Burglary Prevention: Some Things To Check At Your Home
- Residential doors should be solid core doors that are 1 3/8 inches thick and should be secured by a deadbolt lock. The deadbolt lock must lock with a minimum bolt lock throw of one inch that penetrates a metal strike plate. If the door secured by the dead bolt has breakable glass within 40 inches of the lock, the lock must be operated from both sides.
- Metal doors should be secured by deadbolt locks as described above.
- The key to a double-key, deadbolt lock should be left in the lock at all times when someone is home. This is necessary to ensure an easy exit in the event of a fire or other emergency.
- Double doors should meet the specifications for exterior doors as listed above; have the inactive door secured by header and threshold bolts that penetrate a metal strike plate; and, in case of glass located within 40 inches of the header and threshold bolts, have the bolts flush-mounted in the edge of the door.
- Sliding glass doors should be secured by secondary locking devices to prevent lifting and prying, such as pinning the doors. Drill a pilot hole in the top rack above each corner of the door frame and install a screw into each hole. Adjust the screw so that the head of the screw just barely clears the frame when it is moved back and forth. Note that it is optional to install more than two screws.
- Standard locks on garage doors are easily pried, allowing a burglar access to your home without detection. Cane bolts and hasps are excellent protection. Make certain each side of the garage door is secured to prevent prying open a crawl space. Using 3- or 4-inch (or larger) C-clamps on the garage door track will also help to show down the would-be burglary.
- The entry doors should be pinned to the door frame. This can be easily done by removing two opposing screws from each leaf of the hinge. Screw a lag bolt into the frame side of the hinge leaf and saw off the head leaving about ½ inch protruding. Drill out the opposite hole to allow the bolt to enter when the door is closed. Do this to the top and bottom hinge plates. By doing this, you will have reinforced the security of the door and by utilizing the strength of the door frame.
- To avoid opening your door without knowing who is there, install a door viewer. This device has a wide angle lens to let you see someone standing outside your door without opening it. If possible, install a door viewer that gives a 190-degree view.
Spring Latch Locks
- This type of lock offers very little protection. 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.
- 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.
- The cylinder has a steel guard around the key section. The cylinder guard should be tapered or able to rotate freely around the key section to prevent wrenching if it is twisted.
Single-Cylinder Dead Bolt
- A solid bolt, activated by a key from the outside or a knob on the inside, slides into the door frame. The lock cannot be slipped or easily pried. Deadbolt locks are only as good as the door and frame in which they are installed.
Double-Cylinder Dead Bolt
- This lock is basically the same as the single-cylinder dead bolt, except that it requires a key to be used from either side to function.
- This lock has either horizontal or vertical dead bolts. 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 tool boxes, do not economize. Low-priced locks are made from low quality materials and are easily pried open or cut with bolt cutters. Look for these features when purchasing a padlock:
- Double-locking shackle at the toe and heel
- A hardened steel shackle, the larger the diameter the better
- Five pin tumbler
- A key retaining feature (prevents removal of the key when unlocked)
- A strong steel hasp should be used with the padlock.
- Use 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 screw so that the head of the screw just barely clears the frame when it is moved back and forth.
- An easy, inexpensive way to secure your window 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. The insert the pin (a nail or an eye bolt which 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 may also purchase special key locks for windows at a hardware store, or C-clamp type of window locks.
The Kirby Police Department has several officers that are certified to conduct a home security survey and to make the necessary recommendations to improve the security of a home and to qualify the home for a homeowner's insurance premium reduction. Call the Kirby Police Department at (210) 661-8515 to arrange a time convenient for an inspection.