The FBI says that the most common threat to your home is burglary, there were about 1,500,000 burglaries (both residential and non-residential) reported in 2015. In 58% of those reported burglaries, the thieves gained access to the structure through forcible entry. Burglars tend to target homes that they can easily get into and out of without drawing any attention.

After reading that you may be thinking about taking the next step to protect your home and all the people, animals, and things in it, but you may not know how to go about it without signing up for an expensive, long-term home security system. Lucky for you, here are some simple home security tips that will harden your home's entry points.

Doors:

Door frame with hardware termscut out of door with hardware names

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The problems?

  1. In general, a door frame is made of a thin plank of wood typically ½-inch to ¾-inch thick (the thin door frame then fits into the structural frame of your home made of 2x4 studs). The trim around the door frame is susceptible to splitting when kicked or hit with a great enough force; this is problematic because the strike plates are held in place by the door frame.
  2. The screws used to attach the strike plates to the door frame may be short screws, around ¾-inch, this means they are only anchoring the strike plates to the door frame, not the stud underneath.
  3. If the door frame is not properly fitted into the structural opening, an intruder could use a crowbar to pry the door frame away from the door.
  4. Poorly made locks can be picked or bumped open.

The solutions?

  • Generally, exterior facing doors are made of a sturdy material, like metal or solid wood. If the door is not tough, it will break apart when kicked.
  • Does your door frame run flush with the underlying structural studs, or have shims inserted into the gap? Having a door frame run flush with the studs will prevent someone from using a crowbar to pry open your door. This is also necessary if you plan on following the next step.
  • Replace all ¾-inch screws holding the strike plates, throwbolt and latch in place with 3-inch screws. This will increase the overall strength of the door by using the strength of the structural studs underneath the door frame to keep the strike plates in place and using more of the door to keep the throwbolt and latch in place.
  • If you are concerned about your door frame splitting you can purchase a kick plate kit. You install metal guards over the strike plates, throwbolt and latch. This gives you the added protection of the metal keeping the throwbolt and latch stationary should the door frame split.
  • Easy peasy; install quality locks that protect against picking or bumping attempts. Keep track of all the people whom you've given a key to, and make sure they are trustworthy.

Sliding doors:

The problems?

    1. The type of latch used to lock a sliding door can be forced open from the outside.
    2. The sliding panel of the door can be lifted off of the tracks.
sliding door latch with hardware namesThe solutions?
  • If the hook on your sliding door fails, you can still secure the door by using a secondary lock such as a wooden or metal dowel placed along the tracks of the sliding panel of the door. In addition there are other secondary locks specifically designed for sliding doors, but the most important thing to look for is, that the lock cannot be unlocked from the outside.
  • To keep your sliding door from being lifted out of its frame; first, the sliding panel of the door needs to be on the inside track and the stationary panel of the door on the outside track. Second, you want to see that the door fits snugly on the rails and finally, all the components of the door must be in proper working order and well maintained.

Windows:

The problem?

    1. Sash locks can be unlatched in a similar way to a sliding door’s latch.
    2. Windows can slide open enough for a person to fit through.
sash lock for windows with part namesThe solution?
  • Install a window bar that blocks the window from being slid open.
  • A window bar or other secondary lock can be set so the window will not open past a certain point. It is important to make sure that the window bar or other secondary lock does not interfere with your home evacuation plan if you have to leave your home through a window in an emergency.

Strengthening your home’s entry points is a good way to deter a thief from breaking in. It is important to note that these security measures will only be effective if you use them correctly. Everyone in the house should be on the same page when it comes to home security because your home is only as strong as its weakest entry point.

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