How secure is your home? Can your door locks withstand a bump key? Which way should your hinges face?
Most burglars get in through your doors, so any home security plan should begin with making sure they’re up to par. If you’re not sure where to start, try these 10 tried and true tips to burglarproof your exterior doors.
- Choose solid (wood, fiberglass, metal) doors for all your exterior doors. Hollow doors and doors with glass inserts, pet doors, or mail slots are more vulnerable to burglars.
- Upgrade your existing lock. If the only lock on your door is a traditional spring lock, your lock is at risk for being picked or bumped. In fact, a majority of American door locks can be bumped open in seconds. Fortunately, professionally installed bump proof locks and high security locks provide good protection against bump keys and lock picks. With some locks, an experienced locksmith can perform a special type of house rekey that makes your existing lock more bump proof.
- Install a deadbolt. Deadbolts are much harder to pick than spring locks, and just having one above your regular spring lock sends a message to thieves that you may not be the easiest target. Be sure to actually use it!
- Upgrade your strike plate. The strike plate is the metal plate on your door frame that the tongue of the lock fits into. It’s usually attached to your door frame with two short ½” screws. However good your lock is, one strong kick can yank out the strike plate and open the door. There’s an easy, cheap fix: replace the short screws with long 3” ones.
- Reinforce your door frame. Sometimes, when a door is kicked open, the entire door frame rips out. The truth is that most door frames are made out of soft woods that can’t withstand direct force. You can strengthen your door frame by choosing longer screws to attach it to the building or by installing a special metal strike plate that extends along the whole side of your door frame.
- Check your hinges. If you can see the door hinges from the outside of a closed door, you need to re-hang the door so the hinges are hidden. Having the hinges on the outside means that thieves can take out the pins and open your door without fiddling with the lock at all.
- Add some lighting. Motion sensitive lighting can startle would-be thieves, make them more visible to your neighbors, and otherwise act as a deterrent.
- Keep your keys safe. Thieves will check under your door mat and funny looking rocks close to the door. They know all the hiding places, and they are looking. A better place for your spare key is with a trusted neighbor or nearby friend. If you lose a key, call a locksmith to perform a quick and affordable house rekey.
- Don’t neglect your other doors. Even if your front door is fully fortified, your home security is not in the clear unless all your other doors (sliding doors, garage doors, side doors, etc.) are equally well protected.
- Lock your doors. It may be obvious, but remembering to lock your doors every time you leave is always the first step in protecting your home.
So, how do your doors measure up? Pop-A-Lock Las Vegas installs bump proof locks and deadbolts, repairs strike plates, and can provide more information on how to beef up your home security.