We’ve talked a lot about the concept of opportunistic crime on this blog. This refers to break-ins and robberies that take place because the target is unprotected, low-hanging fruit. They’re mostly random crime that occurs “just because it was there.” This isn’t something you have to worry about if you own a cannabis dispensary or grow facility; you need to worry about a determined intruder, and security doors should be at the forefront of your planning. After all, the intruder will probably try to enter through one of your doors.
Robberies of cannabis dispensaries and production facilities are not random. Any cash-only business that also sells a valuable commodity is going to be a prime target. This is how the threat profile for the cannabis industry differs from the average business.
A forced-entry resistant door can turn your storefront from a point of entry into a line of defense. Shield doors are equally well-suited for front doors as they are for cash rooms, product storage, and product waste rooms. These are designed with determined intruders in mind, and perfect for an at-risk business.
In addition to reinforcing the building itself, security doors are a great way to improve internal security. One of the less discussed threats to dispensaries is internal theft. Since our doors are easily integrated into an existing security system, they’re the perfect way to beef up your access control procedures for your dispensary or grow house. This ensures that only the right people have access to cash or crops at the right times.
An average security plan doesn’t call for anything close to this. It will probably involve monitoring devices such as security cameras and alarm systems. Those are great as part of a comprehensive security plan, but on their own they won’t do any good unless monitored by a human in real time. But even a monitored feed won’t stop a determined intruder. Monitoring devices might suffice for a clothing store, but cannabis facilities have to go beyond surveillance and invest in actual target hardening.
The bottom line is that any facility with significant cash or cannabis should be a hard target, and security doors are one of the most effective ways of hardening a site.
If you’re looking to fortify your cannabis facility, feel free to get in touch, or stop by our booth at MJ Biz Con in Las Vegas from November 14th to 16th.
Shield doors typically don’t require much upkeep, but you should be aware of some basic maintenance and troubleshooting tips. This article will serve as a guide to keeping your doors looking good and operating like new. If you encounter an issue that can’t be resolved with the information in this blog, see the Shield Maintenance Catalog or our Troubleshooting Guide, both of which are linked at the end of this article.
We recommend cleaning metal hardware (handles, defenders, hinges and covers) as well as wood skins with a damp cloth. Avoid using chemical cleaners, which can cause damage. Abrasive cleaning tools like Brillo pads and steel wool should not be used.
Moving parts such as keys, hinges, cylinders, defenders, door closers, and bolts should be kept clean to ensure proper functioning. Debris buildup is one of the most common causes of malfunction and you should regularly inspect the door for dirt accumulation.
Keeping parts clean also includes avoiding unnecessary contact with liquids. If your key or other component gets wet, dry it thoroughly before using again.
Lubrication and Adjustments
Some problems might arise from daily use, but these are easy to resolve. For example:
1. Use a 3mm Allen wrench to remove the set screw on the side of the hinge
2. Use a 6mm Allen wrench to extend the hinge pin using the hole on the bottom of the hinge.
3. Return set screw to original position.
4. Repeat this process for ALL hinges.
Lock cylinders and cylinder defenders must be kept clean at all times. This means when the environment around the door becomes dusty or dirty (for example during construction), the cylinder and defender should be sealed with tape.
Other than that, locks and associated parts are pretty low maintenance. The one exception, which is not really part of the lock itself, is that the transfer hinge should be examined once per year for any damage to the wiring.
If you are experiencing programming issues with an X1R or X1R Smart, please consult our programming guides.
Shield Maintenance Catalog
We’re often asked: “If your doors and windows are so strong, why don’t people go through the walls?” It’s a valid question because a home is only as secure as its weakest link. But what the question misses is that going through walls is a highly unusual scenario in opportunistic crime. If someone’s tearing down walls to get to you or your belongings, you’re a high-risk individual who should consider reinforcing walls. For 99% of us, this is not the case.
