Do You Have a Burglar Friendly Home?
Don’t Become a Statistic, Protect Your Assets.
If you want peace of mind and trouble free deadbolt locks, have a professional install them. Usually a locksmith, this person can evaluate your existing doors and doorframes. S/he will also make sure that high security strike plates, and heavy duty screws that attach to the rough lumber door frame are used to install your new deadbolt locks. Smooth as silk lock operation is no accident. A skilled or experienced lock installer is required if you want your deadbolt locks to open and close effortlessly. Certain locks were designed to be virtually impossible to take apart by anyone other than a locksmith. They require special screwdrivers, pins, or wrenches, difficult or impossible to purchase at your local hardware store. Some locks come with these special tools, but are often lost by the homeowner. This is also true of electronic systems Hire a security professional who will ensure that the system is without faults that could interrupt the system in future.
Home Security, Locks Alarms
A home security system can make a family feel safe and give peace of mind. Home security monitoring systems alert you and your family if an intruder has made their way into the house, by monitoring all access and entryways, including doors and windows.
Home security systems can vary in complexity. They can be activated and deactivated with either a simple turn of the key or a keypad control panel. Some home security systems will detect only intrusion while others can also detect fire, burglary, and carbon monoxide presence.
We all want to feel safe and secure in our homes and one of the things that helps are the locks on our entrances. A good door lock will not only prevent an impulse burglar but can also discourage even professional thieves who will go looking for an easier target when facing a secure lock. Since we depend on our locks to keep the bad guys out of our homes, and since all locks aren’t the same, it’s important that we know something about locks.
Entrance doors should have good b locks. In practice this usually means a deadbolt lock (single or double cylinder), or a cylinder lock (again single or double).
The bolt is the part of the lock that goes into the doorframe and secures the door. Deadbolt locks are generally operated by turning a key (from the outside). Single deadbolts have a latch that you turn on the inside to lock or unlock it, while double deadbolts require a key to operate it from the inside as well.
A double cylinder lock might be mandatory if your door or door sidelights contain glass. Burglars routinely break the glass and then reach inside to operate the knob on a single cylinder deadbolt.
Keep in mind, though, that double cylinder deadbolts can prevent rapid exits from your home in the event of a fire or some other emergency. What’s more, a double cylinder lock on an egress (exit) door is against code in many locations. Be sure to check with your building authorities before you go to the trouble of purchasing and installing one.
The best deadbolt lock will not stop a determined burglar, but will in almost all cases thwart an amateur.
For many years deadbolt locks didn’t seem to keep pace with innovation. That has changed dramatically in recent years. You can get electronic keyless entry deadbolt locks, ones that contain motion detectors that illuminate the keyhole for dark locations, and ones that have a lifetime tarnish-free polished brass finish.
You can also get deadbolt locks that operate with a numerical keypad operated by a battery (a key is usually provided as well to deal with dead batteries). Simply punching in the correct code opens the lock.
The keyless entry deadbolts are very slick and come in handy if you come home with armfuls of groceries. They feature both audible and visual signals that tell you if the dead bolt is completely locked. The computer chip inside the lock can also be set to automatically lock the door after a child or forgetful mate leaves the house without locking the door. This deadbolt is also equipped with the latest rolling code technology. This means that shrewd burglars who try to grab the radio signal are wasting their time. The next time your deadbolt operates, it will randomly select a new entry code from 4 billion possibilities.
A simpler deadbolt that might interest you is one that guides your key into the slot with a soft light beam. The beam is created when you are within 5 feet of the lock. Once inside the lock has a small red indicator light that tells you whether or not the deadbolt has been locked.
All too often people feel that if they install a high quality deadbolt they will be safe and secure. A swift kick of a door can cause the actual door to break or the doorframe to split. In either case, the door can often be opened with the deadbolt lock still in the locked position.
Consider installing the deadbolt lock about 60 inches off the floor. At this height it doesn’t take the direct force of a kick delivered by an intruder.
These are usually used as auxiliary locks and are commonly mounted half way up a door. These locks also have single and double actions. The locking system is a horizontally or vertically mounted deadbolt that is unlocked with an outside key or a rotating handle on the inside. Once again, the double cylinder model uses a key both inside and out.
No matter what type of lock you have installed, the level of security it can provide is only as secure as the door itself. Builder’s locks often use short screws for mounting the strike plate and the door hinges. These short screws don’t penetrate all the way into the door framing and can be broken open by a hard kick. When you put in new locks, be sure that you or your renovator use screws long enough to actually penetrate into the door framing itself (probably 3″).
