Armed robberies increasingly target small businesses because they do not have features like bulletproof barriers.

Armed Robberies are Up Nationwide–and Targeting Small Business

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Armed robberies increasingly target small businesses because they do not have features like bulletproof barriers. The good news: Over the past decade both property crime and violent crime have markedly decreased overall across the U.S. While violent crime did rise slightly in 2015 (the latest year for which the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program has released final numbers), that increase was very small—just 3.9 percent.

The bad news: Robberies increased in 2015, reversing a seven-year downward trend. That year robberies accounted for 27 percent of the violent crime in the United States. Guns were used in roughly half of these incidents.

The worst news: Armed robberies increasingly target small businesses.

It’s time to take a deeper look at small business security and what you can do to protect yourself.bulletproof glass bullet resistant barriers

More Businesses Install Bullet Resistant Security, While Criminals Seek Opportunity

According to the FBI’s 2015 report on crime in the United States, robbery rose just 2 percent overall. This reflected small drops in bank robberies, muggings, and other street robberies, and a 20 percent jump in robberies targeting small businesses (including convenience stores, service stations, supermarkets, jewelers, cell phone stores, and mom-and-pop businesses seeking to serve a specific need in their communities).

This trend hit metropolitan areas and urbanized suburbs particularly hard. In those places robbery rates rose even as they continued to sink in rural areas. Other changes in crime rates were the same in all three locales. For example, violent crimes like murder and aggravated assault were up a little across the board, while property crimes—including burglary—were down.

“It’s not a great trend,” notes Total Security Solutions CEO Jim Richards. “But it fits with what we understand: Robbery is an economically driven crime, one of opportunity. The denser the population, the greater the number of opportunities. The places traditionally targeted for armed robbery—banks, check cashers, gas stations located where there’s a quick getaway—have adopted bullet resistant barrier systems at a high rate. In some places, like Detroit, these stereotypical targets all installed barriers ages ago. So thieves are fanning out, aiming for the softest targets, even though the cash haul is minuscule compared to a bank.”

Three Myths About Bullet Resistant Security

TSS has found that there are three persistent myths about bullet resistant barriers. These common misconceptions often prevent small businesses from exploring their options:

  1. high cost
  2. poor communication
  3. you need to worry about crazies waiving assault rifles

Cost. Small businesses tend to have unique floor plans, and often need a custom bullet proof barrier. Sadly, many business owners assume that a custom bullet proof barrier is always the most expensive option. Not true! Because custom systems are built to meet a specific set of security and business needs, they are exactly the size and complexity the situation calls for. TSS has ample experience designing, engineering, fabricating, and installing systems that fit your space, your business, and your budget.

Communication.  Most people are familiar with decades-old cobbled-together bulletproof solutions.  Example: A bus terminal ticket window in a 1970s cop movie. As a result, they think of bullet proof barriers as being dingy and muffling all sound. Companies like TSS craft modern barrier systems using flame-polished acrylic. Engineered to allow natural voice transmission and air-flow all around the window perimeter, these systems are bright and sharp, with crystal-clear sound.

Right-sized and rugged. People unnecessarily worry that they must be prepared for any and all possible hand-canons. This is not the case. Very few bullet resistant systems ever get shot. Consider this recent news item from Ohio. The presence of the system itself sent would-be robbers packing before they even pulled out their gun.

But just in case, TSS designs and crafts extremely rugged components. Take for example their standard bullet resistant doors—”only” rated to stop a few shots from a handgun. Now watch it take over 100 hundred bullets, including rounds from assault rifles:

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