Did you know that 34% of break-ins occur right through the front door?
This makes sense when the most common "tactic" involves the front door. A would-be thief will check out a neighborhood, maybe they found some "clues" like an empty TV box by the trash can, a new Samsung - 65" TV. Or they can see through a window and your laptop is sitting hte in plane sight and no one is home...
Now there is a burglar at your front door... He'll knock and look like he has an appointment with you. He's knocking. Waiting. He has a clipboard in his hand. He's looking at his watch and looking, well... pissed off that you aren't answering. He peeks in a window and looks up and down the street again, then at his watch. Mrs. Applegate figures you missed an appointment and goes back to, well, baking pies or whatever she does on a Wednesday afternoon. Mr. McBurglar knows he's in the clear and in 30 seconds has kicked your door in and no one saw it! If they saw him at all, they saw a young guy in a uniform or dark pants, but he looked like he had business there... and oh baby did he!
Front doors are NOT made to keep a thief out... Reinforce it.
The construction of the average front door is weak. Your exterior door is required to be solid constructions, however, it is not attached to the studs of the home. It is attached to a 1 inch piece of wood that is tacked to the stud and then a decorative trim piece holds that in place. The trim is usually 1/4 inch thick and really serves to cover the unsightly gap left by butting the wood frame to the studs. The Deadbolt lock sinks into the 1" piece of wood and your entire door is held in place by 1/2" screws that as well are not secured to a stud.
Having your security system is the first step in defense, just having a sign, you are 2/3 more likely to not have an unwanted intruder. When you are not at home, the security system is there to get emergency persons dispatched immediately. Even when you are home, help is on the way while you get to a safe place. Step #2 is to reinforce your door. No burglar wants to stand in plane sight and kick a door over and over again.
We suggest 3 steps:
#1. Reinforce the strike plate on your doors. This can be a $10 upgrade per door. Any big box store can supply you with an array of options to upgrade the metal that holds the deadbolt in place. Assure that the hardware for this plate is at least 3" long so that it secures into the solid studs of the home. Then replace the 1/2" screws on the door hinge as well with screws that secure the door to the studs of the home.Check out this video by Victoria, Texas police deomstrating the difference in just switching out the screws.
#2. Consider investing in a brace like the On-gard brace above. In the video demo, the door's hardware was blown to shreds but the door was not able to be kicked in. In a real life scenario, The alarm would have activated bringing help. Sirens would alert the intruder of help on the way, You and your family are safe inside with plenty of time to prepare for anything and you will be looking at the cost to repair a door, not replace the priceless pearl earrings that 5 generations of women wore in their weddings.
#3. Address the window situation (if you have glass panels.) Invest in some burglar proof film, It's goes on clear and you cannot tell it's there and it can even add to the insulation of the home and add UV protection. This film basically holds all the pieces of glass together. If the window portion is broken, the film is there to continue to cause frustration to the person trying to get in. It also keeps you from having a HUGE mess. Invest in the best film you can afford.
Don't forget to Burglar Proof your sliding glass door.
Sliders can look like a welcome mat. That doesn't have to be the case. If you are purchasing the door, get re-enforced glass or plastic (no, the plastic doesn't look like plastic these days, clear and glass-like.) Then, KEEP IT LOCKED when not in use. Put a piece of wood or a dowel in the track so that it cannot be bumped off a bit and just slid open.
And again, invest in a film that keeps it from being broken into shards. When trying to keep someone out, most burglars will give up if it is taking too long and makes too much noise.
So that's it, while this might feel like a lot, this is a Saturday project to do ALL the above. A basic list of hardware upgrades with dowels, some middle of the road film will run you around $100 and these are jobs that you will do one time and you are set for the duration of the time you have a home. When you add in door braces, depending on the brand you go with, you can tack on another $50 to $500 (depending on how many doors and which brace) one time investment and these type of features encourage buyers if you put your home on the market.
We do suggest you back this all up with a security system. ADT's monitoring center network has your back 24/7 whether you are home or not. If you are in the market for an alarm system for your home, give us a call at 1-800-310-9490 or click below to have us call you for you FREE Home Security Review.
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