Title:
Anti robbery protection equipment
United States Patent 3924546
Abstract:
The equipment is for use in a bank or like premises in which entry to the bank is constrained along a tortuous path by transparent partitions. Television cameras are provided to continuously monitor and record the entry of customers into the bank. Separate entry and exit paths are provided with swing doors which will open automatically in response to the approach of a person from one predetermined direction so as to impede a person trying to enter the bank by the exit path or trying to leave the bank by the entry path. In addition automatic sliding doors can be provided which will open only under the control of the bank staff.


Inventors:
PRETINI GISBERTO
Application Number:
05/399083
Publication Date:
12/09/1975
Filing Date:
09/20/1973
Assignee:
PRETINI; GISBERTO
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
109/20
International Classes:
E05G5/00; (IPC1-7): E05G3/00
Field of Search:
109/2-9,20 49
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
2055005Bank protective apparatus1936-09-22Dietman
2004551Bank bandit trap1935-06-11Coleman et al.
1851355Electric doorlock1932-03-29Goedecke
1768092Bank-protecting device1930-06-24Alstadt
0421484N/A1890-02-18
Primary Examiner:
Taylor, Dennis L.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mcglew, And Tuttle
Claims:
I claim

1. In a bank having an area accessible to the public, anti robbery protection equipment comprising, in combination, first partition means defining a first path providing only access to said public area; second partition means defining a second path providing only egress from said public area; said first and second partition means being at least partially transparent to allow the passage of persons along said path to be observed through said partition means; and closure means located at least at opposite ends of each path to define an area in each path which can be closed at both ends; the closure means in said access path being openable automatically responsive to approach of a person in the access direction and blocking movement in the egress direction, and the closure means in said egress path being openable automatically responsive to approach of a person in the egress direction and blocking movement in the access direction.

2. Equipment according to claim 1, including respective electric eye means on the approach side of each closure means and operable responsive to approach of a person in the proper direction toward the associated closure means to open the respective closure means.

3. Equipment according to claim 1, including respective television cameras monitoring the passage of persons along said first and second paths; and a television camera recording center connected to said television cameras.

4. Equipment according to claim 1 wherein each closure means comprises an electrically controlled sliding door.

5. Equipment according to claim 1 including means operable to dispense a disabling gas into those areas in each path which can be closed off.

6. Equipment according to claim 5 wherein each closure means comprises an electrically controlled pair of cooperating swing doors.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to antirobbery protection equipment for use in banks and like premises.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Hitherto there have been three main methods used by bank robbers to raid banks.

I. Jumping over the counter to invade the space reserved for employees and to personally collect the money from the safe;

Ii. Forcing the cashier to deliver the money by threatening him with weapons; and

Iii. Forcibly entering the staff offices and subsequently passing to space behind the counter to collect the money.

The first two modes of operation can be thwarted by providing bullet proof partitioning between the top of the counter and the ceiling. To counter the third mode of operation security locks are provided on the doors leading to the staff offices, and their opening is controlled by the employees or by the managing staff of the bank upon identification of the person who desires to meet the bank Director.

Recently, however, a particular attack technique has been used. Robbers enter the bank in the normal way and take a customer, who is in the bank at that time, as a hostage. The robbers then threaten to kill the hostage unless the cashier hands over the money. Normally the cashier will deliver the money under such circumstances. This particular technique cannot be directly countered, unless one considers shooting the robbers. The dangers involved in such an action must remove this possibility from consideration.

An object of the invention is to discourage robbers using this latest technique.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the present invention there is provided, in a bank having an area accessible to the public, antirobbery protection equipment comprising first partition means defining a first path providing access to the public area, second partition means defining a second path providing egress from the public area, said first and second partition means being at least partially transparent to allow the passage of persons along said paths to be observed through the partition means, closure means located at least at opposite ends of each path to define an area in each path which can be closed and means for automatically operating each closure means in response to the approach of a person to the closure means to allow persons to pass along the first and second paths through the closure means only in the intended direction.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Antirobbery protection equipments embodying the invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying diagrammatic drawing in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of one of the equipments installed in a bank;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of another of the equipments also installed in a bank.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Each of the equipments has partitioning providing two distinct passages or paths 31,33 and 35,37 (FIG. 1) and 131,133 and 135,137 (FIG. 2), one allowing access by the public into the space in front of the counter 14, and the other allowing the public to leave the bank.

In the tortuous entry path of the two equipments there are respectively provided sliding doors 40,42,44 and 140,142,144 and in the exit path of the two equipments there are respectively provided sliding doors 46,48,50 and 146,148,150. In addition to the sliding doors there are provided pairs of swing doors 52,54 and 152,154, 56,58 and 156,158 which are controlled by photocells, that sense the approach of persons from one direction only and cause the doors to open automatically. Thus it is impossible for a person to pass along the paths in the wrong direction.

