How Secure Is Your Front Door?
Generally speaking, most burglars prefer to enter their victims’ homes through an inconspicuous point-of-entry (i.e., a side or rear window or door). However, FBI burglary statics show that 65% of break-ins occur at the front door. This is probably due to the fact that most residential doors can be kicked in without too much trouble; it just takes a solid boot adjacent to the doorknob.
What You Can Do To Protect Your Front Entrance
Let’s take a look at what you can do to protect and reinforce this important entry point, bearing in mind that the suggestions offered in this article may also be applied to all of your remaining exterior doors (including any upstairs doors leading to a porch or window’s walk).
Get a Solid Door
If your front door is a hollow one, you should replace it immediately with a solid one. Preferably, it should be constructed out of solid wood or fiberglass and it should have no windows in it. A metal door is OK too, so long as it comes reinforced with a lock block. Otherwise, it can be bent out of its frame using a car jack. Also, and this might seem a little overkill, but if you really want the most secure front door money can buy—you can drop a few thousand on one of those high-security doors whose internal construction rivals that of a bank vault door! However, your money would be better spent on a good home security system (not to mention: you’d have plenty of money left over).
Install Proper Locks & Hardware
When it comes to locks and hardware—most home security consultants recommend installing a heavy-duty, grade 1 deadbolt (one that is separate from the one connected to your doorknob assembly) with a four-screw, steel strike plate. Grade 1 deadbolt locks have longer throw bolts that extend a minimum of 1” inch into the door jam. They are also resistant to hammer blows. Your strike plate should have screws that are at least 3” long (i.e., long enough to reach through your door jam and into your doorframe). The combination of the above mention items will prevent your door jam from splintering and giving way when kicked or rammed by an intruder.
Transoms & Sidelights
Do you have any of those fancy, non-glass block windows surrounding your front door? If so, we highly recommend that the deadbolt lock you install be a double cylinder deadbolt. This type of deadbolt requires a key to be unlocked from within, thus preventing anyone from breaking the sidelight, reaching behind your door, and unlocking your deadbolt. Having a transom or large window above your front door is also a bad idea since a burglar could smash it out and either climb over your door or lift someone up to the opening. Therefore, transoms should be eliminated or reinforced with glass blocks.
Lock Your Front Door –Even in the Daytime!
Most people lock up before leaving home for any length of time, but how many of us keep our doors locked while we’re home during daylight hours? Let’s face it, the days of Leave it to Beaver with their late 1950s/early 1960s, trust-thy-neighbor brand of American innocence are over; it’s time to lock our doors (even in the daytime). No more letting our freshly baked, apple pie cool out on the window sill or keeping our doors open while we’re taking a nap because we know how easy it would be for some maniac like BTK to just walk on in and have the run of the house. Remember, even the sturdiest and most expensive, high-security door is useless unless it’s locked.
About The Author: SHIELD Security Systems of Buffalo, a franchise of The SHIELD Security Systems Franchise Development Group based in Buffalo, NY provides electronic security systems, monitoring and video surveillance for residential and commercial applications. For nearly 40 years, SHIELD Security Systems has served the Buffalo market offering alarm monitoring services for homes and businesses without the FREE sales gimmicks offered by other alarm companies. We’ve earned a solid reputation as a dependable alarm provider delivering consistent, honest value to our clients.