Tips: Lock Crime out of Your Home
Making your home safer from crime
doesn’t always mean having to
install expensive alarms -- effective
home security starts with properly
locked doors and windows and
visible, well-lighted entryways.
All exterior doors should be either metal or solid
wood. For added security, use strong door hinges
on the inside of the door, with non-removable or
hidden pins. Every entry door should be welllighted
and have a wide-angle door viewer so you
can see who is outside without opening the door.
Strong, reliable locks are essential to effective
home security. Always keep doors and windows
locked—even a five-minute trip to the store is
long enough for a burglar to enter your home.
Use quality keyed knobs as well as deadbolts --
deadbolts can withstand the twisting, turning, prying,
and pounding that regular keyed knobs can’t.
When choosing a deadbolt, look for such features
as a bolt that extends at least one inch when in the
locked position, to resist ramming and kicking; hardened
steel inserts to prevent the bolt from being
sawed off, and a reinforced strike plate with extralong
mounting screws to anchor the lock effectively.
Most deadbolts are single-cylinder; they operate
from the outside with a key and from the inside
with a thumb latches.
require a key to open the lock from both outside
and inside your home.These locks are especially
effective for doors with glass within 40 inches of
the lock -- an intruder cannot break the glass and
unlock the door by reaching through.
Some jurisdictions do not allow these locks --
check with your local law enforcement or building
code authorities before installing a double cylinder
deadbolt. As one alternative, security glazing can
be applied to glass panels in or near the door, or
shatterproof glass can be installed, though these
options can be expensive.
Sliding Glass Doors
Sliding glass doors can offer easy entry into your
home.To improve security on existing sliding glass
doors, you can install keyed locking devices that
secure the door to the frame; adjust the track
clearances on the doors so they can’t be pushed
out of their tracks; or put a piece of wood or a
metal bar in the track of the closed door to
prevent the door from opening even if the lock is
jimmied or removed.
Most standard double-hung windows have thumbturn
locks between the two window panels. Don’t
rely on these -- they can be pried open or easily
reached through a broken pane. Instead, install
keyed locking devices to prevent the window from
being raised from the outside, but make sure
everyone in the house knows where to find the
keys in case of an emergency. Some jurisdictions
have restrictions on this type of lock—check with
your local law enforcement before you install them.
An easy, inexpensive way to secure your windows
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.Then
insert a nail or eyebolt.The window can’t be
opened until you remove the nail. Make a second
set of holes with the windows partly opened so
you can have ventilation without intruders.
Lighting is one of the most cost-effective deterrents
to burglary. Indoor lighting gives the
impression that a home is occupied. If you are
going to be away from your home, consider using
automatic timers to switch interior lights on and
off at preset times.
Outdoor lighting can eliminate hiding places.
Install exterior lighting near porches, rear and
side doorways, garage doors, and all other points
of entry. Entryways to your home always should
be well lighted. Place lights out of reach from
the ground so the bulbs cannot be removed or
broken.Aim some lights away from the house so
you can see if anyone is approaching, or install
motion-sensing lights, which turn on automatically
as someone approaches.
Shrubs and Landscaping
Your home’s walkways and landscaping should
direct visitors to the main entrance and away from
private areas.The landscaping should provide
maximum visibility to and from your house.Trim
shrubbery that could conceal criminal activity near
doors and windows. Provide light on areas of
dense shrubs and trees that could serve as hiding
places. Cut back tree limbs that could help thieves
climb into windows, and keep yard fencing low
enough too avoid giving criminals places to hide.