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Home Door Security Tips

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Most home burglars get into the house through doors, so home door security is important.

Install doors that are either solid hardwood or metal clad. Avoid hollow doors that are easy to kick in or doors with glass that someone can break to reach the inside doorknob. If you do have a glass-pane door, install a clear, unbreakable polycarbonate panel over the glass on the inside of the door.

Make sure all doors fit snugly in their frames and that the hinges are either on the inside or have non-removable pins.

Install single-cylinder dead-bolt locks on all doors. Use locks that have bolts with a minimum one-inch throw (that is, one inch of the bolt extends past the edge of the door) and strike plates that have screws at least three inches long. Security consultant Chris E. McGoey recommends that all locks on exterior doors be Grade-1 or Grade-2 locks because they resist twisting, prying, and lock-picking.

Look for deadbolts with beveled casings so that someone cannot use channel-lock pliers to shear off lock cylinder pins. For a knob-in-lock set, get one with a dead latch (rather than spring latch) to prevent the use of a shim or credit card.

According to McGoey, most burglars simply kick in a door with a wooden jamb. To help prevent this possibility, install a four-screw, heavy-duty, high-security strike plate, which is harder to kick open.

If you have double doors or Dutch doors (where the top half swings independently of the bottom), use vertical dead bolts. Keep one side of double doors locked at all times by heavy-duty flush or surface bolts that go into metal strike plates.

For sliding glass doors, install locking devices and/or use a dowel in the lower track. To prevent someone from lifting the door out of the track, place screws in the upper track that do not touch the door as it slides. McGoey also recommends using alarm, dog, or neighborhood watch stickers.

Burglars often come in through the garage or other attached storage area, so home door security is also important for doors leading through these areas. For garage doors, if you use an automatic door opener, change the internal code from the factory setting using the instructions in the owner’s manual. Also, unplug the garage door when you go on vacation to prevent accidental opening.

Taking the time to make sure all your home doors are secure goes a long way in providing home security. For additional security, consider home security cameras that you can use to view your home over the Internet.

Updated: November 8, 2015 — 1:13 am

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