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Basic Security Measures Window and Door Locks

This article is a continuation of Basic Security Measures for your Home.

Window/Door Locks
A lesser level of protection, although one that's possibly more realistic for most people, is to "harden" your home through adding more secure locking systems. Criminals often scoff at the way most homes are so easily accessed. Most doors and windows can be quickly jimmied open.

I had this experience myself a few years ago. I had a second home in an isolated area. I drove to it one day (it was a good 11 hours from my other home), only to find I had forgotten the front door keys. I couldn't get in through any windows (not knowing how to jimmy them) and didn't want to break one because of the replacement cost. However, I knew I could get a new door handle/lock for fewer than 20 bucks. So I determined to break my way in there.

I had a hammer in my car and figured I would smash away at the existing door handle/lock until it finally gave way. Hopefully, I wouldn't damage the door in the process. Imagine my surprise when at the first slight blow of the hammer, the handle flew off, the lock disintegrated, and the door swung open! My front door lock was actually offering little to no security at all.

The moral here is that many homes come equipped with relatively insecure locks. Today, when you go to Home Depot, Lowes, or other building supply stores, you can buy locks for your doors that are rated in terms of their security factor. You might need to pay a hundred dollars, but get one with a high security rating; today you can buy a lock that will stop a sledge hammer!

My suggestion is that you put a good lock, including a deadbolt, on all your exterior doors. Keep in mind that most exterior doors are solid core. That means that unlike interior doors, which are often hollow, exterior doors are filled with either wood or some other material. This makes them very difficult to break through. (It also often provides some fire protection as well.) Put a good lock on a solid-core door and it becomes much more difficult for someone to break into your home.

Windows should also have two separate locking systems. The first is a lock that secures the movable portion of the window to the fixed portion. However, because this can often be easily jimmied, a second lock that keeps the window from physically being opened offers added protection. Modern windows usually come with a plug, dowel, or other device for securing the window. If your home doesn't have this, then you can buy simple screw-on devices at a hardware store that will serve the same purpose. Sometimes simply putting a stick behind a sliding window will prohibit it from begin opened.

Of course, a burglar could always break the window. However, this is less likely to happen because of the noise it causes and the fact that someone is likely to see this and call the cops.

Many of the magnetic window sensors available as home protection devices in the past only detected when a window was opened, not when it was broken. It's something to consider when paying a lot of money for electronic protection. Better modern window sensors detect the sound of glass breaking or the loss of integrity of the window.

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