Retail stores rely on street exposure using their windows as displays and inviting doors to entice their customers to enter. Smaller street-level retail stores will generally have a single or double glass aluminum style door while a larger retailer may have one or two sets of swing doors. Many are even opting for bi-parting sliding glass aluminum doors; physiologically they are intended to be more inviting, welcoming and convenient for the customer.
Doors are the means of entering and exiting a building, and as we hear often they are also the most common point of entry during a smash and grab style robbery.
Even though most doors are penetrated by throwing an object through the tempered glass, better equipped and maybe more experienced (or not) criminals will use pry bars. Pry bars or any other similar addition force is used when the doors are secured with security bars mounted to the doors themselves.
Most doors today, regardless if swinging or sliding, are aluminum construction with tempered glass. Swinging doors use a paddle style locking mechanism and sling doors use a hook latch style locking mechanism.
Using quality hardware will help with longevity and less maintenance on the hardware, but will not increase the security of an aluminum framed door. The paddle style lock in aluminum swinging doors engage into the receiver aluminum frame, the force of a pry bar will shear the aluminum frame. Sliding doors using a hook style locking mechanism lock into the opposing frame or door. Most often sliding doors have a slight space between them making easy use of a pry bar. Door locks can be protected with steel bolted on shields/ guards or even a full length astragal to help protect the locks or limit the space available to pry the doors.
Often, the door itself and the quality of the hardware is not the big problem. At the end of the day where there is glass there is a weakness as well.
Protecting the glass with bolted on bars does help show a burglar you have the glass protected, but remember your customers see this as well, coming into and leaving your store. Using a security laminate on storefront doors is an invisible means of protecting the glass, if properly installed it can help slow down a smash and grab break in.
So what kind of security measures can you take?
- Bars on doors are visual – also very noticeable by customers.
- Window film is invisible – also not visible to burglar.
- Hardware protection plates help strengthen the area around the lock – does not protect the glass.
- Full length astragal can help deter prying – does not protect the glass.
- Steel bollards help prevent drive through – does not protect the doors with other attempts.
- Video surveillance system might capture clues for arrest – does not protect the doors, stop or delay entry.
- Alarm System notifies monitoring station that security has been breached – does not stop or delay entry.
The best security solutions to protect your storefront doors is by layering your security, alarms and video surveillance are as important as protecting a deterring access into your store. Using a second layer of defense mounted inside of the store will help you to visually show burglars you have security, often this is enough to deter the opportunistic criminal, while providing you both peace of mind without offending your customers.
Three commonly used security products.
- Fold away scissor style security gates.
- Top track mounted sliding security curtains.
- Roll down security shutters/grilles.
Once you have considered securing the weakest point, you must consider the second weakest point, that being any glass. The above three mentioned security products are excellent choices to protecting all your windows and doors.
Looking for more ways to improve the security of your facility? Use the button below to download our eGuide, 10 Critical Points for Securing your Shop, your Employees, and your Goods against crimes of opportunity.