With many of our clients, the threat scenario is to protect against opportunistic crime. To achieve this, you need to deny the would-be criminal of their opportunity. Ordinary doors, non-security glass, and unlocked doors are the easiest points of entry for an opportunistic criminal and a Shield door or window eliminates the opportunity. The average burglar will jiggle the knob, give it a few kicks, or try to smash a window before moving on to the neighbor’s house. Defeating opportunistic crime does not require reinforced walls.
However, reinforcing your walls can have other benefits. There are multiple ways to reinforce walls to complement our doors. Some are a probably excessive for the average homeowner but others are more routine and could make a difference.
Framing the Opening
The most common wall reinforcement you might need is to double or triple up on the king studs or jacks. For openings framed in wood, Shield strongly recommends these modifications in order to better support the weight of the door and frame. The wall should have at least 4” of studs to accept the 4” lag bolts. When adding jack studs, be aware of reducing the rough opening for the door frame.
Clients also ask if the doors are secure in a wood framed opening, and the answer is ABSOLUTELY! So much so that when we conduct US State Department forced entry testing at the NTS Chesapeake laboratory, we do so in wood sub-frames to simulate what it would be like if the door were installed in a wood framed opening.
This is more on the heavy-duty side of things. If you live in an area with high winds or severe weather, reinforced concrete walls are a good addition to your security project. These are also commonly used for high-threat scenarios or detailed security requirements, such as government buildings or critical infrastructure.
Ballistic Wall Panels
Even if you don’t expect your walls to come under attack, installing fiberglass ballistic panels will prevent a stray round from penetrating a wall, or give extra peace of mind when constructing a safe room or surrounding your front entryway. Ballistic panels can stop anything from a 9mm round to a 7.62 from an AR-15. This is a cheaper, more discrete way to up your security without the weight of metal or concrete.
When you think of security windows, you probably imagine something like this. Sure, that’s a way to secure a window, but it’s not a security window. It’s a crude, ugly, way to take a regular window and make it more resistant to forced entry. It’s decently safe, but it is not pretty to look at. At Shield we don’t think you should have to choose between security and design, and we’re committed to changing the perception of what a security window can be.
Shield Security windows, like our doors, can look like just about anything. They’re designed to complement our doors, keeping with the theme of discreet security and an aesthetically pleasing construction. We offer four styles of windows:
Beyond the options for the window style, our glass itself is also custom. Not only are there many design options to frost or etch the glass, but we offer several different security options:
Over the last year, we covered a range of suggestions for achieving and improving the state of your home security. Whichever products or techniques you choose to utilize, you should take a look through this basic checklist annually to assess the effectiveness of your security plan:
1. Are you using all of your resources?
All too often, people don’t lock their doors, don’t replace smoke alarm batteries, or fail to replace broken locks. Even worse, some people buy security products and never get in the habit of using them at all. If you have it, you should be using it. Make sure all elements of your security plan are engaged and well maintained.
2. Is your security plan multi-faceted?
Security plans that rely on one feature or product can be easily beaten. Have multiple layers of security to protect your home in case one fails.
3. Does your home look occupied at all times?
An occupied home is a less attractive target for burglary than an unoccupied home. Your home should appear occupied during the day, night, and any time you are away. This could be as simple as some outdoor lighting or it might mean leaving a car out of the garage while you are at work. Make sure your routine has no lapses in the home appearing occupied.
4. Are your exits unobstructed?
There may come a time where your security plan fails and you need to evacuate. An evacuation scenario is not the time you want to realize that your back door is blocked by boxes or debris. Make sure that none of your exits have been neglected from underuse.
5. Test your plan.
Try to break in. We don’t mean throw a brick through the window or kick in your door, but try to get in without forced entry. Look for hiding spots on the property, test your windows and doors, try to find a way onto the roof, etc. Try to find a way around all of the security measures that your plan includes. If you as a homeowner (and not a professional cat burglar) can find any weak links, then the professional would be way ahead of you.
