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Home Security and Doors
Doors. The front door, back door, and
garage door are the favorite methods of entry for burglars. The
garage door is usually the weakest, then the back door, and finally the
front door. All exterior doors should be
metal or solid wood. The doors should have the hinge pins on the
inside. A peep-hole or door viewer should be in the door so you
can see who is knocking at the door without opening the door.
"Door System". The door itself should
be considered as one component of the "Door System". The door
system is only as strong as the weakest component, whether that be the
hinges, walls, framework, or the door itself. Components of the
door system consists of the walls, frame, locking mechanisms, door,
hinges, and alarms.
Door Construction. A steel door with
no windows is an excellent choice of door when security is a primary
consideration. If not a steel or metal door then you should
install a solid wood door; consider a hardwood door 1 3/4 inch thick.
Locks for Doors. All external doors
should have sturdy key-activated, deadbolt locks made of hardened steel
shafts. These should have at least a 1
1/2" bolt into a metal or solid wooden door jamb. This dead
bolt should be in addition to the existing door knob lock. Door locks should have reinforced frames to support
them. The standard door and door lock can be easily "kicked in" or
breached with common hardware store tools. Screws holding a
strike plate should extend 3" or longer into the wall stud.
Doors should have an escutcheon plate to reinforce the locking
Door Chains. These are not security
devices as they break easily and won't keep out a determined intruder.
At best, they are a psychological deterrent.
Keys and Locks. When moving into a new home or
apartment, ensure you have the locks changed out by a locksmith.
Don't hide keys in mailboxes, under door mats, or any other place that
burglars will know to look. Leave a spare key with a trusted
neighbor. For more information on locks and locksmiths
Doors with Glass Panes. Glass in a
door or on either or both sides of the door look attractive but can be
easily smashed to gain entry. Burglar-resistant glazing should be
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Door Hinges. Door hinges can be a
weak area of a door. If the hinges are exposed they should have
pins to prevent removal of the door from the frame or lockscrews to
prevent hinge removal. It is best if the hinge pin is protected
from the outside.
Sliding Glass Doors. These should be
secured with locks (commercially available). Most common standard
with latches and will need to be switched out for locks. Use a broom stick or
wooden dowel in the bottom track to secure the door from opening; or use
a device called a "charley bar".
You can drill a hole in the sliding door frame and into the fixed frame
in order to insert a pin to secure the sliding glass door. Patio
doors can be easily lifted out of their sliding tracks - so holes and
pin inserts should be drilled to prevent this vulnerability.
Wide-angle Peepholes or Optical Viewer.
Your front and back door should have peepholes to look through so you
can verify who is at your door before opening it. Ensure it is
wide-angle (160 degrees).
Door Area Lighting. Install proper
lighting near the outside of all doors to your dwelling. If you
don't want the light to stay on night you can have motion sensors or
light sensors that will automatically turn the lights on and off.
Door Entry Intercom. A audio and/or
video door intercom system will allow you to view and speak with whoever
is at your front door without opening the door. This will provide
you with a margin of safety when receiving deliveries or greeting
unexpected visitors. For more information on door intercom systems
CCTV Cameras at Doorways. An overt or
covert CCTV camera can be installed at all doors. An overt camera
is a psychological deterrent. A covert one could help identify
burglars who do attempt to gain entry.
Security Alarm Sensors for Doors.
Doors can be alarmed so that when opened an alarm will go off (unless
the alarm is turned off with a keypad entry). In addition, motion
detectors can be installed that will prompt an audible local alarm to
warn those in the residence as well as to scare off the intruder.
These door alarms may also be tied into a signal that is sent to a local
security alarm monitoring service. The sensors mounted at
entrances should provide a delay of 30 to 45 seconds allowing the person
entering time to deactivate the alarm when the alarm is in the "day
mode". The door, when in the "day mode" should have a pre-alarm
buzzer to warn the person entering the home to disarm the security
system with the pin pad code. In the "night mode" the alarm is set
to go off as soon as the door is opened.
Security Decals. Place security
decals on the glass portion of your doors indicating that a security
alarm is installed, the house has a house, or that your neighborhood has
a watch program.
Information on Doors
"What are high security doors?" WiseGEEK.
"What is a French Door?" WiseGEEK.
The Blue Book of
Building and Construction.
Security Doors. On ThomasNet.com.
Window and Door Security. hometips.com.
Security Doors Information. Business.com.
Home Security: Doors. Metropolitan Police Service, London, UK.
Windows & Doors. A blog about home security.
Fingerprint Door Lock Information. Home Security Information.
Home Security for Windows and Doors. Home Security
Door and Window Publications
Doors and Hardware Magazine. Advancing Life Safety & Security
Solutions by Door and Hardware Institute.
DHI Industry Watch. Distributed by the Door and Hardware
Door and Window Security Associations and
Manufacturers Association (AHMA).
Associated Locksmiths of
Door and Hardware Institute
Foundation for the Advancement of Life Safety and Security.
Distributor Association (SHDA).
Steel Door Institute
Window & Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA).
Security Door Manufacturers
Bullet Resistant Corp. Security door and window systems.
Manufacturers of extreme protection doors.
Enterprises, Inc. Manufacturers of forced-entry and
blast-resistant work and living environment doors and windows.
Titan Security. Laser cut security screen doors for the home.
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