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Ask the Expert: Four Tips for Choosing Storefront Security Glazing

Interview with Brad Campbell

Brad Campbell
Brad Campbell

Campbell is dedicated to his lifelong commitment to protecting people and property. His specialized knowledge comes from many years of experience in the security glass and films industries.His company Riot Glass is hired to conduct security upgrades by government agencies, entertainment facilities, schools, celebrity homes, and private institutions. His company’s strict privacy protocols and employee training give clients confidence that their constituents’ facilities will receive high-quality security consulting, materials, and installation labor, conducted with professionalism and discretion.

Security glass comes in many forms, so determining which one is best for your storefront(s) requires a clear understanding of the options. There is no one size-fits-all solution. This article will help you think through the four most common factors retailers face when making a decision of this magnitude.

  1. Is it imperative the glass security product be invisible to patrons?
  2. What is the anticipated threat level?
  3. What are the size limitations of the security glass?
  4. What budget is required for an effective smash-and-grab prevention strategy?

How can retailers prevent smash-and-grab crime while maintaining a clear view in?

Choosing the wrong window security can diminish the open, inviting look of retail locations, but there doesn’t need to be a compromise to have effective glass security. Recent technological advancements in security glazing allow retailers to protect storefronts with unbreakable retrofit security- glazing shields from Riot Glass Inc. that can be mounted in front of existing glass to protect it from breakage in a forced- entry attack. Not only will you prevent entry, but also in many cases the primary glazing is not damaged in any way. This prevents the expense of emergency board- up service, long glass lead times, and a less than optimal storefront appearance while waiting for the replacement glass to be installed. Access-denial glazing shields are virtually invisible while providing protection similar to a board up.

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How can retailers determine glass strength requirements?

Threat-level assessment is not an exact science, but you can use historical data and crime statistics for a given location to formulate the nature of a likely attack. What is the nature of most crimes in the area—a broken window from thrown rocks, or crimes involving multiple attackers using heavy tools? What is the average police response time for a burglary alarm? In today’s unpredictable environment, even previously low-crime neighborhoods are seeing brazen smash -and-grab crimes, so some retailers are adding increased glass protection to all stores. The highest-level protection is chosen for locations with a track record for continual break- in attempts.

If there are concerns about vagrants vandalizing the glass, an anti-graffiti or security window-film solution can be effective, but if there is a history of crimes involving multiple attackers using heavy tools such as sledgehammers, the security glazing and framing will need to endure extreme punishment for a prolonged period. Thicker and heavier is not always the best solution. Many security-glass types are designed for both forced entry and bullet resistance and are generally quite bulky and heavy. Other lighter materials are virtually unbreakable and, while not bullet resistant, can prevent very heavy attacks for several minutes. Discussing your anticipated threats with a professional security-specific glazing contractor is an effective way to determine the needed security-glass system.

What are the size limitations for security glass?

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Forced-entry and bullet-resistant security panels that are made with or reinforced by polycarbonates or other impact-resistant laminates are generally limited in size due to the complex laminating process. The largest security- glass size is typically 72 by 120 inches. Recent breakthroughs in technology enable security glass manufacturers to span much larger openings by seamlessly connecting security panels to form a formidable barrier to entry without compromising appearance.

Let’s talk budget.

One of the most cost-effective storefront security solutions is our retrofit ArmorPlast® product, which acts as an “invisible board up.” ArmorPlast is installed with our patented framing and military- grade polycarbonates and acts as an invisible, unbreakable shield that blends seamlessly into your existing storefront, repelling burglars and smash-and-grab mobs, even multiple attackers with heavy tools for a prolonged period of time. Retrofitting an entire storefront can cost about the same as a single board up. Glazing shields are always in place, so you are protected around the clock, year-round.

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