Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tips for Safe and Secure Doors and Windows

Locks for the windows and doors are the most basic of all home security equipment. Good quality locks will help to deter break-ins, and while it is true that a determined burglar can foil many locks, most burglars are simply looking for the easiest target. You can therefore greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim by installing the right locks.

There are a number of excellent tips for selecting the best locks for your doors and windows, and some of the best are listed below.

Ø Ask your local police department to conduct a home security audit on your home, or ask a local locksmith to look at your home and make recommendations.

Ø Replace the typical hollow-core entry doors that probably came with your home with a solid hardwood door at least 1 3/4 inches thick, or choose insulated fiberglass or steel clad doors. Be sure that the door frame does not have any gaps that would be wide enough to fit a pry bar into.

Ø When installing exterior doors, place the hinges on the inside. A burglar can easily pop out an exterior hinge and remove the door, hinges and all.

Ø Instead of a keychain, install a 180 degree view peephole. Door chains are easy to break, but a peephole lets you see who is at the door before you open it.

Ø Think about upgrading your key-in-knob door locks with ones that use dead bolts or hardened steel pins. If you want the convenience of a key-in lock, put the deadbolt above it.

Ø Buy grade 1 or 2 deadbolt locks that are able to withstand prying, wrenching, hammering, kicking and drilling. If the door has a glass panel, or if it is close to a window, install a double cylinder deadbolt so that the burglar cannot break the glass to unlock the door. Keep a key handy for emergencies, but do not leave it in the lock.

Ø Look for deadbolt locks which have a steel bolt with a one inch throw. Also look for strike plates that are secured with two and a half to three inch long screws, free spinning cylinders of solid metal and five or six pin screws.

Ø Secure double-hung windows with nails or bolts. Drill a hole through both sashes of the window at a downward angle to prevent thieves from working the pin loose.

Ø Install retractable window grates for all basement and ground floor windows.

Ø Stop sliding doors from being removed from their tracks through the use of vertical bolts or plates placed between the doors and the top tracks.

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