In the world of today, we no longer employ the moat, drawbridge or 30 foot high walls as security devices. However, if we know the correct methods and devices to use, we can attain better security than those devices afforded. Our first line of defense, is to be aware of our surroundings. Your neighborhood may be in an urban, or suburban area, it may be an apartment building or a gated and guarded community. Each of these environments has it’s own unique challenges, but all share one common factor, there are other people living close by. If you and your neighbors are familiar to each other, this in itself is a defense against intruders. Your degree of interaction can range from complete avoidance to active participation in programs such as National Night Out or Neighborhood Watch.
Lets start with the really simple things to check. Did you have your locks rekeyed when you moved in? Do you know how many keys fit your doors, and who has them? If you answered no to either of these questions, you should contact us, for a discussion on key control and/or key control systems. Next is your front yard, building entryway, or hallway to the apartment. If you have a front yard as you walk up to the front door, look around the area, is there excessive shrubbery that either hides the entry or provides a hiding area for someone? Does your porch light work? Does it project enough light for you to clearly see someone on your porch at night? Are your able to adequately observe the porch area from inside your home, with the door closed, using a door viewer? If you do not have a clear view of these areas, contact us to discuss the available options. A new modern door viewer may be adequate, or possibly a video door bell system or even CCTV may be needed.
Since we are now at the front door, let’s make sure it can be secured. Do you have a deadbolt lock on this door and all other exterior doors? If you do have a deadbolt lock, does the bolt project 1″ from the face of the door when thrown? Does it mount to the door securely? Is it constructed of solid or stamped metal? You should also inspect the door jamb, and the strike that receives the bolt. It should be secured to the jamb with at least 3 inch screws that extend into the structural framing of the doorway. If you have glass in your door, or if there is glass adjacent to the door, you should have a “double cylinder” deadbolt. This is one that requires a key from either side to operate. Be aware that there is a fire safety issue with double cylinder dead bolt locks, when you are in the home, you should have the door locked and leave a key in the inside cylinder. There are locks available that will “trap” a key in the inside cylinder, this key can be removed by manipulating the outside cylinder, so you can remove the key when you are away from home.
Check with us for availability. You may be restricted by local building codes, or life safety codes from having double cylinder locks. If you cannot have, or do not want “double cylinder” deadbolts, you should consider having the glass in and around the door, replaced with tempered or unbreakable glass. And finally what condition is the door itself in, is the construction material sound, are the hinges secure, does it drag or bind? If the door is not in good condition, the most expensive and secure lock will not be of much use. Next you should check all other exterior doors, they need to be as secure as the front door. If you have an attached garage, pay particular attention to the door leading into the house. If a burglar breaks into your garage, they will have a secured and hidden area in which to work, and may even use your tools to attack this door. Keeping your tools under lock and key may not be a bad idea.
We need check the security of windows and patio doors. If you need a window to be open for ventilation, be sure that the opening is small enough to keep the “bad guys” out, and that is is secured from being opened further. Often window locks do not need to be elaborate, a nail or metal pin, if properly used, may be all that is needed. Patio doors are another weak link, don’t depend only on the installed lock. A tightly fitted broomstick, or other device laid in the inside track, is good insurance. But be sure that it cannot be lifted or dislodged by using a wire from the outside. Your automatic garage door, could also be a weak link. The newer units use very good transmitter security, but some older units did not. Side doors into your garage also need to be locked.