Crime statistics are always concerning – those close to home, startling. Ensuring our personal security, being in control, and maintaining some peace of mind of are among our top priorities.
Fortunately, it is not difficult or expensive to take basic steps toward securing your home. Research by the National Crime Prevention Institute indicates that burglars generally will work no longer than 60 seconds to obtain entry. So, making it difficult for thieves to enter your home is an important first step to enabling your peace of mind.
The following tips are provided to help you secure your home.
Use the locks and security systems
It is reported that almost half of all residential burglaries, are the result of crooks simply walking through unlocked doors or crawling through unlocked windows? Criminals look for vulnerabilities. The open door, broken window, the one without the security system, all provide a perfect “no force” entry.
So, use the available locks. Secure your windows. “Arm” your security system, when you are away.
Check the doors
All exterior doors should be metal or solid-core, 1 ¾” hardwood. Most hollow doors can be easily broken through. The doors should fit tightly in their frames, with generally no more than 1/8” clearance between the door and the frame.
Doors should be installed with hinges on the inside of the door, so that the hinges cannot easily be removed.
Install a peephole or a wide angle viewer in entry doors, so that you can see who is outside. Do not count on door chains, as they are easily broken or pulled out.
Use vertical bolts on sliding doors so burglars cannot gain entry by lifting them off the track.
Check the locks and latches
Make sure that the exterior doors have sound and functional locks. Select keyed doorlocks with a massive interlocking chassis for added resistance to break-ins. The hardware and trim should be durable. Deadbolts should extend a full 1 inch into the strike plate of the jamb. The strike plate on the jamb should be secured to the door framework with 2-3” screws.
Better: Consult with your professional locksmith. Your locks are your first line of defense. Be sure that they offer patented key control to guard against unauthorized key duplication and are resistant to picking and drilling.
Know who has copies of your keys
Change locks if keys are lost or stolen. If you have recently moved in, change all door locks as soon as possible. The potential for theft by use of unauthorized keys is staggering. Just think of all the people who have keys, from housekeepers to childcare providers to contractors. Then, think of all the places where duplicate keys can be made, from hardware stores to drug stores.
Better: Look for specialized keys that require your authorization to make copies and can only be duplicated by a professional locksmith.