Published In September 2001
Financial institutions, bank branches, and a variety of other lending organizations generally have one thing in common—money. And, that money sometimes has to be protected from unscrupulous persons who might want to grab what’s not legally theirs. Bank security devices have been around for decades, virtually since the beginning of the burglar alarm industry. They’ve progressed, and are easy-to-install switches or other activators that provide a perfect add-on product in both new construction and retrofit. Extend your expertise Don’t push the low-voltage market to the back burner again. It’s “the” market, said Crain’s Chicago Business in a recent issue’s Special Report/Telecommunications and accompanying story: “Low voltage, high hopes.” Editor Brian Leaf wrote, “These days, the hottest side of the business isn’t the one with the most voltage. The digital revolution has spawned the low-voltage rewiring of Chicago and a shortage of trained workers to wire it. Electrical contractors are eager to add data, voice, and video installations to their offerings, as business and consumer demand for computer networks, alarm systems, automation systems, and other high-tech, low-voltage equipment surges.” You have to start somewhere, so when you’re wiring the new bank branch under construction or rewiring an existing location, why not consider duress and hold-up functions? The opportunity is definitely there, said Paul Rosenberger, an American Society for Industrial Security member and principal/consultant with ba/S Consultants in Newport Beach, Calif. “Many banks are in line for a security upgrade and are using rather old technologies. Money drawers with clips, and foot or knee rails or hold up buttons are several of the ways they may upgrade, but some are going high-tech with phone line surveillance and access control as well,” Rosenberger said. There’s no shortage of products in this niche. Here’s a look at several devices to get you started: Potter Electric Signal Company, St. Louis, Mo., has the HUB-M and HUB-T Hold-Up Buttons. The HUB-M provides a single momentary or latching double-pole, double-throw (DPDT) contacts for actuating surveillance cameras or other security applications. The HUB-T provides two sets of momentary or latching DPDT contacts for actuating surveillance or other security applications in addition to the hold-up signal. Also from Potter, High-Security Contact (HSC) switches monitor the open or closed position of safe and vault doors. Triple-biased single-pole, double-throw (SPDT) Form C reed alarm switches make the defeat of the switch with an external magnet virtually impossible. In wireless applications, The Ademco Group, Syosset N.Y., manufactures the 5869 Holdup Switch/Transmitter. It is typically mounted under a counter or money drawer for inconspicuous operation. When the transmitter is activated, it emits an RF signal picked up by the control. Sentrol Inc., Tualatin, Ore., has a number of devices for bank and other high-security applications, including the triple-biased 2700 Series high-security magnetic contacts, DV1200 Series Advisor X Structural Vibration Detection System and the 3555 Series Magnetic Contact Bill Trap. Highly resistant to defeat by external magnets, the 2700 Series high-security contacts for safes and vaults are accepted by the Defense Intelligence Agency. Designed to detect attempts to break into vaults, safes, night deposit boxes, automatic cash dispenser units, and other reinforced physical areas such as data storage and filing cabinets, the DV1200 Series is a seismic detection system. Inside cash drawers, the 3555 series Bill Trap with vinyl-jacketed leads uses no mechanical switch and, once bills are removed, contact is made, creating an alarm. O’MARA is the president of DLO Communications Inc. in Park Ridge, Ill. She can be reached at (847) 384-1916.