In honor of National Burglary Prevention Month, we will take a closer look at the latest trends, tips, and resources to advance burglary prevention efforts.
As we explored in our recent 2023 Bank Robbery Trends blog, we can anticipate a seasonal uptick in burglary attempts this summer. We gained valuable insight during a panel discussion at the ATMIA conference in New Orleans, in early February: Matt Nollau, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, shed light on how tech-savvy criminals will facilitate a bank robbery by exploring best practices easily found on the internet! He went on to describe how criminals around the world have begun creating their own online criminal communities to share how they have identified and leveraged vulnerabilities in security systems, and even host online tutorials.
It is crucial to keep your assets safe, whether your organization is a bank, credit union, retail establishment, school, government building, commercial enterprise or business. In observance of National Burglary Prevention Month, here are a few of the most important ways to prevent a burglary and minimize the negative outcomes theft on any level can cause.
Burglary Prevention Tips – Physical Security
One of the most effective actions you can take to ward against criminal activities is to bolster your security measures before any nefarious activities begin. By taking inventory of your security profile on a regular basis, you can identify areas for immediate, cost-effective improvement. Some of these actions can become part of your regular routine, such as:
- Keeping landscaping clear and clean, to create an easily scanned environment
- Ensuring exterior lights are in good working order
- Adding light in areas that are less visible or in discrete locations
Other physical security measures require more planning, time and investment. Aspects of physical security include safes and vaults, safe deposit boxes, lockers, bulletproof glass, and hold-up buttons. Fortifying physical security can help prevent and minimize burglaries not only because these measures work, but because when in view, they deter criminal activity in the first place.
Vaults, safes and locks
First off, vaults and safes are a fundamental form of security. These protective devices are often installed prior to building construction, typically with reinforced concrete panels. They are designed to withstand everything from extreme weather conditions, such as fires and earthquakes, to nuclear attack. They are also, therefore, impenetrable in case of intruders. The main difference between vaults and safes is that safes are for cash and small valuable items, and vaults can store safe deposit boxes, larger valuables, and sensitive documents. We recommend the Auditcon 2 Series lock from dormakaba as a best-in-class option for securing safes and vaults in bank and credit union branches. Also, this applies to retail and commercial settings in which safes must store cash and other valuables daily. According to dormakaba, “Auditcon’s security cannot be compromised by outside manipulation and provides unprecedented audit capacity.” dormakaba’s OTC (One Time Code) locks, send an OTC to your mobile device to give you an access code for a lock. It is considered remote entry and a leading innovation and are self-powered on PowerStar® Technology, protecting each unit from power outages. We also offer modular vaults from our partner Hamilton. These vaults can be customized to your branch’s specific needs. In addition, Hamilton’s safes can be customized for different dimensions and types of locks. Implementing vaults and safes in your business can help minimize the amount of damage in the possibility of a burglary.
Safe deposit boxes and lockers
Safe deposit boxes are another form of physical security. Safe deposit boxes are placed inside of safes and vaults, and protect a customers’ valuables, such as jewelry and sensitive documents. Safe deposit boxes are designed to protect against both environmental disasters and criminal activity. The way customers can access their designated safe deposit box is through the use of a customer key, in tandem with a key from the bank or credit union. According to Wittenbach Team Leader and physical security expert Russell Luczak, “a lost customer key will always require a forced entry by a trained technician.” Utilizing a safe deposit box is a great way to protect valuables. In addition, according to Texas Gulf Bank, “a dual key system protects safe deposit boxes. The bank provides you with two keys of your own, and the bank has a ‘guard’ key. Without the combination of one of your keys and the bank’s guard key, the box cannot be opened.” This dual-key system ensures that no one can access the safe deposit box without both a customer copy and the authorization of the bank.
Lockers can protect on site assets against burglary by keeping cash and valuables, similar to a safe or a vault. However, in the case of lockers, they can be designed to fit into the aesthetics of your building. Hamilton offers lockers which can be designed with either electronic locks, combination locks, or time-delay locks. These security lockers can be built in any size, shape, or finish, ideal for an institution with multiple employees with belongings that need to be stored safely and securely.
Bulletproof glass and hold-up buttons
Bulletproof glass can prevent burglaries in the event of a robbery at a bank or credit union. We recommend Hamilton’s Vision Series of bullet-resistant drive-up windows, which are made with maintenance-free stainless steel. The windows can also be combined with Hamilton’s transaction drawers. These “deal drawers” provide for a safe exchange of both documents and cash in drive-thru lanes.
Finally, one of the most useful aspects of physical security are hold-up buttons. Hold-up buttons are used by a branch in case of an emergency. In partnership with DMP, we recommend the wireless 1142 Series of hold-up buttons. This series features extended battery life, works on uncluttered frequencies, and includes a tamper-proof case.
Burglary Prevention Tips – Electronic Security
Another one of Wittenbach’s four foundational pillars is electronic security. Electronic security is helpful in preventing burglaries, especially when utilized in combination with various physical security solutions. Some of the most effective electronic security solutions are intrusion alarms, access control systems, and surveillance. Installing cameras, alarm systems and access control systems can deter a burglary, simply because they are visible to a potential criminal and hence make it more risky and unlikely to allow a successful robbery. In tandem with physical security solutions, burglaries can be prevented altogether, and when in place, minimize the negative impact of crime.
Intrusion alarms are used to detect any unauthorized entry onto your institution’s premises. The alarms notify authorities or designated personnel, and may sound loudly within the building. These alarms may also notify the security company, if they are being monitored. By installing intrusion alarms, you can deter criminal activity and protect assets from burglaries.
Access Control Systems work to restrict access to doors, parking lots, and a variety of other areas in order to prohibit unauthorized access. These new, innovative solutions can allow authorized users to lock and unlock the buildings with a new definition of “keys”. Today, key fobs, digital credentials and even remote codes or biometric credentials, are used more and more in lieu of the traditional hand-held key. Further, these modern technological solutions allow for access control from any location. The DMP Virtual Keypad lets users gain access from a mobile device and keep a record of personnel who have accessed these areas. Restricting access to these areas through the use of an access control system prevents theft and vandalism, and can be useful in the event of a potential burglary.
Surveillance is another aspect of electronic security which can be helpful to prevent burglaries. Cameras are used to monitor and record activity in a specific area, such as parking lots and secured areas. Footage captured by surveillance cameras which have been saved on DVRs and NVRs can also be used in legal proceedings and can be used to identify potential suspects. Implementing surveillance security measures allow institutions to monitor criminal activity, loitering, and employee performance.
At Wittenbach, we believe that working together, we can create a more secure community and commercial services environment. We also strive to empower your business with minimal downtime during security system installation, as well as efficient maintenance practices.
As robbers amp up their techniques, we are here to help you fortify your security. That is why we invite you to explore these trends and enhance your resources. We value the opportunity to work together with our customers to identify efficient and immediate tactics to deter criminals.
Taking stock of your organizations’ collective security measures on a regular basis can help identify areas for immediate, cost-effective improvement. This National Burglary Prevention Month, make a plan to review the security solutions you have in place now. Wittenbach’s trained staff are experts in advising, installing, and maintaining any make or model you choose. Contact Wittenbach for a consultation about any security enhancements you may identify.