The bulk of would-be thieves rely on unsecured doors to gain access to homes, making them a critical focus of your home security planning.
It may come as a bit of a surprise to many, but in roughly 70% of break-ins, the burglar in question got inside the home they targeted through an unsecured door. Front doors, back or side doors, sliding patio doors, and even garage doors are favorite entry points for home invaders. While you might assume windows would make for easier access, being made of more fragile materials than the average front door, that’s by and large not the case.
There are a few reasons to force entry through a door as opposed to a window. Aside from being more conveniently accessible, a burglar is less likely to draw attention to themselves if they’re messing with a door than they would messing with a window. It’s also easier to slip inside unnoticed when there is no visible damage or disruption to the outside of your home. Someone might notice a window screen that’s been cut or taken out of the frame and call the police while the thief is still inside.
Bottom line – in order to keep your home safe and secure, you need to make sure your doors are burglar-proofed.
This starts with the door itself. Ideally, you’ll want a front door that is solid wood – or at least has a solid wood core. Your doors should be kick-proof and reinforced, particularly around the lock-area to avoid bending or breaking if someone attempts to pry the door open. The door should also be windowless since a window presents an obvious weak point that can be smashed to provide access to the lock or locks.
If you decide that having a window in your front door is important to you, make sure you choose one that has reinforced glass or incorporates decorative bars or metal reinforcement in the design. If the window is within reach of the door handle or deadbolt, install a secondary lock that can’t be accessed through the window.
Regardless of the type of door, you have installed, or where in your home an exterior door is located, you’ll want to have a sturdy deadbolt in place. A door is only as tough as its lock, and a good lock extends far enough into the doorframe to make your door kick-proof.
With patio doors, this is a little trickier. Choose one with reinforced glass to deter burglars from simply smashing their way in, and invest in a steel bar or section of wooden doweling that can be placed inside the track to keep the door from being slid open if the lock is bypassed. Whatever material you choose, the rod needs to be no more than 1/4″ shorter than the track length to be effective. Curtains or blinds that obstruct the view into your home are a smart investment here as well.
Don’t leave your doorframes out of this equation, either. A flimsy strike plate makes your deadbolt all but useless, so make sure that your doorframes have, at minimum, a deep box strike installed and secured with 3″ or longer screws. Reinforcing the doorframe with galvanized steel where possible will also help your door stand up to brute force.
The best defenses, however, are the ones that can’t be seen from the outside. If your door already has a main and secondary deadbolt in place, consider adding a third that can only be engaged from the inside. This offers added protection and peace of mind when you and your loved ones are all home for the night, watching TV, relaxing, or fast asleep.
Now that you’ve made the doors themselves as impenetrable as possible, it’s time to focus on what’s around your doors. Any shrubbery or trees that hide entry points from the view of the street or your neighbors need to go. You might think you’re giving your family a bit of privacy, but in reality, all you’re doing is providing a burglar with the cover they need to get inside your home unseen.
Finally, you’ll want to install a home security system that includes sensors on each and every entry point of your home. Your system should include not just door sensors, but motion sensors, window sensors, and if you do have a patio door, vibration sensors that can detect glass being cracked or broken. Which type of security system you choose will depend on the size and layout of your home, and in the case of motion sensors, whether you have small children or pets.
There are a number of great home security options available to choose from both commercially and from licensed home security companies. Speaking with professionals who can help you to find the right solution for your home is the best way to make sure you’ll be protected, no matter what.
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