The safety and protection of your family will always be a top priority. Our homes must therefore be well protected from intruders and criminals.
Here are some tips to help ensure that you do not become the next victim of crime.
- Trees, plants and shrubbery may serve as natural hiding places for criminals. The following suggestions can help make your yard less of a target:
- Keep the lower branches of all trees trimmed up to six feet high.
- Trim hedges to a maximum height of two feet.
- Remove hedges and trees within six feet of your doors and windows since these may offer concealment.
- Ensure that your front door and other access points at the front of your house are visible from your neighbour’s house.
- Remove large landscaping rocks that are close to windows since these may be used to break into your home.
- Trim or remove trees that offer easy access to upper level windows.
External door security
Hollow core and glass doors are not very secure. Ideally exterior door should be solid wood or laminated wood core construction 1 3/4″ thick. The doorframe should be of solid or laminated wood or metal.
Glass doors should have burglar-resistant wire mesh or tempered safety glass installed. This precaution should be observed for any glass panels near or in a door that would allow a burglar in. Sliding glass patio doors are often easily lifted out of their frame. To prevent this, self-tapping screws should be installed in the upper track. This will fill the space between the upper door and track and make it impossible to lift the door out of the track. This is neither difficult nor expensive. Patio doors may also be pinned using ‘jimmy bars’ or locked with a commercial lock available at any hardware store.
Additionally, installing a peephole or wide-angle viewer at all entry doors allows you the security of seeing outside without having to open the door.
HINGES AND STRIKEPLATES
Exterior doors with hinges on the outside will provide burglars with easy access to your home. This situation can be corrected in three ways:
- Have the door removed and the hinges remounted on the inside of the frame so that the door swings inward.
- Install a set of non-removable hinge pins.
- Install a locking pin in the existing hinge plate as follows:
Remove the centre screw from each plate of both the top and bottom hinge. Insert a “headless” screw or bolt into the doorframe through the hole in the hinge plate, leaving 1/2″ protruding. Drill a hole 3/4″ deep through the opposing hinge plate into the door. Once this is done, the pins in the doorjamb will penetrate the opposing hole in the door. The door will be held in position even if the hinge pins are removed.
A good quality deadbolt with a 1″ throw that affixes securely to the door with hardened steel bolts provides excellent security. All key-in-knob locks should be replaced with deadbolts for all entrance doors. Deadbolts are available with single and double cylinder opening. The double cylinder locks are operated by key on both sides. It is designed to provide additional security on doors where a glass window is within 40 inches or arms length of the inside door lock. However, note that while double cylinder deadbolts provide additional security, they can be hazardous if the door they secure is to be used as a fire emergency exit. As a result ensure the key is easily accessible.
DOOR CHAINS AND KEY-IN-KNOB LOCKS
Although these are common locking devices, they provide little security and have proven to be the entry point in many burglaries. Remember, door chains are also easily broken.
Windows provide little security as most window locks can be pried open with ease. Although a burglar may hesitate to break the glass, The following are a few suggestions to appraise and possibly upgrade your current window security.
- Pinning – nearly all types of windows can be pinned for security. Commercial pins are available, but large nails are just as effective and substantially less expensive. Drill a 3/16″ hole through the inside window frame and into (but not through) the outside frame. A nail or pin can then be placed in the hole to secure the window.
- Double hung windows (windows that slide up). These can also be secured by pinning, or by a commercial lock.
- Sliding Aluminium Windows – These windows can be secured by pinning using a commercial lock or a ‘jimmy bar’.
Alarms and security cameras
These should be used in addition to your other security measures.
Alarms and security cameras should be carefully chosen, purchased from reputable distributors and installed by competent trusted professionals. It’s always a good idea to install alarms and security cameras that allow remote surveillance while you are not at home.
By fitting security lighting, your driveway, garden or the outside of your house can be flooded with light whenever movement is detected. All main entrance doors should be well lit at night.