BULLET PROOF TELLER WINDOWS
The teller window is the linchpin to any bank or credit union security system. It’s trivial to make a wall bullet proof, and not much more difficult to add a solid-core steel door with a ballistic acrylic peep-hole. But commerce isn’t about walls and locks; transactions hinge on openness: Tellers and clients need to be able to speak with each other and exchange papers unhindered. The teller window is the point in a security system where we balance our need to lockdown security, and the realities of being open for business.
TELLER WINDOW ANATOMY
A standard teller window consists of a bullet resistant window, a voice-transmission system, and a deal tray. The bullet resistant window can be crafted from a variety of thicknesses of monolithic acrylic, laminated polycarbonate, or glass-clad polycarbonate, depending on the bullet-stopping power the teller needs. These are framed and held in place by a bullet resistant steel or ballistic aluminum frame. Since an inch or more of plastic muffles voices, a “speak hole” is cut in the window, and backed with a second piece of ballistic glass. A welded stainless steel deal tray makes it possible for tellers and clients to safely exchange cash, documents, and paperwork.Simple teller windows are available as affordable drop-in prefabricated units. These ship as a single piece and can be installed by any competent carpenter. Custom teller windows can be designed and fabricated for any facility.
TELLER WINDOW UPGRADES
There are many ways to upgrade a basic system: Teller windows can be enlarged, and the deal tray can be replaced or augmented with a pass-thru drawer or package passer capable of handling large envelopes, currency bags, safety deposit boxes, or other parcels. While an acrylic-backed talk-thru system allows for easy, natural conversation, some environments are better served by perforated steel grates, or even an amplified bullet-resistant intercom system. Finally, some locations have high-traffic periods, during which maintaining a swift flow of clients trumps bullet proof security. These institutions might prefer to install a teller window with sliding glass: During peak hours clients can quickly and easily chat with tellers and pass documents through the open window. As the flow wanes after hours, tellers can lock down the system for added safety.
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Because most banks have similar needs—a secured teller line with bullet resistant windows, secured ballistic doors, and bulletproof fiberglass to reinforce counters—many security companies try and push a one-size-fits-all solution. With decades of experience designing, engineering, fabricating, and installing custom bandit barriers in banks and credit unions, Total Security Solutions knows how rarely this turns
Even though the 2015 increase in bank robberies was modest (a 3.5% bump) and the use of guns in bank robberies has continued to decline (only about 20% of all bank robberies now include a firearm), bank robberies are becoming increasingly traumatic: Fewer bank robbers came in armed, but those that did so often executed fast, violent armed takeover-style robberies, walking away with much more loot.
In a given year, Texas alone sees roughly as many bank branches, check cashers, and short-term loan businesses robbed as Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee combined. Year after year, Texas is second only to California in annual bank robberies.
Financial service businesses are often relieved to discover that a bandit barrier need not be as large an investment as they suspected. In part, many banks initially overestimate what their barrier will cost because they spec out “too much barrier” for their needs. As we’ve mentioned in the past, it is almost certainly the case that you don’t need to worry about stopping an AK-47. For most banking customers, a Level 1 or 2 system (which stops many bullets fired from a wide range of common handguns) will be more than sufficient.