The doors are one of the most common means of entry for burglars. Burglars prefer entering through doors because they arouse less suspicion than entering through a window. Your doors should be locked at all times; whether you are in the house or not.
Many residential doors feature hollow-core construction and poor locks, which are easily forced or kicked open. For additional protection, you need solid core doors and quality locks. If you have a hollow-core door, a metal screen door would add protection. However a mesh screen door does not.
Sliding glass doors
Many burglars enter homes through improperly secured sliding doors. Most of the doors have a poor locking device that can be easily forced or pried open. The door can also be forced off track and then removed. Additional locks and security measures will prevent the door from being opened or lifted out of the track.
Screws installed in the track above the sliding door frame will prevent the door from being lifted out of the track. Drill a pilot hole in the top track above, and slightly in, from each corner of the sliding door frame section and install a screw into each hole. Adjust the screws so that the head of the screw just barely clears the frame when it is moved back and forth. Auxiliary patio door locks may also be purchased and install easily
Many residences have double doors with one door active and the other stationary or inactive. These type doors should have a good high-quality deadbolt lock that has a tight fit. A loose fit may have the deadbolt unlock without you knowing. It is recommended to have the deadbolt on top and bottom of the door and mounted into a solid doorframe.
Doors with windows
Doors with glass windows or glass ornamentation it is recommended to have a double key deadbolt locks. This prevents the burglar from breaking the glass and reaching inside to unlock the door. The key to a double key deadbolt lock should be left in the lock at all times when someone is home to ensure easy exit in the event of a fire or other emergency. Doors that do contain glass or thin decorative wood panels, should be reinforced with decorative iron, grillwork, or unbreakable glass.
Garage doors should be closed at all times. Leaving the garage open a few inches, to air out, allows a small person to enter your garage and possibly your residence.
To secure your garage, a cane bolt is recommended. A cane bolt (photo above) on each side will prevent a person from prying the door open to create a crawl space. Any door leading from the garage into the house should be securely locked. The more barriers you provide against the burglar, the better protected you are.
If your door hinges are located on the outside of the door, they should contain un-removable hinges or internal pins should be inserted so the door cannot be lifted from the outside.
If the hinges are exposed, they should be spot welded or pinned. You can also use the “throw-on deadbolt”. This can be done by inserting a pin by removing the two center screws from the door’s hinges and insert a headless screw so when the door is closed, the headless screw goes into the other removed screw hole thus preventing the door from being lifted out.
Using a door peephole is a good, inexpensive way for you to view whomever is outside your door without actually opening the door. The best door viewer is a 180-degree viewer. Remember: never open the door to any stranger until you have checked out that stranger and if there presence is proper.
Spring Latch. Some homes come equipped with this lock. It offers very little protection since the bolt can be slipped with a credit card or knife. This same lock, with a deadbolt latch, provides more protection, but it too can be forced open.
Deadbolt locks. A deadbolt lock can provide good protection. When you turn the key, the lock mechanism slides a strong metal bolt from the door into the frame. When you buy a deadbolt lock, make sure that the bolt extends at least one inch from the edge of the door, the connecting screws that hold the lock together are on the inside of the door, the strike plate is attached to the door frame with screws that measure at least three inches in length and that the cylinder has a steel guard around the key section. The cylinder guard should be tapered or rotate freely around the key section to prevent wrenching if it is twisted.
Single cylinder deadbolt. A solid bolt, activated by a key from the outside or a knob on the inside, slides into the doorframe. The lock cannot be slipped or easily pried. Deadbolt locks are only as good as the door and frame they are installed in.
Double cylinder deadbolt. This lock is basically the same as the single cylinder deadbolt, except that it requires a key to be used from either side to function.
Rim lock. This lock has either horizontal or vertical deadbolts. It cannot be easily slipped, pried or forced with a wrench. This lock, like all others, requires a strong mounting surface and hardware to be effective.
When selecting padlocks to secure your garage door, storage shed, fence gate or toolbox, do not economize. Low-priced locks are made from low quality materials and easily pried open or cut with bolt cutters. Look for these features when purchasing a padlock:
- Double locking shackle at the toe and heel
- Hardened steel shackle, the larger the diameter the better
- Five pin tumbler
- Key retaining feature (prevents removal of the key when unlocked)
- A strong steel hasp used with the padlock
Sliding glass windows should be given the same security treatment as arcadia doors. Use the same supplementary locks or screws in the frame. Screws installed in the track above the sliding window frame will prevent the window from being lifted out of the track.
Drill a pilot hole in the top track above each corner of the window frame and install a screw into each hole. Adjust the screws so that the head of the screw just barely clears the frame when it is moved back and forth.
Casement - Crank windows. These windows are easily secured. The latch should close properly with the window tight. With the latch in a closed position, drill a small hole through the latch frame and handle. Insert a metal pin through the hole to lock the window. For additional security, a small padlock can be used in place of the pin. Key operated replacement latches are also available from a locksmith or hardware store. Keep the key handy in case of emergency.
Double hung windows. An easy, inexpensive way to secure your windows is to use the "pin" trick. Drill an angled hole through the top frame of the lower window partially into the frame of the upper window. Then insert the pin (a nail or an eyebolt that is slightly smaller in diameter than the hole). The window can't be opened until you remove the pin. Make a second set of holes with windows partially open so you can have ventilation without inviting intruders.
You also may purchase special key locks for windows at a hardware store.