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Riot Glass vs. Security Film

March 12, 2024 | Commercial Doors

Riot Glass vs. Security FilmNo one watching the news thinks security concerns are overblown. With looting and burglary on the rise, especially in large cities, business owners need extra precautions to keep their stores and buildings safe. Fortunately, effective countermeasures already exist: riot glass and security film. They reinforce glass doors and windows, the most vulnerable points in any building, in order to deter and prevent burglars from gaining entry. But their cost and the protection they provide differ significantly. So how do business owners know which one is right for them?

Strengths of Riot Glass & Security Film

The main advantage of riot glass and security film is they can be retrofitted onto any building. No matter the size or shape of your windows or doors, each product can be perfectly customized. 

They’re also undetectable. Unlike security shutters or grilles, security film and riot glass do not alter your building’s appearance. Security film is a clear, mylar sheet adhered directly to the glass. Though it may distort light from certain angles, it’s otherwise indiscernible. Riot glass is a clear, polycarbonate, plastic blend installed over your existing windows and doors. Some distortion may be visible at certain times, but for the most part it’s unnoticeable. 

Beyond that, however, you won’t find many similarities between the two. Security film is designed to hold glass together, not resist impact. It takes longer to break, particularly if you apply it to the front and back of your windows, but it won’t stand up to repeated blows. 

However, it won’t shatter either. The film holds everything together, like a windshield, so all a strong impact will do is punch a hole. Regardless, if the burglar has sufficient time, security glass isn’t a major obstacle. It slows burglars, but won’t stop them.

Riot glass, on the other hand, is nearly indestructible. Repeated blows from crowbars, sledgehammers, bricks, and baseball bats won’t do more than scratch it. Even firearms aren’t strong enough to destroy it. Bullets and shells might make a few holes, but there is little chance that a  burglar will get through, not without explosives or heavy machinery.

When to Choose Riot Glass vs. Security Film

Whether riot glass or security film is a better fit for your business depends on the type of threat you’re facing. Most burglars rely on speed. They need to be in and out before police or security arrives, which means they have to work fast. In many cases, a delay of even 30-60 seconds might be enough to deter them.

However, burglars are changing tactics. They’re bringing heavier tools and operating in larger groups. Under those circumstances, security film wouldn’t provide much of an obstacle. Riot glass would be the only solution.

Businesses concerned about costs can combine the two solutions. Install riot glass on doors and windows close to the ground and put security film on windows high off the ground. This prevents burglars from forcing their way through the most vulnerable and obvious points of entry while protecting areas that are normally out of reach. 

Owners need to evaluate the risk in order to determine which strategy works for them. A mixed strategy is likely to deter a fast robbery but won’t stop a determined assault. On the other hand, if you’re only facing 1-2 criminals, installing riot glass on high windows might be unnecessary. 

The best advice is to review crime reports in your neighborhood. What types of threats have other businesses faced? Once you know the risk, you’ll know whether to choose security film, riot glass, or a combination of the two. 

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