Making your home safer from crime doesn’t always
mean having to install expensive alarms. Effective home
security starts with properly locked doors and windows.
- All exterior doors should be either metal or solid wood.
- For added security, use strong door hinges on the inside of
the door, with non-removable or hidden pins.
- Every entry
door should be well-lighted and have a wide-angle door
viewer so you can see who is outside without opening the
Strong, reliable locks are essential to effective home
security. Always keep doors and windows locked.
A spring latch lock is a
privacy lock and should
not be used for security.
It offers little protection.
It is highly recommended that
all exterior doors be equipped
with a good quality deadbolt
A deadbolt should have
- A solid, case-hardened steel cylinder guard;
(a rotating cylinder guard is even better).
- A bolt that protrudes at least 1 inch.
- Case-hardened fasteners to hold both pieces of the
lock securely to the door.
Another excellent lock is the rim lock
or vertical deadbolt. It comes in
single or double cylinder varieties and
features two vertical deadbolts that
slide into hardened metal hasps attached
to the door jamb. This type of
lock cannot be slipped, forced with a
wrench, or pried open.
Another type of rim lock utilizes
a large, horizontal, sliding bar. It
is less expensive than other types
but equally effective. However,
both of these locks are only as
strong as the screws that attaché
them to the doorframe.
Security Strike Plate
The strike plates on all exterior
doors should be anchored with
screws 2 to 3 inches long so they
reach well into the stud. This will
make it extremely difficult for a
burglar to kick the door open.
Many homes have doors which open
to the outside, exposing the hinge
pins. Despite your good strong lock,
the burglar can remove the pins and
lift the door from the frame.
To prevent this:
- remove two opposing screws from each leaf
of the hinge.
- Screw a lag bolt into the jamb, sawing off the
head. Or use a headless nail, leaving 1/2 inch of the nail or
- Drill out the opposite hole in the jamb leaf.
Do this to both top and bottom hinges.
When the door is closed the hinge pins may be removed, but the
door will remain firmly in place.
If the hinge screws do not line up with each other,
do the following:
- Drive the pin into the frame just below the
- Drill a hole in the edge of the door.
- The hole should be larger in diameter than
the pin. This is good protection for any door, regardless of
how the hinge pins have been installed.
*There are hinges which have non-removable pins
or hinges containing set screws to prevent pin
secure best when
the latch works
properly and the
window locks can be purchased for your windows.
Drilling a small hole through the latch frame and
the latch handle, and inserting a metal pin or small
padlock can provide additional security.
- There are several
types of anti-slide
locks available for
- Metal pins,
screws and lag bolts
can also be used. Do not use a lock that is difficult to remove on a
window that is an emergency exit.
- Installing wood screws in the upper track above
the window can provide additional security.
wood dowel the appropriate diameter may also be
used in place of the screws.
- Most standard double-hung windows have thumb turn
locks between the two window panels. Don’t
rely on these. They can be pried open or easily
reached through a broken pane.
- An easy, inexpensive way to secure your windows
is to use the “pin” trick. Drill an angled hole through the top frame of the lower window
partially into the frame of the upper window.
Then insert a nail or eyebolt. The window can’t be
opened until you remove the nail.
- Lighting is one of the most cost-effective
deterrents to burglary. Indoor lighting gives the
impression that a home is occupied.
- If you are
going to be away from your home, consider
using automatic timers to switch interior lights
on and off at preset times.
- Outdoor lighting can eliminate hiding places.
Install exterior lighting near porches, rear and
side doorways, garage doors, and all other points
- Entryways to your home always should
be well lighted.
- Place lights out of reach from
the ground so the bulbs cannot be removed or
- Aim some lights away from the house
so you can see if anyone is approaching, or install
motion-sensing lights which turn on
automatically as someone approaches.
Shrubs & Landscaping
- Your home’s walkways and landscaping should
direct visitors to the main entrance and away
from private areas.
- The landscaping should
provide maximum visibility to and from your
- Trim shrubbery that could conceal
criminal activity near doors and windows.
- Provide light on areas of dense shrubs and trees
that could serve as hiding places.
- Cut back tree
limbs that could help thieves climb into
windows, and keep yard fencing low enough to
avoid giving criminals places to hide.