What is the security of your family worth? Is it priceless? I am a third generation master locksmith and have been working in this industry for over 25 years. That being said, I would like to provide you with a professional insight into the proper locking systems and hardware used to secure your most precious asset, your family. Before I begin, I am going to take this opportunity to point out that contrary to the over-zealous salesmanship of your local locksmith extraordinaire, there are simply no locking systems of any variant that cannot be compromised.
So what can you do to protect your home?
Each exterior door should have the following hardware: deadbolt, single sided deadbolt, re-enforced kick proof strikes, 3” door hinge screws, door viewer, well lit exterior lighting, and a monitored home alarm system (never underestimate the security benefits of a good size house dog). All windows and glass panes should be treated with a burglar resistant film along with window locking hardware. I will not be discussing door knob locks or handle sets in this article. They provide little to no resistance to the determined intruder and should never be relied upon as a source of security.
Tip 1 – Deadbolts
Single Cylinder – these deadbolts require a key to operate the lock from the outside and have a thumbturn on the inside. This type of deadbolt is designed for solid metal or wooden doors that do not have panes of glass or windows within 40 inches of your door locks.
Double Cylinder – these deadbolts require a key to operate the lock from the outside as well as the inside. This type of deadbolt is designed for doors that have panes of glass or windows within 40 inches of your door locks. This style of deadbolt prevents the would-be intruder from punching out the glass, reaching in and unlocking your door. *It should be noted that this type of lock poses a potential fire hazard. Remember to always have extra keys strategically placed throughout your home in the event of a fire.
Tip 2 – Single Sided Deadbolts
Thumb Turn Style – these deadbolts have only a thumb-turn on the inside of the door making it invisible to the outside intruder. This provides an added level of security when you are in your home. As with single cylinder deadbolts, this type of lock is designed for solid metal or wooden doors that do not have panes of glass or windows within 40 inches of your door locks.
Keyed Style – these deadbolts function the same way as the thumb-turn style. However, in order to lock the deadbolt you must use a key allowing this type of lock to be used on doors with glass panes. *It should be noted that this type of lock poses a potential fire hazard. Remember to always have extra keys strategically placed throughout your home in the event of a fire.
Tip 3 – Re-enforced Kick Proof Strikes
Kicking in your door is the easiest and most common way for a criminal to gain entry into your home. The FBI reported that 2010 burglaries of residential properties accounted for 73.9 percent of all burglary offenses; 60.5 percent involved forced entry. (source: fbi.gov) There are a variety of different kick proof strike plates on the market today; I recommend “rebar door security device” by KickProof®. Visit kickproof.com for more information.
Tip 4 – Door Hinges
All exterior door hinges should be remounted using 3 to 4 inch #10 screws. This allows the screw to pass through the .5” trim, the 1” air gap where the frame shimming is, and into the actual 2 x 4 stud that the door frame is attached to. *note: be careful not to over tighten hinge screws; you can pull the frame out of plum by over torquing.
Tip 5 – Door Viewers
Know whose friend or foe before opening your door. A peephole or door viewer should be installed on every accessible exterior door. I recommend a door viewer. Standard conventional peepholes only give a very limited view where as a door viewer provides a larger panoramic view of what’s lurking outside.
Tip 6 – Window Locks & Burglar Resistant Film
Your windows are the weakest link to home security. However, there are products on the market that will add an additional level of protection to your home. Armor Glass® is a protective film that “armors your glass” from breach by burglars. This product is designed to deflect burglars, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, vandals, explosions as well as block out 99% of harmful UV rays. Visit their website for more information. Most windows on the market today come with standard locking mechanisms. As an added measure of security, I recommend stand-alone keyed or mechanical window locks that can be purchased at your local hardware or home improvement store. These locks are easily installed and do not require the expertise of a locksmith.
Tip 7 – Double Doors & Sliding Glass Doors
Double or sliding glass doors offer little security and both should be replaced with a single solid metal or wooden door. If replacing is not an option, here are a few tips:
Double doors – one of the doors should be made stationary by a slide bolt interlocking the upper and lower halves of the door. The active door should be secured by a deadbolt and keyless deadbolt (see above). If the door has glass panes, it is recommended the glass be treated with a protective film (see Window Locks & Burglar Resistant Film above) as well as a double cylinder deadbolt and a keyed style one sided deadbolt (see Deadbolts above).
Sliding glass doors – the most effective way to secure a sliding glass door is with a Charlie bar and a burglar resistant film applied to the glass (see Window Locks & Burglar Resistant Film above).
Home invasion robbery is potentially one of the most dangerous and frightening crimes that can occur to a family. The first line of defense between your family and a would-be intruder is prevention, “one man’s paranoia is another man’s preparation.” Whether you choose our company or one of our competitors, we urge you to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.
If you still have questions, leave us a comment below or give us a call at 972-914-9446 and chat with one of our master locksmiths. We offer free estimates along with a security assessment of your home.
Your peace of mind is our priority!