Business break-ins are on the rise. Even worse, many burglars re-target a business they have already stolen from, and most burglaries do not result in arrest. Stolen goods seldom find their way back to their rightful owners. The best solution to break-ins at businesses is prevention, and security gates are one of several effective measures for reducing burglary and theft at business locations.
Basic Security Measures for Businesses
The most basic security measures for protecting any business from theft are strong locks and doors, control of keys, alarm systems, lighting, and a secure safe. Security gates are metal doors or grates used for protection over windows and doors, to control entrance into driveways, parking areas, and loading docks, and to secure backdoors, allies, roof-top entrances, as well as rooms and areas inside buildings. Effective use of security gates deters burglars by making it harder for them to break and enter, and harder for them to get out of the building, if they get in. Security gates in driveways, parking lots, and loading dock areas create an extra obstacle for thieves hoping to carry off large goods by backing a car or truck up close to the building.
1. Folding Security Gates for Storefront Windows
Retractable, scissor-style folding gates are made for use on storefront windows to protect against glass breakage when the business is closed. The gates are easily opened during business hours, creating a more appealing storefront look for the business and neighborhood. Storefront window gates are available in a range of colors beyond grey and black, different mechanical designs, and a range of patterns.
2. Fixed Gates Protect Doors
Fixed security gates are used as additional protection over regular doors and as free-standing doors, usually in outdoor locations. Fixed security gates are made with ridged metal frames, often about ¾ of an inch wide and using 14 gauge steel. Over the frame, a solid or grated panel is attached with spot welds or steel rivets. Standard sizes range from 24 inches wide for small entrance gates up to 16 feet wide on gates used on garage and driveway entrances. Standard heights are available from 60 inches up to 10 feet on custom orders. Larger fixed-frame security gates are made with heavier gauge metal or steel pipe frames.
3. Folding Gates for Protection, Ventilation, and Visibility
Folding security gates fold up like an accordion. They are also known as scissor-style security gates. Besides the retractable models used to protect storefront windows, folding security gates are often used on back entrances and loading docks. These kinds of gates have the advantage of allowing for ventilation and visibility through the gate, while it is closed and locked. This lets workers inside see out and have access to light and air and is especially useful in kitchens, warehouses, and storage rooms.
4. Portable Security Gates Secure Indoor Areas
Lighter framed, portable security gates are also available for temporary security in outdoor and indoor locations. Portable gates are useful for controlling foot traffic during business hours to prevent unauthorized entry into areas inside a business. Portability allows you to easily remove the gate entirely, if needed. Some models of portable security gate come with castors for easy transport. Others have metal anchors at the base for semi-permanent installation.
5. Driveway Security Gates Protect Your Perimeter
Security gates and fences around the perimeter, parking lot, or rear entrance of a business can deter break-ins by making it harder for thieves to load stolen goods into a getaway car or truck. Fences and gates are also a good location for security cameras and alarms.
Driveway security gates installed with wireless opening devices let you give codes to employees and delivery people and keep unauthorized people out. Sophisticated electronic openers use random coding on opener frequencies, making it virtually impossible for anyone to open the gate with another opener.
Locking Security Gates and Doors
Locks on business doors should always be commercial grade and high-quality. Screws holding latch plates should be three inches in length, and metal reinforcement plates installed on the inside of the door behind the bolts provides extra protection against kicking-in. Deadbolts with a bolt throw of at least one inch should be installed on all doors and windows. Deadbolts should be keyed on both sides. Double doors need an additional upper and lower throw bolt with one inch throw, attaching the two doors together when closed. Security gates are often locked with padlocks, although it is also possible to have a lockset and handle installed on many models.
For gates and grates covering display windows at the front of a business, keying the security gate and the front door to the same key makes opening and closing the business easier. When padlocks are used, disc and shrouded locks are more secure than laminate padlocks. A shackle of 9/16 inch (10 mm) or more makes it hard for someone to cut through the shackle with an ordinary bolt cutter. The receiving hasp on a padlock latch should be installed with carriage bolts or welded so it cannot be removed with a wrench.
When security gates open with a knob or handle on the inside, it may be necessary to install a shield over the mechanism, so someone cannot reach around or over to open the door. Having high-quality locks or padlocks on doors and security gates is essential. Good locks require more force for entry. Besides being a deterrent for many burglars, the force required to break through a strong lock can be important evidence for supporting an insurance claim in the event of a burglary. To prevent picking, locks should have a minimum of five pins, and seven is optimal. An additional double-keyed deadbolt and door-jambs reinforced with metal plates on the inside of the door prevent the door from easily being kicked in. Double-key deadbolts also make it harder for thieves to get out of a building if they come in through a window.
Keeping track of all keys for security gates, doors, and windows is another important way of preventing break-ins. Talk to employees about keeping keys safe at all times, only give out keys each person actually must have, and keep a written record of everyone who has a key. Have the locks rekeyed if an employee fails to return a key when leaving, or if you suspect a key may have fallen into the wrong hands. Keep master keys in your safe and unavailable to everyone except business partners. Having all locks keyed alike is not advisable. Separate keys for outdoor and indoor locks and important storerooms is a safer security strategy. Color coding keys in place of written tags makes it harder for an unauthorized person to use the keys.
A good alarm system is another important step for preventing business break-ins. Central-station systems are the most effective, because they silently signal law enforcement or the security company, but not the burglar. Installing a system like this can reduce your insurance premiums for burglary. A local alarm or siren sounding at the business location is the next best alarm. These systems are less expensive than central-station systems and are usually simple to install. They can be a strong deterrent, if the alarm is likely to get the attention and response of people in the area, but these kinds of alarms can be disabled by burglars with a little skill. Alarms can be triggered by several different sensing switches including motion detectors, photo beams, vibration, and sound. Automatic phoning equipment is available as an optional feature. It dials law enforcement if the system is triggered and relays a pre-recorded message indicating a crime is in progress.
Good lighting outside and inside the business is another important way of avoiding a break-in. Most burglaries happen at night, and there is good reason. Motion sensitive lights outside doors and windows make staying invisible impossible for would-be burglars. Metallic vapor lights and mercury lamps are built to survive bad weather and vandalism. They are a good lighting type for use outside garage doors, in alley-ways, and near back entrances. Motion sensitive or constant lighting inside a business with windows gives police and others an easy view of anyone who has broken in.
A well-built safe is one solution for protecting cash inside a business. Law enforcement organizations recommend placing business safes where they can be seen, so burglaries in progress can be more easily spotted by police patrols. Depositing cash into the bank at the end of each business day is a more secure way of keeping money safe. Leaving cash drawers open and empty on registers sends a signal to many thieves that it is not worth the effort of breaking-in.
Looking to install a security gate for your New York based business? Get in touch with New York Gates at 718-614-0616.