Security has always been a concern for architectural designers and project managers, but the nature of the threats that we face in both private and public spaces is changing rapidly. This has mandated a wide-scale reconsideration of how we protect ourselves at home, at work, or in any of the places where we may be vulnerable to firearms-related offenses.
Building safer schools with the right infrastructure and physical resources to respond to extreme security threats is a key priority for school districts across the US. Since 2013, there have been at least 575 recorded incidents of gunfire on school grounds. The past decade has sadly been one of the most lethal on record with respect to school shootings, leading to 212 deaths in just seven years. Shoring up our school security practices is crucial if we want to stem the tide of gun violence on campuses through 2020 and beyond.
Keeping up with the changing state of security is a key ongoing goal in every market. Unfortunately, the threats that businesses and individuals face are evolving every day. While many industries are currently focussed on digital threats and data security, the danger of real-world physical crimes remains a true risk factor for premises across the US.
Integrated security solutions are increasingly commonplace in churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples. These houses of worship are the linchpins that hold religious communities together. They are central to how billions of people worldwide practice their faith, providing locations for like-minded individuals to congregate and share in the acts of worship. Unfortunately, that sense of harmony is increasingly under threat: 2019 was one of the worst years on record for attacks on religious communities and houses of worship.
Weaponry and defense are intrinsically-linked, with innovations in one inevitably being trailed by developments in the other. Improved firearms revolutionized military attire as armies the world over fought to protect soldiers and vehicles with ballistic-grade armor plates and textiles. Their success subsequently led to the development of high caliber armor-piercing ammunition – and so on.
School security is a key growth market for developers and manufacturers of bulletproof products across the US. According to research carried out by IHS Markit, demand for bulletproofing in schools propelled the industry to a $2.7 billion valuation in 2017. This data considers a range of campus security solutions, from video surveillance and on-site metal detectors to ballistic-resistant windows and doors.
Bullet-resistant glass is an increasingly attractive prospect from an investment perspective, providing a range of tangible benefits beyond merely the obvious. This is reflected by significant growth in the market. According to a recent report, the bullet-resistant glass industry is expected to almost double in value by 2023, from a current worth of US$4.5 billion to approximately US$9.8 billion by 2023. There is no single answer as to why the market is experiencing such a significant uptick. National property and violent crime statistics are trending downwards over a 10-year period, so it is not simply an issue of supply and demand.
Security is a priority for any homeowner, and the risk of criminals forcing entry – however unlikely – is a real concern. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) releases an annual uniform crime report (UCR) that explores statistical trends in different categories of criminal activity, including property crime: burglary, larceny-theft, arson, etc. In 2017, burglary accounted for as much as 18.2% of all property-related crime in the U.S., while property crime, in general, caused approximate losses of $15.3 billion. It is easy to understand why more and more domestic homeowners are turning to heavy-duty security solutions, like bulletproof doors, to protect their families and their property.
Although lightweight, bullet-resistant fiberglass panels can contend with the heaviest materials when it comes to cost-effective security solutions. Fiberglass can outperform structural steel in terms of strength on a pound-to-pound basis, and the installation costs are dramatically lower than those of metallic armor plating. Consequently, ballistic-grade fiberglass panels are now one of the leading security solutions for robust architectural installations.
School security is now a big business in the US, topping $2.7 billion in revenue during 2017. This figure is not solely attributed to physical security (i.e. bullet-resistant doors), but such measures are increasingly commonplace in campuses from coast-to-coast.