Entry Door Security – Are You at Risk? Part II

Last week reader Jim N. asked us if we have any suggestions for entry door security because he was concerned about the matter. Unfortunately Jim N. has a good cause to be concerned, because burglaries are on the rise, and today’s thieves have new “tools” that make burglaries easier than ever. Here are some more ways to prevent you from becoming a victim of a burglar.

Improve Entry Door Security

Burglars pretty much gain entry the same way we do – though a door. FBI stats show 65 percent of break-ins occur by unlocking, forcing or kicking in the front door (34%), back door (21%) or garage entry door (10%). This year alone there will be over six million such burglaries at a rate of one every 15 seconds.

While new tricks like lock bumping will open almost any standard lockset or dead bolt, there are also counter measures one can take to foil such entry.

First, there are high-security dead bolt locks – such as those by Medeco and Schlage Primus – that are bump key and pick proof and cost upwards of $100, and they are a great start. Still, even with an upgraded lock system, should someone have a key (or think to look under the door mat or anywhere else we often hide keys) – they can still gain entry

Another option then are “keyless” locks that use a personal four-digit code for entry. Readily found at most home center stores, today they are surprisingly affordable and rapidly gaining in popularity.

Beyond Better Locks – What’s New?

As the unofficial “What’s New Guru” of the home improvement industry, I attend numerous trade shows throughout the year and scour lots of magazines and trade publications looking for new products that make life just a little better – and in this case – a bit safer.

My checklist includes simplicity, ingenuity, affordability and great end results. Here are a few recent finds and tips for upgrading entry door security:

Dead Bolt Secure™, introduced at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, offers a low-cost, ingenious solution that makes standard dead bolt locks (with a lever or twist-type inside handle) virtually bump-key and pick-proof. It even blocks entry with a legitimate key. A simple spring-loaded device installs in minutes and flips down to prevent a dead bolt’s handle form turning – no matter how it is being unlocked. The best part? It only costs $9.95 at www.arclink.net.  You can contact Don at dlogay@whatsnewguru.com .  Next week we’ll revisit the subject with a few more ways to increase your security.

I’ve Been Framed (It’s a Good Thing)

Even with better locks or a secured dead bolt, a thief intent on getting in will simply kick in a door. Usually, one good kick will break out the frame at the point where the dead bolt goes into the hole of the metal strike plate – and it only takes less than 2 seconds to kick in a door.

Strengthening the strike plate is a great first step. Dead bolt strike plates come with two very short screws that only hold it in place. An easy upgrade is to remove the short screws and install much longer ones (3” to 3-1/2”) that go into the building’s structural doorframe. Be sure to drill deeper pilot holes first.

An even better frame upgrade is another inexpensive – yet highly effective – product called Universal Burglar Shield. It is a pre-engineered strip of steel that adds strength to the existing soft wood of door jambs. The unique design aligns strike plate holes with any deadbolt and door lock configuration from 0″ to 17 1/2″ apart. Easy to install, it costs only $14.95 at www.burglarshield.com.

Beyond improving lock security and strengthening the door fame, there are a wide array of additional items available and many ways to make entry doors safer. These range from also adding interior security bars to installing electronic alarm systems and outdoor motion-sensor security lighting.

Burglaries are on the rise. The best defense: upgrade security (starting with entry doors), eliminate obvious invitations (looking unoccupied, accumulating newspapers, etc.) and be ever so smart information-wise – and together, let’s all take a bite out of crime. Woof!

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