Electronic Alarm Systems For anyone concerned about safety, an alarm system is an excellent way to protect you while also keeping others out of harms’ way.
Household alarm systems no longer use that ugly tape around the windows to detect someone coming through the window itself — now they either use a vibrator sensor on the glass or a sound detector hidden someplace in the room that will only react to breaking glass.
An alarm system consists of a device that will alert the user of any unwanted or unknown activity around their property. They can be activated by sensors or by the user.
The idea of an alarm system is to bring attention to the activity so that further action may be taken or so the activity will be discouraged by the alarm itself. In the case of a driveway monitoring system a homeowner may simply want to know when guests are arriving so as to greet them. In other cases an alarm system in the home is usually for deterring intruders.
Home security systems will alert of a problem with very loud beeps and in some cases, accompanied by bright flashing lights. Once a home security system is activated it must be deactivated by entering in a code, turning the right key or, more recently, they can be turned off with a wireless remote for when keypad or control panel is inaccessible.
Other features included in home security systems include a quiet beeping when doors or windows are opened, which can be helpful for parents with small children who may quietly slip outside unsupervised. In addition to alerting the police or security dispatchers of a problem, home security systems come with yard signs to display that will alert any would-be burglars that your home is protected by a home security system.
Security in the Twenty-first Century
The Timex watch company has come out with a wristwatch that works like a zapper to turn on and off your home’s alarm system rather than running to the code button panel.
Some intercoms now have cameras attached to them so you not only talk to, but also see who is there, before opening the door or pushing that button to unlock an apartment door.
Having the house numbers light up is very useful. But this one goes much further. It has a remote device that ties into the telephone system. It detects if anyone dials 911 and will change the number light from white to a flashing red number to attract the attention of emergency vehicles.
Home Security Checklist
Assessing your home’s security is the first step in crime prevention.
You might also want to meet with your local police department’s crime prevention officer. Some departments will do a safety audit on your home.
Are your house and grounds visible from the street and from your neighbors’ homes? If all accesses are visible to neighbors or from the street, burglars are less likely to break in.
Does your property have a fence or other deterrent to discourage trespassing? Fences, although not impassable, act as a deterrent to burglars. Fences and hedges, however, can also conceal burglars. Therefore, a fence that you can see through is best.
Do all of your doors have outside lights? Well-lit entrances discourage burglary. Motion sensor lights are particularly effective. But your light bulbs should be protected to prevent breakage or tampering. Are the outside lights turned on at night? Are the light bulbs protected?
Are all of your doors and windows visible from all angles? Shrubbery, although pleasing to the eye, can provide a hiding place for a burglar. Pruning and exterior lighting to remove shadows may solve the problem. Also, keep in mind that such things as cars and sheds can block the view of entrances and windows.
Are your exterior doors and frames sturdy? More than just good locks, you need secure doors. The doorframe and hardware (hinges, locks and fasteners) form a mini-security system that is only as good as its weakest point.
Are windows in or near your doors protected from breakage? Windows should be made of treated (safety laminated or tempered) glass, wired glass, break-resistant acrylic or polycarbonate plastic. If not, you should replace them.
Have you taken precautions to ensure that your sliding patio doors cannot be lifted out of their tracks or pried open? Sliding patio doors are common points of entry for burglars. Most sliding patio doors have locks that hook into the frame. They can be pried open, cut or unhooked. To compensate for this lack of effectiveness, manufacturers have produced add-on security devices, such as jimmy plates, safety bars and auxiliary locks, which along with the lock, can provide a deterrent. Is your door hardware (locks, latches, handles, hinges, strike plate) durable and securely installed? Good-quality and properly installed door hardware is essential to securing entrances.
Does your front door have a viewer? The viewer should be of good quality to minimize distortion, allowing you to recognize visitors without opening the door. Also, ensure that the entrance is well lit. Door chains are an alternative, but most can be easily forced.
Do you have good quality basement windows with adequate locks and solid frames? Do the basement windows have treated or wired glass, break-resistant acrylic or polycarbonate plastic? Are they protected with security bars or decorative security grills? Basement windows are also common points of entry for burglars. Because they are so close to the ground, they are easily accessible and burglars can often break in undetected by hiding where windows are shielded by shadows, cars or shrubbery.
This paper is intended for informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein constitutes legal, financial or other professional advice. Transmission of these materials is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any relationship of any kind between the provider and the recipient. Some of these points may not apply in your area. Different term and conditions may vary from state to state and province to province. All articles, text and photographic material presented here is for the use and pleasure of the recipient only.Download PDF