Philadelphia Councilwoman Cindy Bass wants to outlaw bullet-proof glass in retail stores because it “encourages loitering, public urination and potential drug sales.” Her rationale seems weak. Store owners install bullet-proof glass to protect themselves from armed robbers.
Bass argues that “this glass is an indignity for everyone who enters the store. It conveys the message that anyone could be a thief. For every armed robber who is thwarted hundreds of honest people are so psychologically damaged that they can’t help themselves from urinating in the street, idly loitering in the area, and make drug deals.”
Bass went on to complain that “bullet-proof glass also impedes hammer-wielding activists from expressing their dissatisfaction with the current distribution of wealth in this country. Instead of being able to quickly smash ordinary glass to get at the merchandise they are pretty much forced to go elsewhere in search of a softer target. This unnecessarily blocks an innovative strategy for achieving social justice.”
In related news, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says “retailers have only themselves to blame for the explosion in ‘smash-and-grab’ thefts. Putting valuable merchandise in flimsy glass display cases unnecessarily tempts those less well off folks to steal.” Her recommendation is to “one, choose a different product to sell because bulkier low-priced items are less tempting. Two, hire social workers to intercept looters and help them to qualify for welfare benefits. Or three, relocate your business to a safer area outside of the City or State.”