For the second time in two months, a news story came across my desk that involved the impact of mag-locks on security.  For some involved in the security industry, mag-locks are perceived to be an easy way to retrofit a high level of protection, because the field preparation is limited and the manufacturers’ literature shows holding force specifications which seem like more than enough to keep out the average burglar.

Mag-locks have their place.  But when a mag-lock is required by code to unlock upon fire alarm and/or power failure, this provides an “opening” for a would-be intruder.  As more people understand the effect of pulling the fire alarm on these doors, we’ll see more of these security breaches.  Note that the  new code requirements for mag-locks with a door-mounted release device do not require the mag-lock to unlock upon fire alarm.  These new requirements may not apply to your jurisdiction, so verify the current codes before you make any changes.

From the Dutch News…

Kunsthal security doors were not fully bolted on evening of theft

The thieves who stole seven valuable paintings from the Kunsthal in Rotterdam last week were able to strike so quickly because the door was not fully locked, according to Nos television.

The broadcaster says according to a statement from the gallery director, the doors are normally locked ‘mechanically and electronically’. However, after the alarm is activated, the electronic lock turns off automatically, in line with fire regulations, the statement said.

The burglars only had to force the mechanical lock to gain entrance. Security camera footage shows they were in and out in two minutes with the seven works of art. The police arrived at the museum five minutes after the alarm went off but the thieves had already gone.

The door locking system has since been revised, with the permission of fire officials.

So far, police have had 60 tips in connection with the heist. The seven paintings, including works by Matisse, Monet and Picasso, are worth up to €7m.

After watching the security camera footage I’m wondering if these doors had shear locks because I don’t see a mag-lock.


From WFAA in Dallas:

Intruder removed from WFAA Dallas studio

DALLAS — Dallas police and firefighters had to respond to WFAA’s Victory Park studios on Tuesday evening.

Police believe a woman pulled a fire alarm at a nearby restaurant and made her way inside our studio. She then laid down on the floor and refused to leave voluntarily.

The unidentified woman had to be lifted off the ground by emergency personnel. She was taken into custody about 9:20 p.m.

The 10 p.m. newscast that had been scheduled to be broadcast from Victory Park originated at WFAA’s Young Street studio because the fire alarm could not be turned off in time.

When and where do YOU use mag-locks?  Have you ever refused to specify, supply, or install them in a certain application?

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