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Securing Doors and Windows

It is important to safeguard your home against intruders and other uninvited visitors. This checklist provides tips on securing doors and windows to help keep your home and loved ones safe. Remember, intruders are looking for easy targets, not a challenge. A burglar’s three worst enemies are noise, light and time. The more difficult it is to break into your home, the less likely a burglar is to spend time trying. Follow these tips to keep intruders away.

  • Exterior Doors – Metal and solid hardwoods are the best materials for exterior doors. Although you want your home to look inviting to guests and visitors, it also should look intimidating to potential intruders. Exterior doors should be at least 1 ¾ inches thick to prevent a break in.
  • Peepholes – Experts suggest installing a peephole rather than a door chain. Peepholes make identifying visitors easy and safe by not having to open the door to potential harm.
  • Door Frames – Frames should be made out of strong material, similar to exterior doors. Doors should fit their frames securely; a weak frame can be an advantage to an intruder even if the door features an efficient lock. Also, make sure to use long screws in the frame so the door cannot be kicked open.
  • Door Locks – Deadbolt locks are the most effective locks for exterior doors. Deadbolts are locked from the outside with a key and from the inside by a thumb turn. The cylinder of the lock, where the key is inserted, should be pick-resistant to hinder intruders.
  • High-Security Door Strike Plates – Replace the existing ¾ inch screws with ones that are at least 2 ½ inches long to penetrate the frame studs. This will greatly increase the strength of your door.
  • Sliding Glass Doors – There are special pin-type locks that can be purchased for sliding glass doors. An added precaution is to place a broomstick or dowel in the door channel, but do not only rely on this action. Also, be sure to use blinds or curtains to cover the sliding glass door.
  • Interior Doors – Do not forget about important interior doors, such as a door from the attached garage or a door from the basement to the first floor. These doors need to be secure as well because they serve as an extra precaution if an intruder does break into an exterior part of your home. Make sure these doors feature deadbolt locks and solid frames.
  • Storm Doors – It is common to open exterior doors in warmer months for a breeze and some sunlight. However, this practice is not safe, especially at night. By investing in a storm door with a lock, you can enjoy summer pleasures without providing easy access into your home.
  • Keypads – This technology has become popular to use on garage door systems and now is available for regular exterior door locks. Keypads make entrance easier for large families and children who do not carry keys. Keypads also are easy to change if the code is given out to a neighbor, housekeeper or contractor.
  • Window Locks – Many windows come with locks that are not sturdy or reliable. Replacing the old locks with key locks is one option to better secure your windows. Key locks necessitate a key to open the lock, keeping out those that do not possess a key. They are made for windows of all shapes and sizes. There are even some locks that provide security when the window is partially open for ventilation. Sturdy locks are especially important for windows on the ground level.
  • Double-Hung Windows – For double-hung windows, pin the upper and lower frames together with a nail that can be removed from the inside. This will keep the window secure from the outside.
  • Basement Windows – Prevent a break-in from the basement of your home by installing security bars over basement windows and AC units. With this precaution, intruders will not be able to crawl into your home through the basement.
  • Window Coverings – Using blinds and curtains prevents potential intruders from window shopping. Try to keep valuable items out of sight through windows. In some instances redecorating a room provides more security for your valuables, as they are not visible to intruders peeking through windows.
  • Glass Security – If you are feeling uncomfortable about glass windows in your home, replace them with impact-resistant acrylic, polycarbonate, or high-security glass. These products will strengthen your windows and make them less vulnerable to intruders.

Further Precautions

To help safeguard your home against intruders, it’s a good idea to take the following precautions:

  • When re-evaluating the security of your home, “case” your house like a burglar; and check for the weak spots.
  • Trim bushes and trees that block windows; otherwise, these spots can be hiding places for burglars or serve as a boost to upstairs windows.
  • Never leave a spare key outside around your home. Burglars know all of the possible hiding places for spare keys, and you will have given them easy entrance. Instead, keep a spare key with a neighbor or install a keypad.
  • Remember to always designate one window or door per room as a fire escape that can be used quickly and easily.
  • If all of the locks in your house are the same, change one lock and have that be the key to give to outside workers. If that key gets lost or stolen, you will only need to replace one lock.
  • Remember to always lock gates, garage doors, sheds, and storage warehouse doors with padlocks that are water resistant, especially if the lock is located outdoors.

These steps will only help to keep your home safe if you use them consistently. Begin a regimented schedule of locking doors and windows, as well as turning on an alarm system each night and when you leave the house so that no entryway is overlooked.

© 2024 GuideOne Insurance. GuideOne® is the registered trademark of the GuideOne Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.