Strengthening Your Residence
This page of ideas is meant to help you strengthen your home security
against common break-ins. Most of the supplies needed can be purchased
at any local hardware store. These ideas do not guarantee 100%
protection, but will help decrease your chances of becoming a victim to
a residential burglary or home invasion.
- Secure doors with a good quality single- or double-cylinder lock. Features of a good deadbolt are:
- Minimum 1" bolt throw
- Hardened steel insert in bolt
- Tapered or free-turning cylinder guards to resist attempts to twist or wrench the lock from the door
plates should be attached to wood doorframe with not less than two 2
1/2" - 3" screws. Strike plates, when attached to metal, should be
attached with not less than two No. 8 machine screws. Be sure to use
screws of sufficient length to reach the wood studding beyond the
- If glass is within 40" of locking hardware, a double-cylinder deadbolt lock may be considered for maximum security
- Install a wide-angle door viewer of not less than 190 degrees
- To protect the door from being lifted form its hinges by pulling the hinge pin, follow these simple steps:
- Insert a framing (two-headed) nail into the door jamb 1" below the top hinge and 1" above the bottom hinge. The second head will protude about 1/2".
- Drill a hole about 1/2" deep into the inner side of the door to accommodate the nail when the door is closed
- If the door has a kickpanel, it may be kicked in, enabling the burglar to reach in and unlatch the lock. To alleviate this problem, replace with a solid core door or cover the panel with grillwork or 1/2" plywood or heavy-gauge, impact-resistant plastic, such as Plexiglas. Fasten the plywood, grillwork or Plexiglas to the door with the carriage bolts or other types of bolts or screws that cannot be removed from the exterior of the door. If the door has a window, protect the grillwork with Plexiglas.
HOLLOW CORE DOORS
- Replace hollow core doors with solid core doors or face the hollow door with 1/2" plywood. Fasten with carriage bolts.
- The sliding door can be lifted from its track. To prevent this, with the door in the full open position, insert a 2-foot length of wood framing in the upper channel of the door frame. The wood must be the width of the channel. Screw the wood firmly into the frame channel, making sure the door will still slide freely. Note:
Use the first method if door has a hollow channel on top. Also consider a keyed sliding door lock that locks on the inside of the frame.
- The sliding window can also be lifted out of its
track. Drill holes, putting sheet metal screws in the upper channel across the
top. Screw heads must be large enough so they do not drop down into the
channel. An alternative method is to slide a wooden dowel in the upper channel
of the window to prevent the window from being lifted out, but still allowing
it to slide. Also add an anti-slide device, screw-on, slide bolt or key lock.
- To properly secure double-hung windows, drill
a downward sloping hole into the top of the bottom window (each corner)
through, and into, the bottom of the top window and insert a pin or carriage
bolt which can be easily removed by hand. Another consideration would be to replace
existing thumb latch with a keyed locking device.
- are poor security risks. Remove and replace with
solid glass, or another type of ventilating window, or put epoxy glue on the
ends of the glass to permanently attach the panes to the frame to prevent easy
removal. If these methods are not feasible, protect the window with a grate or
SLIDE BOLTS and PADLOCKS
- are recommended for both exterior sides of
the garage door. Because of the amount of flex in the door, one slide bolt and
padlock is not sufficient. Be sure that the slide bolts are of casehardened
metal. When installed, carriage bolts should be inserted from the outside to
prevent removal. If it is convenient to lock the garage door from the inside,
another method of securing the door is to drill a hole through the bottom frame
at both ends of the door and into the concrete at least three inches. Then
insert a cane bolt or ½" heavy bolt through the frame and into the floor.
Roll-up garage doors can be secured by drilling a hole in the middle of the
track behind the last roller and inserting a padlock on each side. If the door
is secured with an automatic door opener, also use inside cane or slide bolts
for added security when away for extended periods.
- One key to burglary prevention is adequate interior and
exterior lighting. For the interior of the home, timers on the lights are
recommended. For the exterior, each outside doorway should be lighted with a
minimum of a 60 watt light over the entrances. For homes with wide or deep
yards or parking areas, a high-pressure sodium security light with a light
sensor (photoelectric cell) may be considered.
EXTERIOR ELECTRICAL BOXES
- Place a padlock on exterior electrical
boxes to prevent someone from turning off the power to the residence. Note:
Keep the key readily available in case of emergency.
- should be equipped with a hasp, latch, or slide bolt made of
hardened metal. The hasp, latch, or slide bolt must be installed with carriage
bolts through the door or gate. Use large washers on the inside. After the nuts
are secured, deface the threads of the bolt ends to keep the nuts from being
removed. Use a good padlock to secure the door or gate.
- should be of casehardened metal construction and have
both heel and toe locking features with a minimum 9/32" shackle.
(Naturally, heavier shackles offer additional security.)
- provides concealment for burglars. Always keep it
trimmed, away from doors, windows, and yard lighting.
- It is recommended that you engrave your
Driver's License number in an obvious place on your valuable property.
(Example: NE H012345678.) This enables the police to identify your property. In
addition, it acts as a deterrent to a burglar, as most burglars do not like to
take engraved items. If you own property that cannot be engraved, you should
photograph each item individually. On the back of each photograph write a
description, the date of purchase, and the serial number. It is strongly
recommended that you keep an inventory list of all your property, listing
serial numbers, when applicable.
- should be used in all homes and apartments for
early warning of fire to allow for escape.