Intruder Deterrents

Helping to protect your home and family from burglary means that you have to make your home more difficult to enter. Consider the following tips and information:

Lock Your Doors, Windows and Garages

No kidding—unlocked windows and doors continue to provide easy access to the lazier thief. An open window that is visible from the street may be the one reason your home is selected.

The favored door entry points are the well-covered back door and the garage door. Burglars know that people are more likely to put heavy locks on their main front door and less secure locks on others. Garages frequently have door access right into the house. These doors are routinely forgotten by the resident. Once into the garage, the burglar also has complete access to a wide array of useful “thief enabler” tools, ladders or even spare sets of keys to the house and cars. Always lock your car, even in the garage.

Summer brings with it some added risks. An increasingly common approach in the summer months is for the thief to enter an unlocked front door while the residents are distracted—perhaps entertaining on the patio out back—waiting for their next guest to let themselves in the front door.

Quick Recap:

  • Use additional blocking devices on all accessible windows, still allowing for adequate ventilation and escape in the event of a fire.
  • Use devices on windows that will prevent them from being lifted out.
  • Place your alarm decals, Beware of Dog decals or Neighborhood Watch stickers on all accessible windows.

Check the Quality of Your Locks and Doors

The most common way to force entry through a door with a wooden frame is to kick it open. Burglars know that the strike plate that holds the latch or lock bolt in place is a construction weakness. It makes sense to upgrade to a four-screw, heavy-duty, high-security strike plate. The extra expense is worthwhile because this one step alone will deter most forced entries through a door. Upgrade your doors to solid core or metal for all entrance points. If you choose wood, invest in heavy-duty strike plates that have long screws.

Install quality, heavy-duty one-inch dead-bolt locks on each exterior door, including the door leading to the garage. Double-cylinder locks that require a key to open from the inside provide additional security.

Equip your entrance doors with wide-angle peepholes (180°) mounted not higher than 60 inches.

Secure Your Sliding Doors

Sliding glass doors are a prime target for burglars—generally in the back of the home and often open in warm weather. Even when closed and latched, the most common mode of entry, apart from breaking the glass in the door, is for the burglar to pry the door near the latch and lift the door off the track.

A simple stick is all you may need to give you the protection you need. The stick should be cut to a length that, when inserted in the bottom track of your sliding door, between door and frame, ensures that the door has no give. You can also install pin devices that prevent lifting by extending through both the sliding and fixed portions of the door.

Quick Recap:

  • Use a blocking device on sliding glass doors.
  • Maintain your latches and door rollers in good, properly adjusted condition.
  • Install anti-lift mechanisms—e.g., door pins.
  • Place your alarm decals, beware of dog decals or Neighborhood Watch decals right near the latch.

Never Hide a Key Outside

Burglars know all the hiding places. The fact that the key is still there also does not mean it has not been duplicated. If you must, leave a key with your trusted neighbor. Any lost key is a need to change the locks as soon as possible.

Next: Away from Home