April 14, 2016
Five Security Tips for Glass-Front Retailers
Glass fronts on your building make a great visual statement from the parking lot or road and can prove their worth by drawing in customers with their welcoming and pleasing appearance. But with those glass fronts come risk. Burglaries of firearms dealers are nothing new, but the disturbing news is that they appear to be on the increase. In reviewing statistics provided by the annual ATF FFL Firearms Thefts/Losses Report, the numbers reveal that risk and loss have increased for burglary and robbery over the past year and compared to a four-year average.
If you dig into any number of past news articles, you will find that many of the burglaries are happening by criminals compromising front doors or large expanses of glass. Sometimes these criminals drive a stolen car through the glass, other times they pull the doors off the frame. In a matter of a just a very few minutes, the burglary crews are in smashing showcases and getting away with a cache of firearms.
In this article, we will explore five things you can do to minimize risk at your business when it comes to glass storefronts, as well as mitigate smash and grab robberies during store hours. Let’s get started.
1. Fortify Your Glass
There are several options to look at when considering this, including window film applied to both sides of the glass. Window film reduces the ability for a criminal to smash the glass and enter the store. It can also be used on glass display cases, as it does not provide a visual deterrent to customers.
Window film may not be enough for store-front glass and doors. For these areas, coiling doors and grilles or gates that roll down during non-business hours can provide an excellent deterrent. These can be installed on both the exterior or inside the store, and retailers with exceptional inventory may want to explore having both. An added bonus of these gates beyond going a long way towards preventing access to your store’s interior is that, if you choose solid gates instead of perforated, they are also a visual deterrent. Gates can also provide additional benefits during weather-related events such as tornados or hurricanes, and they utilize these protections might reduce your insurance liability.
The NSSF has partnered with Cornell Storefront Systems to provide special pricing to members on various gate systems. To learn about your discount, log in to the members-only side of nsss.org.
2. Secure Your Long Guns
Securing your long guns during business hours can lessen the likelihood of a grab and run when the store is open. Such a security system coupled with a drop-down cover after hours can go a long way toward thwarting a theft after a break-in. NSSF partner with Display Solutions of Topeka to offer members special pricing, which can be seen on the members-only side of nssf.org.
3. Utilize Fortified Display Cases
Much like long-gun security cases, reinforced, high-security display cases can help prevent a smash-and-grab attempt from succeeding during open store hours. Pairing such cases with a drop-down cover during non-store hours improves your security when your facility is closed.
4. Install Store-Front Bollards
Bollards are poles, usually of extremely durable, hard-to-destroy materials, that are set in concrete in front of store entrances or large expanses of store-front glass. Customers can walk between bollards with ease, but bollards are typically installed less than a car width apart as their intention is to reduce the chance of a vehicle being driven through the glass. In some cases, businesses use large decorative rocks or boulders to accomplish the same effect.
5. Vault Storage Should be a Consideration
Unless you have other means of thoroughly securing your firearms on the sales floor by the methods outlined above (1-3), it is recommended that your firearms inventory be kept in a secure vault overnight. Likewise, any excess inventory not on display should be likewise secured. Many retailers resist doing this, citing potential damage to their firearms from excess handling and transporting on and off the sales floor, and this security measure does require dedicated time and labor. Each retailer has to determine the best use of their labor dollars, but if smash-and-grab is a problem in your area, this may be an extra step you can employ to prevent the theft of your firearms inventory.
There are numerous ways to secure your firearms inventory and thwart the efforts of brazen criminals during store hours and after. Those outlined here are just some of the many available, and they should be paired with an alarm, key and access systems appropriate to your business size, inventory value and security budget. Remember, it’s your responsibility as an FFL to do everything you can to prevent firearms from falling into the wrong hands.
Take the FFL Security Risk Self-Assessment
Is your store at risk of a break-in or burglary? Submit your information and download the FREE FFL Risk and Security Self-Assessment Tool to get started. This tool will help any FFL identify and quantify vulnerabilities and risks associated with the business of firearms commerce and industry-related operations as a whole. Visit OperationSecureStore.org for more information and resources.