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As Total Security Solutions vice president Jim Richards explains, “In the past, pawn shops were very much mom-and-pop businesses. That industry has developed quite a bit in the last several years, but there’s still this stereotype of a small operation in a cluttered little shop. They aren’t necessarily very highly regarded, and they end up being under-served when it comes to bulletproof security.”
And it’s true: On the one hand, law enforcement and urban planners often treat pawn shops as though they encourage crime. On the other hand, because they deal in cash and valuable goods—from electronics and jewelry to firearms—pawn shops themselves are tempting targets for armed robbers. A well-designed ballistic barrier can both deter crime and raise a pawn shop’s status in the community.
A Custom Bulletproof Solution for Your Business
A quick YouTube search for “pawn shop robberies” can be pretty terrifying. The scariest part is how often these shops have basic bulletproof glass systems in place—but those systems totally fail to protect them. Here’s a prime example:
Notice how this large, rambling shop has a bulletproof system, but that system only protects the cashier. The sales staff had no chance of making it behind that barrier. The door into the protected area doesn’t appear to be properly reinforced—or even locked.
A good ballistic barrier is designed around your business. It keeps workers protected, yet stays out of their way so that they aren’t tempted to compromise security for convenience. A really good bulletproof system will be attractive, bright and inviting. It appears open and airy, even though it makes your shop into a fortress.
A Typical Pawn Shop Bulletproof Glass System
In a retail setting like a pawn shop, the best ballistic barriers are primarily made of monolithic acrylic, with natural voice communication—through baffled windows or the speak-hole-and-backer system shown below—rather than crackling intercoms. This maximizes visibility and customer contact.
The system shown here has showcases reinforced with bullet resistant glass and framing, large deal trays, and roomy passers. In a high-risk area, a pawn shop with such a set-up can operate almost entirely free of risk to staff.
Jim points out, “These systems don’t come cheap, but you have to look at that investment long term, what it’s going to do for you, how it’s going to look, and how it will enhance the way you present yourselves.” As pawn shops gain broader acceptance—because of both popular reality shows and the ongoing credit crunch—shops with a reputation for being an attractive and safe place to do business will likely go much farther than the old mom-and-pop pawn shops.
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