Glass fronts on your building make a great visual statement from the parking lot or road, proving their worth by attracting customers with a welcoming and pleasing appearance.
But with those glass fronts come risks. Burglaries of firearms dealers are nothing new, yet the disturbing news is 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 4-year average.
If you dig into any number of past news articles, it doesn’t take long to discover that many of the burglaries are happening where criminals are compromising front doors or large expanses of glass. These criminals sometimes have driven a stolen car through the glass. Other times, they’ve pulled the doors off the frame and in a matter of a few minutes, the burglary crews are in — smashing showcases and hauling away firearms.
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize risk at your business when it comes to glass storefronts, as well as mitigate smash and grab robberies during store hours. Here are five ways.
1. Fortify Your Glass
Several options exist 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. Retailers with exceptional inventory may want to explore having both. An added bonus of these gates beyond going a long way toward 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 events and utilizing 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 www.nssf.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 can be coupled with a dropdown cover after hours. NSSF partnered with Display Solutions of Topeka to offer members special pricing. These can be seen on the members-only side of www.nssf.org.
3. Utilize Fortified Display Cases
Much like a 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 dropdown cover during non-store hours improves your security when your facility is closed.
4. Install Store-Front Bollards
Bollards are poles set in concrete in front of store entrances or large expanses of store-front glass. Customer can walk between bollards with ease, but bollards typically are installed less than a car width apart. The 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 one through three outlined above, it is recommended that your firearms inventory be kept in a secure vault overnight. Likewise, any excess inventory not on display should be 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 to help prevent the theft of your firearms inventory.
There are numerous ways to secure your firearms inventory and thwart the efforts of brazen criminals. 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.
Remember that membership with NSSF comes with many benefits — among them are the discounts available through Affinity Member Benefit vendors. These vendors provide a wide array of products and services designed to meet the needs of today’s firearms industry professionals, and among that list are companies that provide key control, security gate and secure gun cases.
NSSF members also have access to an insurance company that specializes in providing coverage for those in the our industry. To learn more or to join NSSF, visit www.nssf.org. Are you already a Retail Member? Contact Patrick Shay at firstname.lastname@example.org.