Chicago Police Department tells businesses to buy Riot Glass product to prevent burglaries
Employees of Chicago businesses said police response times continue slowing
The Chicago Police Department advised businesses in one area of the city to purchase a special kind of glass shield in order to help prevent burglaries.
In a community alert sent out after a string of burglaries in Chicago's Wicker Park and Humboldt Park, police recommended businesses use ArmorPlast, a type of invisible shatterproof shield produced by a company called Riot Glass that is installed over existing glass, to protect themselves, according to a CBS News report Monday.
The advice came after a string of burglaries in the area, with Chicago Police noting that most of the burglaries showed similar characteristics. According to the alert, thieves typically break in from side or front glass windows using rocks, bricks or a crowbar, then enter the business to steal money and other items such as liquor.
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Chicago Police specifically pointed to ArmorPlast in the alert, which founder Brad Campbell says can help keep thieves out of businesses.
"We want to keep the bad guys outside the building - and that's what the product does," he told CBS News.
According to Chicago Police Department data, burglaries in the city are on pace to reach 2,253 this year, which would represent a 6% increase over 2022 numbers.
The rise in what some have called "smash and grabs" have employees in businesses throughout the city on edge, with some reporting being the target of multiple burglaries in recent months.
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"Usually, people fear their lives too. Like, I have seven kids," Tamer Jaradat, and employee at Western Food & Grocery, told CBS News. "If it takes me having to protect my life or my business, I'm going to do it."
Jaradat said the business has been hit multiple times in recent memory, including one instance where thieves stole an entire ATM from the building.
"Three months ago, they broke in - they stole the ATM machine," Jaradat said.
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However, police response times are now slower, Jaradat said, meaning employees often have to fend for themselves in an emergency.
"Now if you call the cops like too much, every day, for stealing a bag of chips or pop, they're not going to show up in 10 or 20 minutes like before," he said. "It takes time."
The Chicago Police Department did not respond to a Fox News request for comment by time of publication.