Fortifying Your Home From the Outside With Your Doors and Windows
As you can see from the graphic, 81% of the time, thieves gain entry to your home through your locked doors or windows. Only 6% of the time do thieves enter a home through an unlocked entrance or storage area. While this is a good indication that people are becoming more vigilant about locking the entrances to their homes, clearly that is not enough to keep thieves out.
If a thief decides to break into your home, you want to make it as difficult as you can for them. This means having exterior doors that can resist being pried-open or kicked-in. Here are some ways you can make your exterior doors stronger:
- Start with the door itself, whenever possible, you need to have doors that are as strong as possible, avoiding glass doors especially. If you have a wooden door it needs to be solid wood because otherwise it will splinter when kicked.
- Doors are weakest where they are drilled out to insert the lock mechanism and so reinforcing there is also a good idea. One way you can make sure your doors are as strong as possible is to install Door Armor on all your exterior doors.
- Standard door locks do not penetrate very far into the door frame due to the short bolt and therefore are not very effective at keeping somebody out who really wants to get in. Even deadbolts that have much longer bolts and are more effective at keeping the door closed can be overcome fairly easily by a determined thief. Reinforcing your lock mechanism is one of the best things you can do to fortify your door and keep thieves out.
- Sliding glass doors can be secured with Night Lock by Door Armor, but for a low cost solution you can put a dowel rod in the track to prevent it from being opened.
As for windows, predominantly first floor windows, they are the second most common entry point for thieves. Aside from ensuring that your windows are locked at all times, there are other steps you can take to make them a more difficult entry point for thieves:
- First make sure that you always lock windows, even second floor windows.
- Windows that are double glazed with thick glass as this will not only save you on your heating bill but make it much more difficult for a thief to break through and unlock the window.
- You can also consider adding another layer of protection in the form of an external barrier such a security film window treatment much like the tinted film you can apply to car windows. This film can be clear or tinted if you want to stop people being able to look into your home from the outside and holds the windows together even if the glass behind it has been shattered. These films are also tough enough that they can’t be easily ripped away to create a large opening for an intruder to climb through.
- Much like with doors, the sashes or frame of a window are also vulnerable to attack during a break in and so using strong and sturdy materials for the frame as well as using long screws to keep them in place can help to prevent this being exploited.
- Use secondary lock devices that stop them from opening past a certain height.
- Windows should have vibration or glass-break sensors connected to your alarm system.
- Solar Screens are another great solution on your windows which will not only save on your cooling bill, but allow you more privacy and prevent burglars from "window shopping". They are typically screwed into your window frame, which makes removing them more difficult.
- Don't forget to fortify basement windows, and secure windows where A/C units are attached.
- Secure any skylights or roof-access with upgraded hardware or anti-break window film.
- Add bushes surrounding exterior windows, preferably with sharp edges. The noise created as well as the possibility of injury will discourage these as entry points.
While some of these steps may seem unnecessary, particularly if you live in a low risk neighborhood, home invasions and break-ins can happen to anyone at any time. Preparing now could potentially save you and your family from stress, harm, heartache, and lose.