The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California

The Scribe

The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California

The Scribe

The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California

The Scribe

Vehicles Crashed, Stores Abashed

Riverside County Fire Department
Storefront crash in Temecula.

Within the past few years, social media trends have taken a toll on the standards and perceptions of our society. These trends span from a simple 30-second dance challenge to a lifestyle that requires commitment, such as the Clean Girl aesthetic. However, not all of these trends have positive impacts on communities. Take the Devious Lick trend in 2021 for example, a trend about vandalizing and stealing from schools that led administrators, law enforcement, and social media platforms distressed. Now, a new trend has arisen: Crash-and-Grab. The name originates from “smash-and-grab,” a common term used for robbers who smash through shop windows and quickly grab valuables. However, this trend’s participants have taken this to another level.

People have been driving their cars into business shops. In some of these cases, the drivers are unable to get out of their car to grab anything due to the collapsed shelves and glass that surrounds their car. However, the damaged property and the money required to repair the damages still amount to a great loss for the business owners. Not only economically, but also emotional trauma is a hurdle for shop owners as well as shoppers in the region. News of such violent robbery would drive people away from that shopping center in order to avoid the potential of getting hurt during the next hit. 

Contrary to some beliefs, this did not initially start as a trend. Cases of vehicles crashing into storefronts have long existed. These incidents are caused when the driver accidentally accelerates into the shops in front of them instead of reversing out of their parking spot. However, the alarming rates and normalcy of them are rarely displayed on news headlines. For example, an article by Insider states that oftentimes at least once a day, a 7-Eleven store in the US would experience these hits. C-Store Drive states that “Throughout all U.S. commercial businesses, storefront crashes happen about 100 times a day, Reiter, co-founder of the Storefront Safety Council, said in an interview.”

In August of this year, a car that crashed into a restaurant in southern Florida led to 20 people injured, among them two pregnant women. 

However, as time progresses, this has started to be an intentional deed. According to Storefront Crash Expert, 9% of all storefront crashes are part of a burglary plan. As of September 20, Global Smoke and Vape, a smoke shop in West Seattle, fell victim to this trend five times within the same week. On the morning of September 20, thieves drove a stolen car into the store and then ran away in a different vehicle. It is unclear whether or not they were able to steal anything.

Especially in Washington, vape and drug stores have a higher tendency to become targets of these crimes. In 2023 alone, over 30 crash and grab cases have occurred in Washington. According to KIRO Newsradio, “Pot shops have been hot topics because they’re, typically, reliant on cash. It’s illegal under federal law to buy marijuana products with credit cards.” Due to this, burglars have quick, easy access to money after they have crashed. 

With other stores– for example, luxury stores– they would have to steal and then put the stolen items on sale. Usually, they would have to put a discount on these items for them to be sold fast. Other recent examples include a Lululemon store in Berkeley and another at a Nordstrom store in Los Angeles, both in which the burglars stole merchandise. 

In order to combat this issue, AP News states, “California will spend $267 million to help dozens of local law enforcement agencies increase patrols, buy surveillance equipment and conduct other activities aimed at cracking down on smash-and-grab robberies happening around the state.” This was likely passed due to the frequently seen smash-and-grab robberies that couple with the crash-and-grab incidents that are increasing by the day. 

Smash-and-grabs have existed for years, but crash-and grabs are slowly starting to make their way into headlines. Although some of these storefront crashes are not intentional and are merely a consequence of forgetting to switch the car into reverse, others are aimed at inflicting financial loss and emotional damage to the shop. These cases have been an increasing issue in California, especially, though there is hope the new investment by the state will help put a halt to them and ensure public safety.

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