Monday, April 9, 2012

Bulletproof glass as a crime deterrent?

Washington Post has an article entitled "Dreaming of a streetscape without roll-down security gates".  Two paragraphs caught my attention:

Bulletproof glass may take a little more time to ban, both in Washington and around the nation, because it’s seen as protecting people, while roll-downs are seen as protecting property, said Rosemary J. Erickson, a sociologist and president of Coral Gables, Fla.-based Athena Research, which specializes in security. 
Erickson has studied the effect of bullet-resistant glass on crime. She asked 1,000 convicted stick-up men to name 14 possible deterrents to robbery. Bulletproof glass ranked low on their lists. “They worry more about escape routes and police presence,” she said. “That said, you do understand the need for the shop clerk’s safety.”

 Curiosity got the best of me, so I googled "Rosemary J. Erickson".  I found her research paper from 1998.  The key findings are the best way to prevent convenience store robberies:

  • Key minimal cash in store
  • Minimize escape routes
  • Interior and exterior lighting
  • Removing obstructions from windows so cash register is in plain sight from the outside
  • Training of store clerks
This is good information to know as we begin to build relationships with businesses in our community.


  1. What a thought provoking post. It got me thinking about something I heard once -- that the less you can see through retail shops' windows, the worse the neighborhood. I thought I read it in a study somewhere.

    Though I couldn't find what I was looking for, while searching I stumbled upon this report by the Urban Land Institute, which is also really interesting:

  2. ugh! i hate bullet proof glass! i feel like, if you're afraid of the community and feel that threatened, then you don't deserve my business. i was appalled when i went into the new cupcake shop on minnesotta ave only to be greeted with bullet proof glass. outrageous.

  3. @D.Brown,
    Very well said. I truly agree with you. Businesses has been doing this for years-possibly decades and expect for citizens to continue to support a business that in turn give of a perception that they "residents" are to support their business, readily accept them as a reputable/respectable business while giving off the perception that all patrons are criminals or of criminal element. I do understand that within any business security and asset protection is key component to the survival of the business, but there must be other measures of ensuring security-while providing the establishment with an inviting environment and exceptional customer service skills. With that being said, everyone (residents, business owners, stakeholders, community activists, elected officials, and law enforcement, must reach a realistic medium and work together in order to reduce or deter crime in the community as well as to come up with a solid, well defined economic development plan that will bring more businesses-which in turn will bring more residents who will contribute to the increase in the tax pool that will support not only business (economic sustainability) but will also support the basic services that residents use daily (such as: transportation, infrastructure, social services, education,and public services). This will benefit the community overall, but not without a solid plan and cooperation from ALL. Other sections of the city do not have to buy Cupcakes or receive services that they've paid their hard earned money through a bulletproof glass because there is a sense of security or at best law enforcement presence. However, an establishment that sells cupcakes or any food item where a bulletproof glass is present and the only way that a transaction can take place is through that barrier is not an inviting business and indeed should look elsewhere to provide their services because establishments like; McDonalds, Burger King,Wendy's and 7-11 are everywhere-yet you do not see a bulletproof glass casing in sight. Although what I've mentioned were fast food / convenience retail establishments it remains to be seen that these establishments are successfull because of the atmosphere in which they exhibit. You also have places like; IHOP, The Big Chair Coffee, Denny's, Ray's that also do not uphold the "bulletproof concept". They are also successfull and flourishing businesses because to the atmosphere that they produce.Personally, I have not and would not patronize a business with such practices (such as: pre-marginalizing a consumer as a criminal)in the community that I live, because-as previously stated, it would personally send me a message that I am a criminal and should not be trusted, but at the same time the business owner is asking for my patronization of his/her business. As a result, I do most of my shopping in Maryland,so basically you know where my money is going.

    * Note: I am only publishing this as Anonymous because the board would not let me publish it under the intended URL- W7C .

  4. Wow, talk about overly PC. I KNOW I'm not a criminal but frankly, if those workers don't feel like getting their brains blown out during a gang fight or god knows what else, who can blame them??? The glass is a reflection of what goes on, nothing more.