Many employers are making the workplace more secure

Friday, February 11th 2005, 10:18 am
By: News On 6

The shooting Thursday at Lowrance Electronics in Tulsa once again brings into focus the worry about violence in the workplace.

Increasingly, worksites are locking down and it's not just on the outside doors.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says a lot of companies are getting more secure, installing locks on the outside doors that can be activated instantly to keep someone out - and even when they're open.

The fear of violence - and the cost of theft have forced most big companies and big buildings to lock down what used to be open doors.

Security system experts say it's surprising to them how many buildings have open doors. Vince Blocker with Indian Lock & Safe: "Most people, they have the front door and once you get in you're not prohibited from going anywhere else."

But that's an exception as more places install electronic locks that limit public access. Vince Blocker: “Unfortunately, things just aren't the way it used to be, it's going to be inconvenient, it's going to be hard for people to get into places if it's going to be secure.”

Lowrance Electronics uses computerized locks to control employee access. That helped keep the gunman separated from most employees - but not from the victim. Their lobby is small with a door off a covered driveway. The receptionist sits to the right. A long hallway with offices on each side is accessible from the lobby. Tulsa Police say the gunman walked in the door, past the receptionist and down the hallway to his wife's office where he killed her. A secure door further down the hall kept the gunman contained in the front office.

Vince Blocker: “The thing you want is to buy as much time as possible to evacuate as many people as possible."

Some magnetic locks start at about $1,200 a door. It's too expensive for many small businesses - but something more and more companies are looking into.