After 30 years in the glass protection business, I’ve seen some very inventive techniques on surveillance videos.
Searching the internet for CCTV footage of forced entry crimes, including burglaries, robberies, and active shooter events, has become a regular part of my week. Police will often upload videos showing these crimes in an effort to get information from anyone that may have knowledge to help them in catching the criminals. In the thousands of hours of video I’ve watched, one thing is certain; bad actors will continue to evolve as we continue to bolster our defenses. We are in a war of wills. Our desire to keep them out versus their desire to get in.
To get insights into the magnitude of this challenge, one need only reflect on cybercrime as an example. We are well-aware of the need to update our malware and anti-virus constantly to thwart an ever-evolving effort on the part of hackers, yet in the physical world we rely on the same security products we have been using for decades. The “jig is up”. Bad guys know how to get past locked doors and are no longer deterred by security cameras or alarm systems. They’re still successfully forcing their way in.
Lets look at some existing security measures, that alone are no longer “cutting the mustard”. These need to be paired with other technology to create a more robust system for preventing forced entry crimes.
Security cameras are an excellent tool for documenting events as they unfold, which helps investigators solve crimes. Using facial, vehicle, and even behavioral recognition, new software can detect an individual who has been banned from a property, and even the vehicle they are known to drive, as well as aggressive behavior. With the proliferation of cameras into security systems and public places in general, these technological advents certainly make security cameras more useful as an early warning system for certain types of crimes, but cameras are not a barrier to entry and will not stop a crime from occurring in most cases.
Alarm systems are necessary for alerting police, and a loud alarm sound is undoubtedly going to scare off a percent of would-be intruders, but it takes considerable time for the alarm company to make initial calls to the property owner before a call to the police occurs. This wastes valuable time. Criminals use the statistical data in their favor, betting on the response time taking longer than they need to commit the crime and get away.
Police response times vary greatly, and according to an FBI report*, 60% of active shooter crimes end before police arrive. In a burglary the time delays can be even longer. Once police are alerted, it can take several minutes to over an hour for them to arrive, depending on the proximity of officers to the alarm and amount of other police activity taking place at the same time. False alarms are common, so police may not place a priority on responding, and bad actors use these timelines to their advantage. They know statistically they have a good chance of committing a crime and escaping before police arrive.
Windows and glass doors are the Achilles heel of a building, and this is where intruders are getting in. Traditional security window films and laminated glass are no match for the heavier tools bad actors have learned to bring along as part of their tool arsenal. Entry takes only seconds when it used to take minutes or deter crimes all together. Not anymore. Apparently, sledgehammers are standard issue when graduating bad guy academy these days, so we need to prepare with a more robust system. New retrofit panels from Riot Glass for example, have been shown to prevent forced entry attempts, even when sledgehammers are used (see video below). This innovative system uses an unbreakable, containment-grade polycarbonate panel in conjunction with a patented framing system to create a shield that makes forced entry through the glass virtually impossible. This is the same type of system used in correctional facilities and psychiatric hospitals. When you absolutely, positively must keep someone out, this is the system you use. It is far lighter weight than heavy ballistic security glass, so no other modifications are needed. It simply bolts onto virtually any door or window frame. This system comes in bronze or clear aluminum anodize. It can also be powder coated to any custom color. All fasteners are then hidden under a decorative cover, so the system blends seamlessly into the window or door frame for a virtually invisible appearance.
All of these security measures together create a layered system that will likely delay if not completely deter a bad actor, buying precious time and thus saving lives and protecting property. It is time for the civilized modern world to take a stand against forced entry crimes. Don’t let your facility, school, or home get behind and become an attractive target. Start implementing one technology at a time. Barriers to entry are the best place to start. If the balloon goes up, you’ll be glad you did.