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Shop Windows That Can't Be Broken In
I would have thought someone must have thought of this before. Transparent glasslike shop fronts, but made of something tough which can't be kicked-in to gain entry.
Shop windows seem to be too easy to break, as seen in the recent 2011 riots. The problem isn't the smashing of the glass, but the gain of access by thieves and the subsequent looting of the stock.
The solution is to have a double barrier made of dissimilar materials. The outer layer is glass, and the inner layer is Lexan, preferably the thick bullet-proof stuff that banks use.
The advantage of this system over "glass only" or "Lexan only", is that the combined system defends against different situations appropriately. Having a shop window that is a defence against rioting and vandalism is surely the way. Note that there are two separate problems, which have different solutions. That's why the defensive system needs to be a combination of things.
In a riot, a shop window's defence is Lexan. It can't be kicked through, hacked through with an axe, or smashed by deforming with a battering-ram. Armour-piercing shells will go through, but the holes will not be big enough the allow intruders in!
If you're wondering why shop windows aren't just made of Lexan on its own with no outer glass shield, it's because a shop window needs to be resistant to vandalism, and Lexan is not. It can be scratched, scarred, defaced by chemicals, blackened by fire, and in various other ways spoiled in appearance. As it's also expensive, this is a problem. However, the addition of a glass outer shield largely puts a stop to that.
Upon detecting that the outer shield of a shop window is glass, attackers on a quiet day may not dare to try to smash the glass as that would make a lot of noise. They can't scratch it or damage the surface, so it's not a good target.
In a different situation, rioters in a thieving rampage can smash the outer glass but then they can't get through the Lexan to get into the shop and steal the stock.
It may be that with continuing civil unrest, shops on the highstreet may resort to using a combined Glass+Lexan defensive shield to avoid being pillaged. That's not because double glazing is a good idea, but because multiple defenses are a security to defend against different types of attack. Online sales are a different matter, as the warehouses can be fortresses, and the "shop windows" are the screens of computers around the world. No point in smashing them.