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Good, Better, Best: 3 Ways To Ensure Your Commercial Property's Security


Amid increasing concern over leaving commercial properties unprotected, property owners are going to greater lengths to prioritize and improve the physical safety of their occupied buildings. Choices include security window film, containment-grade glass and ballistic glass, some of which is up to 250 times stronger than regular glass.

All three options are scalable based on security and budget requirements. The goal is simple — to give occupants the most time possible to escape or call the authorities during a break-in.

The Good: 3M Window Film

During a break-in, every minute counts. Windows reinforced with a film are harder to break through than regular tempered or annealed windows, and typically take from one to two minutes to fully smash through. Clients on a lower budget or looking to outfit residential properties may opt for a more wallet-friendly security window film to deter home burglars or intruders. Even without layered protection or bulletproof capabilities, that precious minute may be all it takes to escape or give authorities extra time to arrive.

The Better: Interlayered Glass

This material is glass built with a thick Thermoplastic interlayer. A tough proprietary interlayer differentiates this glass from regular windows and window film and is up to five times stronger and 100 times stiffer than regular laminated glass. As with normal windows, interlayered material can withstand scrapes and adhesive posts without permanent markings, but unlike average panes of glass, they can take four or five minutes to break past with a heavy steel hammer.

Windows with Thermoplastic can also be retrofitted to most existing windows.

“While our Riot Glass’ Thermoplastic will not stop a pistol or rifle round, it can buy you several minutes,” Campbell Window Film president and founder Brad Campbell said. “‘Run, hide, fight’ is the protocol most buildings follow in break-in situations. You need time to hide or vacate the building and alert the police. Fighting is the last resort and one we wish to help clients avoid at all costs. That’s what interlayered glass does for you. It keeps the bad guy outside.”

The Best: Ballistic Glass

For higher-profile clients or properties storing valuable items or sensitive information, such as banks, large urban jewelry stores or federal buildings, retrofitted ballistic window protection may be the best option. Ballistic retrofits significantly reduce a property’s susceptibility to an active shooter, as ballistic glass can actually stop a would-be intruder’s bullets, as well as offer containment-grade forced entry protection that prevents intruders from getting into the building even after having shot at the glass. This type of glass is less expensive than a complete reglazing and reframing, covering the vulnerable center of the window to lower the chances of a successful break-in and to protect against shots fired into the building from outside. 

These protections are adaptable to both windows and frameless glass doors, and are built with the added benefit of abrasion resistance and protective ultraviolet coatings. As clients are varied in their individual security requirements, glazers who provide ballistic protection offer several levels of protection. Many, such as Campbell Window Film’s Armorplast product, offer as many as eight UL rated levels.

“Even if the shooter stands a few feet away and shoots directly at the window or door, there’s a very good chance the bullets won’t go through if the system is rated for the caliber of ammunition being used,” Campbell said.


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