Retail ‘Ram Raids’ on the Rise

Brazen burglars use stolen vehicles to ram through storefronts.

November 20, 2023

A tactic known as “ram raiding”—where thieves use stolen vehicles to crash through storefronts to steal products or cash in the store—is on the rise, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The attacks have been most concentrated on the West Coast where there are more lenient law-enforcement policies, current and former officials say. In an unusually brazen attack in Oakland, California, on November 6, thieves used a backhoe to crash into a convenience store and steal an ATM with chains.

“They’re [thieves] figuring that if they break through the front doors, they can get away with whatever is of value inside before police can respond,” said James Dudley, former San Francisco deputy police chief and a lecturer in criminal justice studies at San Francisco State University.

Statistics aren’t compiled for ram-raiding cases, but local and federal law-enforcement officials say they have seen a sharp uptick since the Covid-19 pandemic amid an overall rise in property crime, according to the Journal.

“This is something ATF is watching nationwide,” said John Ham, an ATF spokesman in Kansas City, Missouri. “It’s in the news more because it’s happening more.”

According to national crime statistics released by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), robbery increased 1.3% across the country in 2022, NACS Daily reported. The FBI also reported that convenience stores and gas stations combined were the site of 13.8% of robberies in 2022.

NACS is currently conducting an industry-wide crime and loss prevention survey. By participating in the survey, retailers can assist NACS in quantifying critical industry-specific challenges, like ram raids, and help prioritize and guide strategic actions to address these challenges.

“We’re asking all convenience and fuels retailers to provide us with their input on how crime is impacting their operations,” said Lori Stillman, vice president of research and education at NACS. “As we assemble an industry-wide working group to address the most pressing needs of our members, these data will be invaluable to our efforts.”

Participate in the survey today.