Written By: Brad Campbell | August 13, 2023
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 28% of burglaries occur in non-residential locations. This means in retail stores, offices, and other types of commercial facilities.
That’s why it’s of the utmost importance for business owners and commercial facility owners to ensure that their properties are secure when it comes to forced entry.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the role commercial storefront doors and windows play in building security, and give you some ideas for how to reinforce your property with commercial security doors and security glass products.
Storefront doors serve both practical and aesthetic purposes. Of course, they are the main way in and out for customers, clients, employees, and others coming and going from your business or commercial facility.
When it comes to retail stores, an inviting storefront door can help attract customers to come in and browse your selection of products. Oftentimes, such storefront doors are made of glass or a combination of glass and aluminum, so they blend in with a modern glass storefront.
Besides the more obvious functional and aesthetic purposes of commercial storefront doors, they are also an important part of your property’s security.
Commercial doors should be durable and secure enough to keep out inclement weather, prevent break-ins, and generally protect everyone and everything inside your facility.
Like doors, commercial storefront windows serve functional purposes and contribute to the curb appeal of your business.
Large all-glass or mainly glass storefronts allow a lot of natural light in as well as provide views of the outdoors, making the commercial space pleasant and easy to shop and do business in.
Retail stores can benefit greatly from having large glass windows to display their products in, enticing passersby to stop and come in to browse the store.
Your commercial windows should also be strong enough to withstand the elements and at the very least delay or deter forced entry — if not prevent it completely.
What do almost all burglaries have in common? In the majority of cases, the thieves gain access to a property through a vulnerable window or door.
Experienced burglars and opportunistic thieves can look at a storefront and identify its biggest insecurities.
More often than not, breaking in is just a matter of smashing a pane of glass in a door to open it from the inside, or breaking a window and stepping right in.
Criminals know how to get in and out of a business very quickly, so even if your property is alarmed and monitored, they could be long gone with the goods by the time the authorities arrive.
By far the best way to keep the bad guys out of your property is to create strong physical barriers to forced entry. For commercial storefront doors and windows, this means reinforcing and protecting the glass so it can withstand forced entry attempts.
Depending on your budget and the level of security you want, there are a few different ways you can reinforce your property’s doors and windows.
For starters, there are the traditional options like replacing your storefront doors with heavy commercial security doors and covering your storefront windows with bars and grates or roll-down shutters.
While these options provide a visual deterrent that can often discourage break ins, some cities, landlords, and specialty brands do not want such products visible in the storefront. Riot Glass is an excellent alternative, providing a virtually invisible barrier to entry.
Since we’re the glass security experts, we’re going to focus on how you can protect commercial storefront doors and windows without blocking out natural light or limiting your visibility.
Safety and security window film and laminated security glass are two popular choices when it comes to commercial glass reinforcement, but there’s one thing they don’t do: prevent your existing glass from breaking.
Though these products can delay and even potentially prevent forced entry, it’s still possible for determined intruders to get through them. And, in the best case, you’re still going to have to replace the broken glass.
For retail and commercial building security, we prefer the third option: polycarbonate glazing shields. These glazing shields offer a surface hardness and appearance of glass with the virtually unbreakable strength of polycarbonate.
Polycarbonate glazing shields can be retrofitted into or onto almost any existing framing system, completely protecting the existing window or door glass from cracking and shattering and denying forced entry.
Even the most determined would-be intruder is not going to be able to break through or dislodge the polycarbonate panels.
ArmorPlast™ AP25 is a containment-grade (non-ballistic) polycarbonate glazing shield, ideal for retail stores and other high-security commercial facilities.
Though penetrable by bullets, the glazing shields won’t depreciate in strength, crack, shatter, or get dislodged, even after multiple high-force impacts or ballistic impacts. It’s perfect for burglary and smash-and-grab protection.
While containment-grade, forced entry-resistant security glazing, such as ArmorPlast® 25, provides enough protection for most commercial storefronts, certain types of businesses may want to consider bullet-resistant security glazing for an even higher level of security.
More specifically, high-risk businesses that are more prone to being the targets of potentially violent robberies or attacks can stand to benefit from implementing ballistic-grade storefront window and door glazing.
Here are a few examples of such businesses:
Bullet-resistant Riot Glass®, such as glass-clad polycarbonate (GCP) Riot Glass, can be implemented to protect employees from harm during armed robberies or violent attacks, while still providing virtually unbreakable forced entry protection to mitigate burglary, smash-and-grab theft, and rioting and looting.
Riot Glass can be used to secure businesses’ most vulnerable storefront doors and windows, which criminals are most likely to try and break to gain unauthorized access to a property during an armed robbery or targeted attack.
Although there is no such thing as 100% bulletproof glass or glass-like glazing, bullet-resistant Riot Glass is capable of stopping several rounds from different types of firearms commonly used in armed robberies and attacks.
For example, Riot Glass with a UL 752 level 1 rating can stop three or more rounds fired from a 9mm handgun, one of the guns most frequently used by criminals.
For even higher levels of ballistic protection, Riot Glass is available up to a UL 752 level 8 rating, which means it can stop five or more shots from an AK-47 assault rifle using military-style ammunition.
No matter what level of protection you require for your business, there is a perfect combination of Riot Glass and ArmorPlast products for your goals and budget.
Ideally, you’d want to use containment-grade glazing where the safety and security of employees isn’t a big concern, such as for storefront display windows and in-store display cases, as it’s plenty strong enough to keep the bad guys out.
Then, you might opt for whatever bullet-resistant glazing your budget permits to reinforce cash transaction points, back rooms, and wherever else you want your employees to have a safe refuge from a potentially violent armed robber or attacker.
The best way to determine the perfect combination of retrofit commercial security glazing for your business is to start with a threat assessment, a professional assessment of your property’s existing security system and its weaknesses/vulnerable entry points.
The security expert who conducts such an assessment will make actionable recommendations about how to harden your business’s commercial security system, including about what type of storefront security glazing to use and where to install it.
Of course, your budget will also be taken into consideration to ensure the most cost-effective solution.
Any commercial building’s most vulnerable entry points are its glass doors and windows. That’s why all business owners should take steps to reinforce their commercial storefront doors and windows against forced entry.
Contact us today for more information about how we can help you protect your property from burglary and other threats.