A fire rated door (aka fire door) is designed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke throughout a building by containing it within one area. They are particularly important in large buildings or ships, where they will limit a fire to one compartment, preventing the whole structure from burning. Typically, fire rated doors are constructed out of hollow metal since there’s no insulation or material to burn, and the metal requires an extremely great temperature to melt. The most common rating for a fire rated door is 90 minutes, although 120 and 180 minute doors also exist.
Fire testing a door involves exposing a door to a furnace in a laboratory setting and measuring how long it takes for the fire to spread. A number of facilities currently perform fire testing, including Underwriters Laboratories where Shield doors are tested. Temperature is gradually increased in the furnace over standard intervals until the time limit is reached or the door fails. Some tests also involve positive pressure, pushing the door away from the furnace to increase likelihood of failure. The inspectors will look for flaming, smoking, movement, or other indications that the door has been breached by fire.
After 90 minutes of exposure to the furnace at a temperature exceeding 1000°F, a hose test is conducted to rapidly cool the doors and determine if they deflect in any way that compromises their performance. The hose test is a critical part of the overall fire test. Fail the hose test and you fail everything.
Fire rated doors are common, but custom-designed, forced-entry resistant, fire rated doors are not. At Shield, our fire-rated door is a variant of our Fortress Series door that carries a UL 10C 90 minute fire rating. This means it can contain a fore for up to 90 minutes. More than enough time to escape a burning building. The “Fire Fortress” is uniquely suited for high threat locations that also need the reassurance of a fire rating on their doors. Schools, government installations, and large offices need to be prepared for a variety of threats. An aesthetically pleasing product that counters multiple threats at the same time is the ideal solution.
With Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Ophelia fresh in our minds, disaster home security is a timely topic. The now infamous looting during Hurricane Katrina should be enough to convince any homeowner to secure their property in the event of a storm or other natural disaster. You don’t have to go full scale prepper, but you should take some basic steps to keep your property safe during a disaster event.
Seal Your Basement
Floods are some of the costliest natural disasters, and the lowest point in the house will flood first. Sealing your basement walls with waterproof compounds such as silicate-based concrete sealers or acrylic waterproof paint can buy you significant time and keep your home habitable.
Do Some Landscaping
In storms and high winds, trees can fall and damage your house. During wildfires, they can become fuel for the fire. In both cases, they shouldn’t be too close to your house. Take some time to assess your property and remove any hazardous trees and shrubbery.
Batten Down the Hatches
If you live in a hurricane-prone area, hurricane shutters are a must. You may also choose to replace your windows with ballistic or impact-resistant glass, which will prove helpful during wind storms and tornadoes. For extremely high-risk areas, a saferoom might be advisable.
Leave a Light On
There’s a good chance that you’ll have to evacuate your home. If you do, you don’t want looters to know you’re gone. The power may not stay on for long, but even a day or two of your home appearing occupied will help. Additionally, you might not be among the first people to return to your neighborhood post-disaster. When the power comes back on, your house will be lit and appear occupied.
Draw the Blinds
Even if your light is on, some unsavory characters might still explore your property. Make sure that your blinds or curtains are drawn closed so that no valuable items are visible through windows.
These tips are mostly designed for home security. They may keep you physically safe as well, but at a certain point a natural disaster may force you to leave. Mandatory evacuation zones are mandatory for a reason. Your life and your family are always worth more than the value of your home.
You may have heard the term “risk assessment” before. In the security industry, it seems like everyone is performing, designing, or at least talking about risk assessments. With the amount of information out there, it’s important to understand what a risk assessment is, why it matters, and how to do one. This post is designed to serve as a guide for creating a simple risk assessment, good for a homeowner, business, or other low to medium-level threat scenarios. By the end of this article, you should have a solid foundation to be able to assess and prevent you most likely and most destructive threat scenarios.
What Is a Risk Assessment?