Each of the equipments includes a television camera recording center 60 and 160 for recording the passage of persons along the paths. Each center incorporates video recording equipment and preferably controls a plurality of television cameras 17 which monitor both the entry and exit passages.

The partitions defining the paths are preferably of transparent and bullet-proof material such as toughened glass. The partitions need not be totally transparent but should be in portions so that it should be possible for the counter clerks at the bank to observe persons passing along the paths.

The opening and closing of the sliding doors is preferably controlled by the bank employees. Preferably the doors have a locking mechanism which is also controlled by the employees. The closing and opening of each sliding door is performed by a pneumatically operating device, having a piston arrangement such that when the door is opened there is sufficient reserve compression to automatically close the door again in the event that there is an electric power breakdown or interruption (which may have purposely been arranged by the robbers). Advantageously, also the outer wall of the bank incorporates a transparent glass partition, which enables the public outside the bank to see what is happening inside the bank. Other non-transparent but movable panels can be provided to provide areas of privacy in the bank rooms when required. These panels are slidable in the vertical direction and are controlled by any well known apparatus.

Also the walls of the inner rooms of the bank can be total or partially of glass so as to enable the tortuous paths, which must be transversed by customers entering the bank, to be visible by bank staff in those rooms.

The tortuous paths and the doors therein must, however, be so arranged that they do not obstruct the field of vision of the television cameras 17 to avoid the creation of a blind spot. Two or more television cameras may be arranged to view one and the same zone from two different, for example opposite, directions. Each television camera 17 will remain active for the duration that the bank remains open to the public. The area monitored by each camera is recorded on video tape. Alternatively or additionally the pictures scanned by the television cameras can be transmitted to a remote viewing and/or recording center. A recording may be periodically cancelled.

The television cameras can be suitably camouflaged and protected from damage by fire-arms.

In this way, both the dissuasive power and the defence power of the protection equipment will be enhanced. Because of the nature of the protective equipment potential robbers can no longer rely on the possibility of getting a hostage from among the customers in the bank, nor can they be sure of a quick and speedy get away. The customers, at the first hint of an attempt of robbery (which may be signalled by a member of the staff or directly observed by themselves) can take refuge in the exit path. Once inside the exit path the customers can close and lock the pneumatic door 46 or 146, by a control device located in the exit path and so lock themselves away from the robbers.

The equipment can include means for dispensing a hypnotic or anesthetising gas into either the entry or the exit path to disable the robbers should they become trapped in the paths.

The dissuasive power of the protection equipment is based on the following criteria:

a. the fear or rather the certainty that the robbers will be promptly identified, even if they wear masks;

b. the knowledge that the video tapes which have recorded their actions will prove to be irrefutable evidence of their complicity in the robbery;

c. the certainty of also being seen from the outside of the bank, during the act of robbery;

d. the evident major impediments created by the tortuous entry and exit paths for a prompt and fast escape;

e. the danger of being locked up in the exit path by the closing of the sliding doors, while they are making their get away along the exit path;

f. the knowledge that the tortuous passages may be at any moment saturated by a hypnotic or other disabling gas; and

g. especially if both entry and exit to the bank is only via two tortuous paths the uncertainty of being able to take a hostage to aid their escape.

The dissuasive power of the equipment is related to the length and number of turnings in the tortuous path. The longer and more tortuous the path the greater is the dissuasive power. Where the path extends in a direction not parallel to the road front, the spontaneous controls of the bank staff are not affected by the outside transit which is otherwise visible.

As to the "defence" power of the equipment that is, the possibility of preventing a robbery taking place this has been discussed under items (e) and (f) above.

The equipment does not require a high installation cost. The cost which is relatively low is capable of being recouped in a short time, by virtue of the smaller insurance premiums which will subsequently be required, and by the elimination of the cost of a constant surveillence of the bank. The bullet-proof screens are already commonly used in most banks and the cost of a closed circuit television system is not prohibitive. The video tape employed in the system can be erased and used over and over again. The construction of the partitions in an existing bank can be achieved by using simple modular prefabricated transparent panels which stretch from the floor to the ceiling and have standarised dimensions. Such panels should preferably be arranged to contain inspection (telecameras) and control equipment for the doors, as well as electric and pneumatic lines.

It will be appreciated that the tortuous entry and exit paths will not interfer with the contacts between employees and customers. In addition there may be other protection and accident precaution systems in the room 12-16 and on the counter 14.

To increase the possibilities offered by the equipment an additional television camera can be arranged to monitor the street immediately outside the bank to enable an early warning of an impending robbery to be obtained.

Many modifications can be made to the invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.