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Bolster your barriers with a robust door security system. Uncover ways to prevent goons from getting in so you can sleep soundly at night.
Statistically, around 34% of burglars gain entry into a home through the front door and 22% get in through the back door (Marini and Blanco 2012). Unless you make an effort to address this problem, you're leaving yourself and your family in a very vulnerable state.
One of the best and simplest ways to improve the security of your home is to...
...LOCK YOUR DOORS!
Not everyone does this consistently though. I know many of you may feel it's a hassle or it’s not THAT important.
Nonsense! It IS important.
What good does it do to have the best home security system in the world, if you leave the door standing open for the bad guys to come in?
Even although I've just written this and told you it's probably the most important tip for improving your door security system, I know many people will just go back to their old habits and "forget" to lock the door because...
..."I'm just popping out for 10 minutes!"
If you're truly serious about wanting to improve your safety, then make an effort to be better about this.
While on this point, it's equally important to lock your doors while you are INSIDE the house! As inconvenient as it can be to keep locking and unlocking the door, especially when you are moving between the house and the garage or garden...
...just get into the habit of doing it.
How easy would it be for a bad guy to slip into the house in the 5 or 10 minutes that you are distracted in the kitchen with the door left open?
Think about it!
Perhaps you are extremely good about always closing and locking your home's doors at all times, but you constantly have to remind family members to do it too.
Children can be the worst for this!
I'd encourage you to keep reminding them of the importance of this for your overall door security system. They may think you are being silly or exaggerating the risks.
Ignore their protests and keep reminding them!
Something that may help in this regard is to get one of those pistons that make the door close by itself. Many businesses and shops have this kind of setup. A metal arm with a spring or piston near the top of the door pulls it closed after someone has opened it.
My wife and I have one of these on our front door and find it a very useful addition to our door security system.
I highly recommend that you get a peep hole or an electronic equivalent to improve your door security system. Plenty of home invasions happen with the criminal knocking on the door and using some kind of ruse (trick) to get the homeowner to let them in.
They may also knock on the door and barge their way in as soon as you open it.
To prevent this, you have to be able to take a good look at the person on the other side of the door before you decide to let them in. Often you could be fooled if all you can do is LISTEN to what the person wants.
It'll be MUCH harder for them to fool you if you can SEE what they look like at the same time. If the person doesn't look right, or gives you a bad feeling...
...TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS and don't let them in.
If you have the option to buy a small security video camera to set up near your front door to inspect visitors, then that would be an even better option. Some peep holes don't allow for the same visual clarity or field of view that a camera offers.
Preventing someone from forcing your door open when it's locked is the next topic to discuss. This is needed both when you are NOT at home to prevent a burglary and when you ARE at home to prevent a home invasion team from kicking the door in to gain access.
I'm not going to go into great detail about all the different ways to improve your door's strength. There are many online tutorials and videos about this out there that will give you much better information than I can.
I would even suggest you hire a professional (lock smith or security expert) to assess the security of your doors and recommend changes for you to make.
What I will say is that you need to check and address the following areas in order to be safer. If you're serious about your home's door security system, you should ensure that ALL of your outside doors are inspected with these ideas in mind:
Most homes outside doors are hollow core doors that provide VERY little protection against a good strong kick. To have any real security you need to install a heavy, solid wooden door or better yet, a steel door.
Your door's frame is really the foundation of its strength. You can have a strong, solid wooden door, but if it's hung in a weak wooden frame, the whole structure will be weak.
If you're unsure of how strong the frame is, hire someone to inspect it for you and recommend or even install a sturdier one for you.
Install a "Dead bolt" with a strong steel bolt of 1 inch (2.5 cm) or longer. This will provide enough strength to withstand a burglar's kick or shoulder barge. Most doors have a flimsy brass "bolt" that will bend or break far too easily.
The dead bolt should go at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) into a sturdy steel strike plate that is attached to the wall stud with long screws.
Most home's have weak metal strike plates that are only screwed into the soft wooden frame of the door. These will provide little protection against a strong kick from a burglar.
The hinges should be on the INSIDE of the door. This will prevent a criminal from having direct access to them, which would make his job much easier. The hinges should be heavy duty (stronger than those normal, cheap door hinges) and must be screwed into the stud with extra long screws.
Once again, the ones that most doors come with are very short and only go a little way into the wooden door frame. These are no good for security!
In addition to having a peep hole or camera to see who is at the door, depending on how your home is configured, it may make sense to install a simple intercom system.
This allows the visitor to press a button near the door and speak to you through the intercom.
This kind of setup may make sense if your front door is far away from the living area of your house. If someone comes to the door, it may be easier for you to talk to them through an intercom panel in your kitchen or lounge than to walk all the way to the door each time.
If you're going to rely on such a system, I would STRONGLY recommend that you invest in a security camera as well. That way you will be able to SEE who you're talking to. It's SO important to be absolutely SURE that you know who the person is and whether you can trust them BEFORE you let them into your safe zone.
I cover Security Dogs in another article, but having a dog inside the house at all times can be a wonderful addition to your existing door security system.
This can be especially effective if you have a small "yapper"!
In other words, a small breed of dog that has a high pitched bark and that barks at just about everything!
Good choices include:
With a dog like this, you will always get early warning when someone is approaching your front door as they'll bark long before you are even aware that you've got a visitor.
The sound of dogs barking will probably discourage less determined criminals from even trying to break into your home, whether you're there or not.
Having a tiny, roving "alarm" such as this is something I highly recommend as a compliment to your other home security measures!
No matter which door security measures you decide to implement in your own home, remember the very first bit of advice that I gave at the beginning of this article!
Keep those doors locked at all times!
Just sticking to this simple rule will avoid a large number of possible home invasion scenarios and yet SO MANY people don't even do this consistently.
Go ahead and make a decision NOT to be one of those people!
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