A risk assessment is a process used to determine threats to security and how to protect against them. Sometimes it’s simple brainstorming, but often it becomes a deliberative process that includes threat assessments, vulnerability assessments, and a number of other steps. We’ve boiled it down to four steps: Pre-Threat Assessment, Prioritizing and Planning, Contingencies, and Evaluation.
The first step in your risk assessment is to consider all likely threats. Notice I didn’t say all possible threats. Is it possible that a heist team will blow your door off its hinges with C4, ransack your house, and escape by helicopter? Sure, but it is far from likely. You have to honestly assess the factors that play into this. Do you live in a high crime area? Are you a person of interest, celebrity, or some other attractive target? Have you been the victim of a crime before? Be honest with yourself but leave no stone unturned. We spoke with security expert Tim Wenzel to learn about his approach to threat assessments. He recommends the following steps when determining your unique threats:
For most homeowners, you’ll find burglary, armed robbery, home invasion, or some other variant of these crimes. Maybe an arson or two. Regardless of what your likely threat is, spend some time brainstorming and come up with the top 3 threats that you hope to guard against. Once you’ve settled on your top 3, rank them in order of how much damage they would cause. “Damage” isn’t limited to physical damage to the property, but can include physical or emotional harm to people involved. For example: if your biggest concern is burglary while you’re out of town and your second biggest concern is a break-in while you’re sleeping, you might have your priorities mixed up as number two is almost invariably more damaging.
Prioritizing and Planning
Identify which threat is most damaging and most likely. Think of this like the overlapping section of a Venn diagram.
This will be different for every building, scenario, and person. If you are performing a risk assessment for a property you rarely use, and one that doesn’t contain much of value, burglary might cause minimal damage. If you are performing a risk assessment for your family home (where your children live) in a well to do neighborhood, burglary would be devastating. Have your priorities in order and make sure you hit on the correct threats. From here, the risk assessment will revolve around this threat and what can be done to mitigate it. Start to think about countermeasures, procedures, or other ways to stop the threat or make it less damaging.
Figuring out how to improve your security can be overwhelming and it’s worthwhile hiring a professional security consultant to guide you through the process. A security consultant who specializes in this area can make sense of your options and help you understand important dos and don’ts.
In addition to Tim, we spoke to Chris Chapeta of Bastion Projects. Chris' approach to securing a home or building revolves around two concepts: architecture and systems. Architecture refers to the layout and construction of the building as it relates to security risks. Think about the possible security risks that are built in to the structure.
Lots of physical features will play into this:
Systems refer to the operation of the property (daily life) and security devices you might employ. You should think about procedures and habit. Some things to factor in are:
These questions need to be answered so that a successful security plan can be developed. There should be hard and fast rules that all members are aware of and actively follow.
No matter what security measures you choose or which experts you consult, you need a plan B. As we’ve covered in our previous blog posts, all security measures can be defeated with enough time, the right tools, and skill. Plan B is not some magic bullet but rather evacuation. Every office building, school, and government facility has plans in place to evacuate when something goes terribly wrong. You should have one too. Know your exits and make sure you keep them unobstructed.
Remember: this whole process is an assessment. You have to assess the risk, but also assess your response to the risk. Once you decide on your security measures. Sit down with your team, family, consultant, etc. and discuss whether or not your plan will meet your needs. If not, start from scratch. A risk assessment should always be a work in progress. Improve upon your plans, your safety depends on it.
What's the purpose of a door? A door is designed to allow access to, or exit from, a building, location or vehicle. They can often be locked so that only the right people with a key can get in. Even the strongest forced-entry resistant and bullet resistant doors we produce at Shield don’t serve a purpose if they’re not locked. Opening an unlocked door isn’t forced-entry, it’s just entry.
A major (and often overlooked) component in security is your routine. Failure to develop good security habits puts the safety of you and your loved ones are at greater risk of being harmed and falling victim to a home invasion. The most important of those habits is locking your doors.
