Doors & Windows
There are few basic guidelines to keep in mind when choosing or installing exterior doors, windows and hardware that will dramatically increase their effectiveness at keeping the bad guys out.
- Be sure that all external door are solid core wood or metal doors
- Consider reinforcing door jambs with metal hardening kits
- Use 3" wood screws or longer to secure the door hinges so that the screws reach the frame of the door
- Use 3" wood screws to secure the striker plate to the door frame
- Choose a deadbolt with a bolt of at least 1" long
- Look for deadbolts with "anti-saw" or "anti-drill" features and are ANSI Grade 1 or higher (sometimes referred to as "commercial")
- Don't buy locks that can be opened with a "bump" key. Schlage and Baldwin, make lock sets designed to defeat bump keys.
- Use a security film on any windows that are less than 42" from a door to prevent a thief from smashing the window and reaching the lock.
- Apply frost or window treatment to any exterior windows to prevent people from seeing inside
- Use window stops to prevent windows from opening too far
- Use a primary and secondary locking method for sliding doors
Motion lights are a fantastic way of deterring prowlers and burglars as they serve a dual purpose - they alert you to the presence of an intruder and also light up your property for everybody to see.
- As a minimum you'll want a motion or fixed light installed at every entrance to your house and garage.
- For your own safety you should also install motion lights in all the areas that you frequently access such as walkways and garage areas.
- Consider hard-wired or battery operated lights. Solar powered lights are not as reliable.
- General landscaping or hardscaping lights are also a good way to shed light on dark areas of your property.
With the new "internet of things" the automated home security industry has exploded. This means you have lots of options when it comes to cheap, powerful home security gadgets. There are also quite a few sophisticated "low-tech" options that can help deter potential burglars for very few dollars. Below are a few of the items I recommend installing as part of your security strategy.
- Dummy CCD cameras and motion detectors can go a long way in deterring prowlers.
- WIFI cameras and sensors now integrate with your mobile phone giving a 24-7 window into the activities around your house.
- Sophisticated multi-CCD camera systems are readily available at places like HomeDepot or Costco and quite easy to install.
Thieves and prowlers love an easy target and packages left on porches provide a wealth of opportunity. Check for mail & packages daily and employ the following tips to prevent your packages from being stolen.
- Sign up for delivery notifications from your delivery service so you know exactly when your package arrives.
- Provide a secure drop box for mail & packages which is secured to the house.
- Use furniture or pottery to provide a hidden space for packages.
- Consider using an alternate delivery address or secure locker.