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Home Safety

Protecting Your Home From Break-Ins and Burglary

protecting your home break-ins burglary
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Protecting your home, your castle and center of your kingdom of earth, is probably one of the most important things you could ever do.

Why then do so many neglect it until it’s too late?

Traditional wisdom says there’s no point in putting a good lock on a flimsy door, but this is not true.

In most cases you must prove forcible entry to collect insurance.

If you have a poor lock, your cylinder can be picked in seconds.

You’re inviting your insurance company to give you a hard time.

The Best Strategies For Protecting Your Home

If you have a wooden door, get what the industry calls a police lock. This is a brace lock with a bar that goes from the lock into the floor about 30 inches away from the base of the door.

Get a police lock if your door frame is weak. It keeps the door from giving because of the brace in the floor. Even the best regular locks won’t protect you if the whole frame gives.

If you’re buying a door, buy a metal flush door without panels and get an equally strong frame to match it.

What makes a good frame? A hollow metal construction, same as the door, is important for protecting your home as it works better than a wood frame.

If your door opens out instead of in, get a double-bar lock-one that extends horizontally on each side.

With a door that opens out, the hinges are often exposed on the outside, allowing a burglar to remove the door from its hinges. With a double-bar lock he can’t pull the door out.

Protecting The Lock You Choose

Pulling out the lock cylinder is the burglar’s easiest and most effective way of getting in. Most people put a plate over their lock and think that will take care of it. But most plates have bolts that are exposed on the outside.

With a hollow metal door, the burglar can pull that plate away from the door with a wedge and simply cut the bolts. If the head of the bolt is exposed, he can pull it out slightly with pliers and snap it right off.

Look for a cylinder and plate combination that’s a drill-resistant one-piece unit with no exposed bolts, a sleeve to prevent burglars from chiseling the bolts, and a hardened plate to protect the keyhole.

More Tools To Secure Doors

Your door is your first line of defense for protecting your home and protecting yourself and your family.

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Jimmy bars – Don’t bother with them. They’re psychological protection only. If you have a metal door, a good lock is sufficient protection.

With a metal door, we recommend a jimmy bar only if the door has been damaged through a forcible break-in and is separated from the frame. In this case, the bar will straighten out the door and hide some of the light shining through.

If you have a wooden door, a jimmy bar can actually help a burglar by giving him leverage. He can put a crowbar up against it, dig into the wood, and break through the door.

Peepholes – Many people never think about peep holes, but they can make protecting your home harder. Get one that’s as small as possible. Large peepholes use a one-way mirror that doesn’t permit you to see around corners. And if someone hits that mirror while you’re looking through, it could damage your eye.

Small peepholes use a double lens, making it possible to see around corners. And if the small peephole is knocked off the door, it won’t benefit the burglar. If a big one is knocked off, it creates a weakness in your security.

If you already have a large peephole, remove it. Have the locksmith bolt two plates on the door, with a smaller hole in the center to accommodate a small peephole.

Closets – Let’s say you want to protect a closet. Not necessarily against burglars but against someone who might have a key to your house or apartment, or as a saferoom in case someone breaks in while you’re home.

Locking the closet isn’t sufficient because most closets open out and have hinges on the outside, making it easy to remove the door.

Get a door pin for your closet. This involves putting the pin on the hinge side of the door and through a receiving hole in the frame. Anyone who cut the hinges off or removed the pins couldn’t lift the door out.

Secure Your Windows Too

Window locks – The best window locks use a key, which makes them difficult to manipulate from the outside. Without a key, any window lock is vulnerable.

Try one with a heavy pin, which allows you to drill holes for either complete locking or three- or six-inch ventilation.

Window gates – In New York and other cities, the fire laws prohibit window gates that lock with a key. Instead get gates with keyless locks. They allow you to get out easily, but a burglar can’t put his hand through the gate to open it.

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Choosing A Locksmith

Go to locksmiths’ shops to size them up. Make sure the store is devoted exclusively to the locksmith business and isn’t just doing locksmithing on the side.

Ask to see the lock­smiths license if it’s not displayed. There are a lot of unlicensed locksmiths doing business illegally.

Try to find a locksmith who belong to an association for added trust. Look for a sticker in the window indicating membership in a local or national locksmiths’ association.

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