Armored car (valuables)
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A common meaning of armored car (or armored cash transport car, security van) is as an armored van or truck, used in transporting valuables, such as large quantities of money (especially for banks or retail companies). The armored car is a multifunctional vehicle designed to protect and ensure the well being of the transported individuals and/or contents. The armored car is completely bullet proof and can withstand extreme degrees of heat. The car is mostly utilized by the military, but many companies such as Mercedes, Lexus, Toyota, Cadillac, and BMW have created armored cars for civilian use, usually to protect valuables.
The idea of the armored vehicle dates back to Leonardo da Vinci's sketches of an armored war vehicle in 1485. It consisted of a circular platform on four wheels with light cannons arranged facing out. Unfortunately this design proved to be flawed. Among the first armored cars built was the Bellamore Armored Motor Bank Car of 1910, which was meant to function like the banking service armored cars of today, but also as a mobile bank branch. It wasn’t until Rolls-Royce came out with the Rolls-Royce Ghost in August 1914 that the first armored vehicle was introduced to the British military. The vehicle proved to be superior during the war, creating a demand for armored cars across the globe. In 1930 Mercedes Benz introduced the Nurburg 460, which was an armored car used to protect Pope Pius XI. As the armored car became more and more popular, vehicle manufacturers around the world started creating their own versions of the armored car.
Industrial business use
Financial Industry: The armored car is used to transport money from one destination to another safely. This benefits the bank because it gives the bank employees more time to work with the customers and provides a security net, to the owner knowing their money is in good hands.
Education Industry: Schools utilize the armored car for safely transporting money made by school fund raisers or cafeteria profits. Many universities have within their confines a university bank, and they may require the use of an armored car to handle large amounts of money.
Jewelry Industry: Many jewelers such as Jared, Kay, Rogers and Hollands, and Tiffany Co utilize armored cars to transport their valuable jewelry safely to their stores. Jewelers work with precious metals and valuable gemstones, they need to make sure that their work can be safely carried to the person who has ordered it.
Armored cars and popular culture
The Armored car has been utilized in many action films because of its worldwide recognition as a high security level vehicle. Some films include:
Armored Car Robbery (1950)
The Breaking Point (1960)
Armored (2009): Armored is an action movie starring Columbus Short, Matt Dillon, and Laurence Fishburne. In this particular film a handful of armored car guards decide to go rogue and rob one of their own armored vehicles carrying over 40 million dollars. The movie demonstrates how armored cars can still operate under extreme stress. The armored vehicle is shot at, bombarded by a series of explosives, and rammed by other vehicles. Even under these extreme conditions the guards inside of the armored car remained unscathed.
The Town (2010): The Town is an thriller/drama starring Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, and Jon Hamm. This film is about a group of bank robbers from Charlestown, Massachusetts, near Boston. The group robs an armored car prior to its delivering money to a bank. Afterwards, the team of thieves is given a job by the head crime boss in town, to rob Fenway Park. Once inside the park the thieves disguised as police officers fool the stadium guards and steal millions of dollars from the park. While trying to exit the stadium the thieves realize they are surrounded by the FBI with no way out. They make it down into the parking garage where the armored car is waiting to safely transport the money out of the stadium. The police enter the stadium and engage in a fire fight with the thieves. The thieves, knowing the armored car is bullet proof, use it to their advantage to take cover from the flying bullets. One of the thieves then uses the armored car to ram through the stadium garage door, creating a diversion which allows the rest of his fellow robbers to escape. The film depicted how armored cars are extremely bulletproof and can be used to smash through large barricades that may be in its way.
An armored shell and cab are customized on a basic van or truck chassis. These vehicles are designed to resist attempts at robbery or hijacking. Bullet-resistant glass and reinforced shell/cab are designed to handle bullets from most handguns and rifles.
Traffic Safety and Security
Some armoured cars in certain countries may be cleared to have flashing warning lights or sirens. Most armoured cars have a bull bar or extra strong bumper to ram blockades or other road objects if under attack. They normally have CCTV cameras which are watched by the driver, recorded in the van and also recorded at a control room in case the in van tape is stolen by thieves or attackers.
Most armored cars have 2 to 3 occupants:
- driver, who is normally never allowed to leave the vehicle until it returns to the garage
- 1-2 guards who deliver the cash or valuables
Depending on the jurisdiction, the guards are armed with weapons. Most carry small-caliber handguns or shotguns. In many jurisdictions these guards are required to have weapons training. They would also wear bullet-proof vests Six Member States of European Union prohibit weapons during CIT operations.
Guards wear ballistic vests and may or may not wear ballistic helmets.
List of firms using armored cars:
- Wells Fargo - sold to Loomis (now Loomis AB)
- Dunbar Armored
- Security Group
Despite their primary function as a safe means to transport valuable materials from one place to another armored cars are occasionally used for other purposes. For example, during the 1997 North Hollywood shootout, police officers in Los Angeles commandeered an armored car in order to extract wounded civilians and officers from the scene towards the end of the shootout.
- Hall-Geisler, Kristen. "How Armored Cars Work". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
- Weis, Bernard J, "Dollars at Your Doorstep, Mr. Bellamore's Bank-On-Wheels," p.54, Special Interest Autos #81, June 1984.
- "Diplomatic Security". Retrieved 2011-09-20.
- , A comparative overview of the legislations governing the Cash-in-transit private industry in the 15 EU members. CoESS / UNI-Europa joint Report. October 2004, p. 14.
- Critical Situation, "North Hollywood Shoot-out".
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