Fresh out of college, I was assigned as a project engineer on a large waste water treatment facility outside of Washington, D.C. It was a great opportunity for my career – and also great for touring our nation’s Capitol. Back then, you could walk straight into the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress, and stand in line for a White House tour.

Twenty years later, following the 9/11 attacks, Washington became a fortress. Overnight, concrete traffic barriers were installed around our national treasures. Today, the concrete traffic barriers are gone – yet Washington is just as secure.

We want our homes and places of business secure, but we do not want to look out through bars on windows and doors. There are several ways to accomplish this.

It starts with limiting access to your place of business. Multiple access points in and out of your property after hours makes for a more inviting target. Thieves want to be able to escape from one access point if the police come in another. Limit access by installing steel gates on entry points into your property.

Windows are vulnerable. To keep out thieves, use laminated glass windows – windows with a plastic layer between the double panes of glass. Add security film to the window, and it becomes almost impossible for a person to get through.

A few years ago, we converted a small office building into a daycare center. The entry needed to be inviting while providing security during and after hours. Our solution was double-paned glass with one layer of double thick laminated glass and a layer of security. Add thorny bushes outside, and thieves will walk past your windows.

Your building entry is the first area thieves examine. If it is easy for you and your clients to enter the building, then it is easy for thieves to enter, too. Place heavy planters in front of the entry doors so that it is easy for a person to walk in, but not for a vehicle to knock down your front door. Make it as hard to walk out the front door without a key as it is to walk in without a key. But at all times, maintain emergency egress from your building.

The garage door or warehouse door is the quickest way in for thieves. To prevent “drive throughs” – thieves using their vehicles as battering rams – we installed a steel bar that drops down on the outside of our overhead garage door.

Taking these building security measures will keep the people and contents inside your building safe, without your feeling imprisoned.