabs, and any other storefront crash, contact our experienced sales team today to learn more about our Crash Rated Bollard options.