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Famous Security Failures & How They Could Have Been Avoided

July 1, 2017

Famous Security Failures & How They Could Have Been Avoided

Antwerp’s Diamond Centre

Back in 2003, Antwerp’s Diamond Centre vault was thought to be impenetrable. With 10 layers of security surrounding the vault door, including a lock that was operated by an irreproducible foot long key, a magnetic field, and an infrared heat sensor, this vault was thought to be “impregnable” – even by the thief who was eventually convicted of the crime.

Speculated to have escaped with $100 million from the heist, a team of five men managed to bypass the security measures set in place. This being said, they were aided when it became apparent that the irreproducible key was stored mere feet away in a utility closet. Entering and exiting the building through a window allowed the thieves access, which could have easily been resolved with window protection measures; a staple for many businesses now.

With a number of options available, installing Bradbury’s Spartan 3 high security bar sets could have prohibited the thieves’ access to the property. Certified by the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) to LPS 1175 Security Rating 3, these bar sets consist of 25mm bars contained within a 5mm thick angle outer frame. They are suitable for both internal and external fitting and can be engineered to secure almost any opening. The lightweight modular design ensures ease of installation, and the bar sets are assessed for certified installation directly in to brickwork, concrete or steel. With these security measures in place, penetrating the building would have been a significantly more difficult undertaking, and would have conceivably prevented the thieves from gaining access.


Hatton Garden Safe Deposit

When the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit heist took place in 2015, the nation was gripped with how someone had managed to break in to one of London’s Diamond District safe deposit vaults. With a group of retirees managing to penetrate what was once thought to be Hatton Garden’s “giant strong room”, it was boasted as having “a two-foot-wide bomb-and-burglar-proof door—operated by a combination that has to be worked by at least two men.”

It is now clear that whilst the vault may have been secure, access in and out of the building was not. With all these obstacles, including two heavy duty doors for which only a handful of people had keys, it is surprising that more thought was not given to the basement fire exit. The basement was accessed from the courtyard by a door with two sliding-bolt locks, meaning that once the accomplice had entered the building and accessed the vault room, they simply had to open the door to allow the others access into the building with no disturbance at the front entrance.

However, had their fire exit been certified by the LPCB to LPS 1175, it would have been a great deal more secure. Bradbury’s LPS 1175 certified doorsets are available for use with an access control system, which permit access via a numerical code, finger print recognition, or a key card; making all entries into the building traceable.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston saw the largest art theft in American history, with the total of the stolen art work estimated at $500 million. In 1990, two men dressed as police officers, pulled up to the Museum under the rouse of a reported disturbance. They were granted access by a security guard, and walked away with the most valuable stolen possession in history.

Human error and a lack of other security measures meant that this heist was a very quick and successful one, with none of the stolen items being recovered to date. Unlike the first two heists which had rigorous manned security systems, this heist lacked any tangible form of security breach. The only forms of security were motion sensors in each room, and the need to be ‘buzzed in’ by a security guard after hours, which meant that this heist required a good deal less technical prowess than the other two.

This could possibly have been avoided if the museum had used an access control system, such as key cards or fingerprint recognition, or had zoned the valuables off using either security grilles or doors. Due to the museum being housed in a turn of the century manor, it is understandable why they would not want to employ obviously intrusive security measures. That being said, installing a retractable grille, such as Bradbury’s Extendor Eclipse across all doorways, would have been minimally invasive.

The only retractable security grille to be awarded a LPS 1175 SR3 certification from the LPCB, as well as being approved by the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), this grille could have provided a security measure that would have prevented the thieves from entering any of the rooms once they had gained access to the museum. A versatile product that can be custom made to suit any location, the Extendor Eclipse grille and cage would have been well suited as a discreet form of security within the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.


What You Can Do

It is clear to see that oversights were made in terms of physical security. Whilst having extensive security (for the most part) at the front of the building and within the vault rooms, the lack of attention to detail throughout the rest of the building is what allowed these buildings to be infiltrated. With simple fixes such as window bar sets, retractable security grilles, access control systems and certified doors, these buildings would have been a great deal more secure, and the heists less likely to have been successful. There are several solutions that can be employed to help every type of business to ensure that their premises are more secure.

To find out how Bradbury’s range of security products can help to secure your business, please contact us today.