Surprisingly most house burglaries (70%) occur through a door (front, back or garage) as opposed to a window. If the door entry is left opened or unlocked, the burglar simply walks in. Otherwise it is just a swift kick that breaks an old or weakly secure door. In the past we have offered tips on home security, the behavior of home burglars, how to burglar-proof your home windows, and other related home security topics. We now offer suggestions on how a little time and investment in your doors will significantly help you avoid being a statistic and protect your home and family.
- It Starts With A Solid Door – Like the entrance to a castle, the entrance to your home begins with the strength of its doors to withstand a frontal burglar attack. All exterior doors need to be constructed of solid materials: wood, wood core, fiberglass or metal. If the exterior doors are hollow (sheets of veneer over a cardboard core) they need to be replaced since they offer no protection from forced entry. For metal doors, they require an interior reinforcement and a lock block to prevent them from being pried open.
- No Window In Door – Having a window in an exterior door, while aesthetically pleasing, simply compromises your home security. If you are installing new exterior doors, avoid them. For existing doors with windows, they should be of reinforced glass or use decorative metal reinforcement or bars. If the door´s interior lock is within arms reach of the window, consider adding a secondary door lock away from reach of a potential burglar.
- Lock Your Doors – As previously mentioned, 30% of burglaries are due to exterior doors not being locked. It doesn’t make any difference of what type of exterior door or locks you have if they are not being used. It´s simple, lock all exterior doors (including the garage door) when you go out or are alone inside.
- Install Deadbolt Locks – All exterior doors should have a deadbolt lock to complement the keyed lock built into the doorknob. Choose a high quality, solid metal deadbolt lock with a throw bolt (the bolt that comes out of the door) of at least one inch long. Quality of construction is important here and you should not compromise. Additionally you can also consider adding a one-sided deadbolt that does not have a keyed exterior access, which you can use while you are inside your home. Remember you want to make it difficult for a burglar to enter through the door, so that they go elsewhere.
- Strengthen Your Exterior Door Locks – To prevent burglars from removing or damaging door lock cylinders (the part where you insert your key) by hammering, wrenching or prying, you can install cylinder guards around them. These are metal guard plates or protective rings on both sides of the door will make life harder for a determined burglar.
- Reinforce the Exterior Door Frame – Your door and locks are secured to the door frame. Even if you have a high quality door and locks, a burglar may gain entry by breaking or prying the door frame. Many door frames (jambs) are simply tacked to the wall and can be easily separated and broken. To prevent this secure your door frames directly to the wall studs by installing 3-inch screws. Also, you will need to ensure that the strike plates (the metal that surrounds the lock-set) are heavy duty grade and are secured by 3-inch screws directly into the wall studs and not simply the door jamb.
- Reinforce Exterior Sliding Doors – Make sure that your sliding doors are made from reinforced glass or polycarbonate to prevent breakage from a burglar. Review the type and quality of the door lock as mentioned before. Place a metal rod or wooden dowel in the track to prevent movement of the doors being forced open. Install flathead screws on the upper part of the frame so that they graze the tops of the doors to prevent them from being pried upwards out of the frame track. The metal frame should to be mounted to the interior studs via 3-inch screws. If you own a home security system, you should have glass breakage and motion detectors installed. Finally, have curtains installed on the inside to maintain privacy and limit visibility of your home from the outside.
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