Home burglars look for the easiest way into your house. They don't want to spend much time or make much noise when trying to get in. If your front and back doors are formidable enough, the burglar may move on to the next house to find an easier target. Here are three ways that you can stop a thief at the door and protect your home from a break-in.
1. Make sure that your locks are top quality.
Have a locksmith inspect the locks on your front and back doors for construction and materials. The highest quality locks are made of solid steel and rated ANSI Grade 1. Locks formed by a casting process can be cracked by a blow from a hammer. Inferior materials can allow a thief to saw through the bolt on a deadbolt. Solid steel locks are shatter-proof and difficult to cut through without taking a long time and making a lot of noise.
2. Address any gaps between the door and the frame.
If your house has settled and the door is slightly out of alignment in the frame, there may be a widening gap between the door and the frame. This will let a thief get a saw blade onto the bolt to try to cut through it. If the gap is wide enough, the burglar may try to force the door away from the frame enough to clear the bolt from the frame. Some ways to fix problems with a gap include:
- Install a lock with an extra long bolt that extends into the frame at least one inch.
- Replace standard deadbolts which are installed inside the door with an external mounted deadbolt. This lock mounts on the surface of the door inside the house and places the bolt out of reach of a thief.
- Install metal strips on the edge of the door and along the door frame to reduce the gaps.
- Re-hang the door in the frame and reduce the gaps by using shims under the hinges.
3. Reinforce the installation of the deadbolt locks to prevent a thief from bypassing them.
A high quality deadbolt that hasn't been installed properly won't protect your home. Fix the following installation issues to get the most from your lock.
- Use solid steel, extra long wood screws when installing the deadbolt and strike plate so they can't be pried out of the wood.
- Replace standard strike plate with solid steel reinforced plates. These use a steel box over the hole through which the bolt slides into the frame. The box prevents the bolt from being force through a weak door frame.