Tip 1: Doors
In about half of burglaries, thieves enter through the front door, and about 80% of break-ins are committed through a door - be it front, patio, basement, sliding glass or garage. In some cases, doors are unlocked but, in most cases, victims have inadequate doors, frames and locks. Strong, well-built doors and doorways are one of the best defenses against break-ins. Today, many newer homes are built with inexpensive, hollow doors, in which wood veneer covers a light framework. Exterior doors should always be solid and at least 1-3/4 inches thick at every entrance, except when the door is sliding glass.
The most solid doors on the planet will not stop a thief if there is glass in and around the door. Typically, in these situations, burglars break the glass, put their hand through the hole, and open the door from the other side. If you have glass either built into the door or located right beside the door, here are four ways you can improve the security:
- Windows around the doors can be replaced with glass brick, an attractive but sturdy substitute.
- Doors with hollow construction containing windows can be replaced with solid construction doors.
- Windows can be replaced with the more resistant-wired windows, or with Plexiglas or Lexan.
- Windows can be covered with a specially treated, transparent film (our personal favourite and the most practical). While the window will still break if it is smashed, it’s highly impenetrable because the film is so strong that it holds all of the glass in place.
As a building settles and changes with the environment, doorframes warp. Doors should fit snugly in their frames, so that it is difficult to insert a credit card, a screwdriver, or a crowbar into the separating space. Further, doorframes should be secured to the supporting studs with 3” screws. Anything less is just too easy to rip or kick out.
Doors that swing out have their hinges on the outside, and present an opportunity to simply pop the hinge pins with a screwdriver and remove the door. There are three ways to fix the problem:
- Flatten both ends of the hinge pin so that it can’t be removed.
- From the inside, drill small holes through the hinge and into the pin. Screw in a tiny screw, so that the pin cannot be pulled out without first taking out the internal screw.
- Take out one of the screws that fastens the hinge to the door and replace it with a small peg. Ensure that there is a corresponding hole on the other side for the peg to go into when the door is shut. Even if the pins are removed, the door will not come out of the frame until the peg is removed.
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