The High Street has taken the brunt of the recession, with store closures affecting communities small and large and resulting in job losses across the board. With the recent troubles of Blockbuster Video and HMV hitting the news, the glum outlook for the retail industry doesn't look like changing any time soon.
The issue and fear for a lot of retail shop owners is that with poverty comes desperation, and with desperation, there comes crime. With unemployment still high, the chances of their being an attack on a premises increases, and this leads a lot of businesses to seek the security products that will protect them against vandals and thieves.
One of the most popular defences against retail crime over the years has been roller shutters. These solid steel applications are often seen on busy retail streets when all the businesses are closed, and are big business because of how difficult they are for criminals to shift and get passed. But there have been a few instances recently where shopowners have been denied the right to put up shutters on their shop by councils, for fear that they illicit a negative vibe and create a deadening effect on the local area.
A blog post from roller shutter provider www.centralrollershutters.co.uk covered a story about how Bradford Council had published a new guide for shopkeepers which stated that having external solid roller shutters on their premises would soon no longer be allowed. With Bradford currently rated in the top 3 places you're more likely to make a burglary claim according to Moneysupermarket.com, it's understandable that people in the retail trade in that area are a little nervous about the situation.
The West Yorkshire Police are quoted in the guide, stating:
"External solid shutters hide shop fronts and window displays, and reduce light to the pavements, thus creating a deadening, unwelcoming and neglected effect on the high street.
"These effects present and unfriendly appearance and can create a perception of an unsafe environment on the high street.
"External roller shutters are also easy targets for graffiti, which can add to the detrimental impact on the street scene."
In another case in December 2012, a Pharmacy in Burton on Trent was denied the permission to put up two shutters. East Staffordshire County Council stated that "security shutters can have a deadening effect on the street scene, increasing the fear of crime and careful consideration has to be given to their siting and design."
It's a tricky situation. On the one hand, there are plenty of people who would agree that shutters that haven't been taken care of or are prominent in areas that are run down can definitely illicit a negative vibe and a bad feeling when you are in those areas.
But at the same time, retail store owners deserve the right to go home at the end of every night with the feeling that they are safe and secure and their business isn't going to be a wreck when they return the next morning. If you're living in an area with a high rate of crime, shouldn't you instantly be in the right to protect yourself the best way you can?