Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of someone trying to open your front door. It is unmistakable: the handle jiggles for a moment before you hear a dull slam. Slam after slam, you know what is happening now: someone is trying to break down your door to gain entry. If you do not have anything else to protect yourself and your family with, this would sap your peace of mind away in an instant.
Home security is something that isn’t often thought of until someone invades and steals the things you own. The average cost of a burglary to homeowners and renters is $2000 to $3000 dollars, and the average burglary only takes about eight minutes. Security cameras can help identify home invaders, but the truth is that only roughly 13% of burglary cases are successfully investigated by police. With the knowledge that the protection of you, your family, and your property is largely up to you, how do you start ensuring that your home is protected from intrusion? Let us start with the first line of defense that your home has: exterior doors.
You may be imagining a cartoon where the plucky characters nail a dozen boards against the door to prevent something nasty from getting inside. While this method is not exactly great for your wall’s paint job, Daffy Duck does have a point: the better reinforcement equipped to your door, the less chance there will be of an intruder breaking down the door.
Perhaps the main reason very few people invest in home security is the perceived cost. But modern advances in home security and automation, and the availability of DIY equipment from hardware stores have brought the pricing of good quality parts and equipment down to levels where any family or individual can take action. Combined with good security habits such as locking doors when you leave your home and securing unlocked windows, you would be surprised at how simple it is to safeguard your home. You have a few options when it comes to making your door an impenetrable defense:
According to the Bureau of Justice, 34% of people counted in their annual survey said they reported the burglary that happened on their property to the authorities. The main reason they did not contact police is that they did not think law enforcement would be able to help them. Worse, violent crime and property crime often go hand in hand, especially when owners of the property discover the perpetrator in the act. With this in mind, here is what you should look for when purchasing reinforcement equipment and how to install them on your exterior doors.
Let us equip your exterior door with the “door armor” they need to prevent unwanted intrusion. If you are worried that door security will mean sacrificing style for safety, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that modern locks, hinges, and reinforcement equipment are designed to seamlessly integrate into your door. Burglars will probably not even notice the difference between a reinforced door and a normal one besides the fact that they can not barge right in.
The design of door jamb reinforcement is surprisingly simple. A steel bar as long as the vertical height of the door frame’s edge is screwed into the jamb (which usually come with very long screws that tightly secure the bar to the door). The bar is called a jamb shield, and the kit can be customized to come with steel hinge and lock shields. Again, the purpose of door jamb security is to make it so intruders have to break your entire door frame for entry instead of the locks alone. If you worry about your door frame being a weak spot, this type of reinforcement is exactly what you need.
Door frame bars feature several stamped areas you can remove to fit the height of your door’s locks. In order to install door armor correctly, you will require a sufficient amount of space between your door and your door frame depending on the thickness of the bar. Most are 16 to 14-gauge in thickness, about the width of two quarters. So long as you have that amount of room, you won’t have any problems adding this security to your frame.
You may think door knobs and deadbolts the only two types of locks. Fortunately, there are almost as many locks as there are styles to go with them. Each design has different advantages and disadvantages, and here are just a few you can choose from:
As we will discuss other pieces of equipment that will benefit the security of your door, a lock and a door jamb are two of the most important places to start. A reliable frame and a reliable lock will do wonders for home security, and they are very easy to install. There is a good chance that you will only need a drill or a screwdriver to get the job done right.
This frightening scenario happens more often than it should, and it even happens in broad daylight. The good news, according to current FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics, is that the act of home invasion and burglary has dropped overall in the past four years. The bad news is that 2.5 million burglaries still occur annually in the United States, with 66% of them being home invasions and break-ins. 1.5 million burglaries happen in the middle of the day when the homeowner has gone to work, and 1.3 million occur at night, burglars utilizing the shroud of darkness to conceal their actions. You may think a well-lit apartment complex would help keep your apartment from being invaded, but home invasions are just as likely to happen to apartments as single residential homes (for good information on how to make your home or apartment more secure beyond simple door security, consider security system from Cove).
Fortunately, with all of the excellent types of defences installed on your outside doors, burglars and home invaders will find it very difficult to barge in unannounced. Besides the obvious purpose of door security, the whole idea behind home security is to discourage anyone from trying to break-in by making the process take longer than is profitable. The number one way burglars enter a home is through an unlocked door, followed by entering a first-level window; the one thing that home invaders do not want to do is make any loud sounds that alert neighbors to their presence. The front and back doors shield your home. Just remember to always lock your doors when you leave for the day so they can perform their necessary function.
Although it may seem too simple, the right door lock, door jamb reinforcement plate, and hinges can make all the difference in whether you become a victim or not. As you can see from this news report from Las Vegas, even the right size of screws can literally make or break a door.
Speaking of small but reliable pieces of equipment, here are a few other excellent reinforcement pieces we recommend.
The Bureau of Justice releases annual reports on crime statistics, and unlike other types of crime that have fallen in previous years, physical violence and property crime have risen at a similar rate. You never know what a burglar is going to do if they discover you or your family members inside your own house when they break in, and you have no defense other than the failed locks on your house to protect you, you never know what can happen. Because of this, we recommend installing a security system with window and door sensors to help scare off intruders as well as ensure that the authorities know to come to your aid.
As stated before, the best door reinforcements — a jamb shield and a reliable set of locks — are only the first parts you need to secure your outside doors. Here are additional features you should consider installing as well.
Put simply, a strike plate is the metallic piece installed on the jamb where the cylinder of your locks enter the frame. Without a strike plate, the lock would be secured only by the jamb, which is a vulnerable location for the door to buckle. Strike plates come in a variety of shapes, from the typical plates you see in regular residential home doors to complex plates designed for specialty locks like mortise locks and multiple cylinder deadbolt locks. Lock sets typically come with their own strike plates. This is advantageous as they will match the style and shape of your lock. The size of screws that come with your lock set may vary, however. For better security, you may consider longer screws. If your door frame does not feature a hole wide enough for the strike plate and lock cylinder to fit, you may require a drill to bore a hole wide enough. Fortunately, the height of door locks and strike plates in newer houses are standardized to make installation easy. Such a small piece of metal serves a great purpose in keeping doors sealed tight.
Hinges come in a variety of different materials to match the style of your home’s doors. While brass, steel, stainless steel, aluminum, chrome, and nickel don't usually make a difference in keeping your doors secure, they vary in strength, which is something that you should consider. Aluminum and brass are easily bent with enough force. Steel and stainless steel have high resistances. Nickel is extremely resilient and inflexible. The stronger the hinges (and the deeper the screws), the less likely any intrusion will be successful.
Door hinges are an important part of your door’s defense; connected to your home with three inch screws or longer, your hinges provide the strength required to hold that edge in place. Even if you doubt the reliability of your door’s frame, long screws inserted and installed in all available screw holes will provide maximum protection.