According to a 2010 New York Times article, less than half of homeowners lock their doors. Of those surveyed, many who did not lock their doors were surprised to learn that some people found that practice strange.
What's strange is making critical security decisions based on emotion or the sense that you live in a safe neighborhood and as a result aren't at risk.
Most of these people don’t believe they're gambling with their safety and security. Some feel they don’t need to lock their doors because they live in a safe area, because they have a doorman in their apartment building, or because they have never heard of crimes near their home. None of these are good reasons to leave a door unlocked.
Not locking doors is the #1 security sin you can commit. Regardless of who you are, where you live, or what your bank balance is, don’t gamble with your family’s safety. Lock your damn doors.
YOUR ALARM ISN'T GOING TO KEEP YOU SAFE: THE WEAKNESSES OF THE TRADITIONAL APPROACH TO RESIDENTIAL SECURITY
One of the most common mistakes made by homeowners is the belief that installing a security system (e.g. an alarm) makes them impervious to threats such as a break-in. Security products are designed to achieve a range of objectives: deter potential intruders, alert you of a breach, record an event, buy you time by slowing down an intruder, etc. But no security system, be it a door, alarm, camera, or moat is impenetrable. Security can always be defeated.
The objective of a comprehensive security system is to buy you enough time for the police to respond or to retrieve a weapon before coming directly into harms way. Again, it’s a function of time. Whether you live in Fort Knox or a trailer, if a determined intruder has the right combination of tools, skills, and time, they will get in.
The Alarm System Fallacy
American families disproportionately rely on alarms for security, with approximately 15% of homes having one. Alarms serve two purposes: deterring some opportunistic burglars and alerting you to an intruder. Homes without an alarm are 300% more likely to be broken into than a home that has one. Alarms will deter some opportunistic intruders in search of a soft target, but it will not deter all opportunistic intruders and it will not deter a determined intruder who has done their research and is well prepared.
The second purpose of an alarm system is to alert you of a breach. This is an important function that allows you, your alarm company, and the police to respond more quickly than if you didn’t have an alarm. However, police response times vary significantly. The average nationwide response time for burglaries “in progress,” that have been verified by a 911 call, is 7 minutes. The average response time for unverified alarms is 30 minutes.
Most break-ins occur in less than 60 seconds.
An alarm isn’t going to stop a burglar from breaking into your home. It buys you a few seconds by alerting you as soon as their is a breach and it will deter some opportunistic burglars from trying. But by the time your alarm goes off, someone is already inside your home and chances are they will be gone long before the police show up.
CCTV and Surveillance Systems
Like alarms, the function of camera systems is often misunderstood. In residential settings, cameras are usually installed to record an event. They also have a deterrent effect, like alarms, because a potential burglar who notices cameras is less likely to target the home because they are more likely to get caught when the police have video evidence. At the same time, wearing a mask or balaclava easily negates it’s ability to identify an intruder, and a home with a camera might be seen as having something worth stealing.
Tim Wenzel of Facebook succinctly addressed the role of cameras in a recent article. He wrote:
“Cameras provide security.” No, they do not. Cameras are an investigative tool.
If you require them as a security tool, someone will need to be watching them."
Cameras will deter some opportunistic burglars and should help in identifying and prosecuting those responsible. But on it’s own, a camera is not going to stop a determined intruder from breaking in to your home and unless it's monitored, it doesn't buy you any time to react. It’s not going to keep you safe.
Alarms and cameras are important parts of a comprehensive security system that includes physical forced entry barriers such as reinforced doors and windows. On their own they have a deterrent effect, will alert you of a breach, and record the event, but will not prevent a determined intruder from gaining access. The core function of alarms and (unmonitored) cameras only kick in once an intruder is already in your home.
A comprehensive security system must include barriers that prevent forced entry, slow an intruder down, and buy you time to assess the situation, call the police, and/or retrieve a weapon. Even if high security doors are not in the budget, there are inexpensive, off-the-shelf products that will make your doors and windows more secure.