Societal Security

May 31st, 2022 by Nathan Hobbs

Instability Ignites a Window of Opportunity

By Chris Collier

Firebombs, mortars and rocks— Portland, Ore.’s, 2020 portrait was nightmarish. That June, the local merchants of the Portland Business Alliance reported an economic loss of $23.2 million—business owners reported $4.8 million in costs due to damages from looting, fires and graffiti. Down the coast, the owner of a tire and automotive repair shop in Santa Monica, Calif., waded through mayhem paralleling Portland’s that summer.

West Coast Warfare

“Three or four people with bats and crowbars walked up to his glass and tried to break into his unit,” says Danny Maldonado, president of Prestige Window Solutions in Redondo Beach, Calif., of his customer who owns a tire and automotive repair business. “He was able to intimidate them to leave and go elsewhere. But it was a nerve-wracking situation, and it raised concern for him.”

The owner, who wishes to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, contacted Maldonado’s team to bolster his store’s security. “He asked us to come out and show him DefenseLite, a product we use to increase the integrity of glass, so smash-and-grab is not a possibility,” Maldonado adds. “We retrofitted the whole storefront.”

Impact Security is a manufacturer of specialty security glass and glazing systems, sold under the DefenseLite and BulletShield tradenames. DefenseLite, a security glazing system designed to mount onto existing glazing, is one of several security options for schools, retailers and storefronts to consider during these chaotic days. Prestige Window Solutions installed 343 square feet of DefenseLite Pro on 14 panels in two and a half days.

“Glass and window businesses have thrived through these times because of security issues,” Maldonado says. “Even though terrible and disgusting things are happening in the world, resulting in us getting business, it feels better knowing that we’re providing a solution that creates comfort for customers and allows them to feel safe.”

Riot Glass and Campbell Corporation are both headquartered in Huntington Beach, Calif., 45 miles from Santa Monica. Riot Glass, a manufacturer of retrofit security glass and door systems designed to safeguard storefronts and commercial and residential properties, energizes Campbell’s safety segment significantly.

“We are seeing a fundamental shift in attitudes about what acceptable behavior is and what can now be tolerated,” says Riot Glass CEO Brad Campbell. “This has proliferation in government, the education sector and in mainstream culture in general, leading to an accepted helplessness that is not lost on the criminal element. They are watching carefully, and the more brazen crimes that go unanswered by legislation or other corrective action, the more of it we will see. The pandemic has created an atmosphere of anger and contempt like we have not seen in most of our lifetimes.”

Campbell adds, “You can’t easily put that genie back in the bottle. It is a combination of all of these societal factors leading to this crime wave. I am optimistic there will be an eventual correction and civilization will figure this one out, but not for many years.”

Many commercial companies seek security, and Campbell’s businesses are climbing through the proverbial window of opportunity. One of the most significant projects to date for Campbell Corporation, which Campbell also owns, took place in 2021 for an international sports conglomerate in Los Angeles. The client’s goal? Level four bullet-resistance designed to stop a
30.06 – 30 caliber rifle round.

“We installed our Riot Glass RG4 LS ballistic glass and framing system to protect employees, players, prominent figures and fans at one of the world’s most expensive buildings in Los Angeles,” Campbell says of the assignment, which incorporated roughly 5,000 square feet of glass and framing. “This was new construction and required a rated, custom-designed ballistic system developed by me, the architect and other engineers. From conception to completion, it took roughly eight months.”

An Opportunistic Outlook

Peaceful protests are part of society and are encouraged. But what happens when instigators leave unwarranted destruction? Sunmaster of Napa, Calif., was recently subcontracted for a job at the University of California, Berkeley, dealing with just that.

“Berkeley is an active school in terms of their student body, so there’s a lot of protests on campus,” says Pete Mott, owner of Sunmaster. “Their goal was to deal with those protests. They had experienced some product loss and additional damage from prior protests.”

Mott’s three-installer team applied an estimated 8,000 square feet of LLumar eight mil security film over three weeks in 2021. “It gives you satisfaction knowing you’re helping these companies, property owners and clinics feel safer during periods of civil unrest,” he adds. Maldonado cites security film and attachments for 35% of 2021’s sales. And as society’s vandals inflict pain through property damage, that number is poised for flight.

“People are more and more comfortable doing bad things in the public eye,” Maldonado adds. “Maybe a couple of weeks ago, we could have said, ‘It’s been pretty calm.’ But then boom—someone was robbing a local jewelry store in Beverly Hills in broad daylight … people aren’t scared of the law; they do things I would never have thought of doing as a teenager. I think it will take some time to change course.”

In the past two years, security comprised more than 75% of Campbell Corporation’s work. Film facilitates 25% of the company’s security segment, whereas glazing amounts to 70%. Campbell says society’s road to recovery is far off, and dealers are positioned for market dominance.

“Things have become so out of balance that even if we corrected course today, the latency of the effects of that correction would still lead to dramatic year-over-year crime spikes for years to come,” Campbell explains. “[It] saddens me to say that, but this is a global problem, and it will be decades, not years, before we see our way out of this. Window film businesses with staffing and infrastructure in place, and a culture of responsiveness and a high-touch service level, will see growth like never before.”

Chris Collier is the assistant editor for Window Film magazine. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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