Security Tips

Home Security Advice

Exterior Doors: Many residential doors feature hollow-core construction and poor locks. They are easily forced or kicked open. If you desire additional protection, you need solid doors and quality locks.

Sliding Glass Doors: Many burglars enter homes through poorly protected glass doors. Additional locks and security measures here will prevent the door from being opened or lifted out of the track. 

Screws installed in the track above the sliding door frame will prevent the door from being lifted out of the track. Drill a pilot hole in the top track above, and slightly in, from each corner of the sliding door frame section and install a screw into each hole. Adjust the screws so that the head of the screw just barely clears the frame when it is moved back and forth.

Double Doors: These doors need solid security as they are easily jimmied or forced open. Flush lever bolts installed at the top and bottom of the doors are recommended. Make sure the bolt is long, sturdy and mounted into a solid door frame.

Doors With Windows: Doors with glass windows or glass ornamentation require double key deadbolt locks. This prevents the burglar from breaking the glass and reaching inside to unlock the door. The key to a double key deadbolt lock should be left in the lock at all times when someone is home (this is necessary to ensure easy exit in the event of a fire or other emergency).

Garage Doors: Standard locks on garage doors are easily pried, allowing a burglar access to your home without detection. Cane bolts and hasps are excellent protection. Make certain each side of the garage door is secured to prevent prying open a crawl space. The door leading from the garage into the house should be securely locked. The more barriers you provide against the burglar, the better protected you are.

Hinges: Many homes have doors which open to the outside, exposing the hinge pins. Despite your good strong lock, the burglar can remove the pins and lift the door from the frame. To prevent this, remove two opposing screws from each leaf of the hinge. Screw a long lag bolt into the frame side of the hinge leaf and saw off the head leaving about 1/2 inch protruding. Drill out the opposite hole to allow the bolt to enter when the door is closed. Do this to the top and bottom hinge plates. The hinge pins can now be removed by the burglar but the door will remain firmly in place. This technique is good for any door, no matter how the hinges have been placed.

Door Viewers: In order to avoid opening your door without knowing who is there, install a door viewer. This device has a wide angle lens to let you see someone standing outside your door without opening it.

Spring Latch: Some homes come equipped with this lock. It offers very little protection. The bolt can be slipped with a credit card or knife. The same lock, with a deadbolt latch, provides more protection, but it too can be forced open. 

Deadbolt Locks: A deadbolt lock can provide good protection. When you turn the key, the lock mechanism slides a strong metal bolt from the door into the frame. When you buy a deadbolt lock, make sure: 

The bolt extends at least one inch from the edge of the door.

The connecting screws that hold the lock together are on the inside of the door.

The strike plate is attached to the door frame with screws that measure at least three inches in length.

The cylinder has a steel guard around the key section.

The cylinder guard should be tapered or rotate freely around the key section to prevent wrenching if it is twisted. Single Cylinder Deadbolt: A solid bolt, activated by a key from the outside or a knob on the inside, slides into the door frame. The lock cannot be slipped or easily pried. Deadbolt locks are only as good as the door and frame they are installed in.

Double Cylinder Deadbolt: This lock is basically the same as the single cylinder deadbolt, except that it requires a key to be used from either side to function.

Rim Lock: This lock has either horizontal or vertical dead bolts. It cannot be easily slipped, pried or forced with a wrench. This lock, like all others, requires a strong mounting surface and hardware to be effective.

Padlocks: When selecting padlocks to secure your garage door, storage shed, fence gate or tool box, do not economise. Low priced locks are made from low quality materials and easily pried open or cut with bolt cutters. Look for these features when purchasing a padlock: 

Double locking shackle at the toe and heel. 

Hardened steel shackle, the larger the diameter the better.

 Five pin tumbler Key retaining feature (prevents removal of the key when unlocked)

A strong steel hasp should be used with the padlock.

Sliding Windows: Sliding glass windows should be given the same security treatment as sliding glass doors. Use the same supplementary locks or screws in the frame. Screws installed in the track above the sliding window frame will prevent the window from being lifted out of the track. Drill a pilot hole in the top track above each corner of the window frame and install a screw into each hole. Adjust the screws so that the head of the screw just barely clears the frame when it is moved back and forth.

Casement - Crank Windows: These windows are easily secured. The latch should close properly with the window tight. With the latch in a closed position, drill a small hole through the latch frame and handle. Insert a metal pin through the hole to lock the window. For additional security, a small padlock can be used in place of the pin. Key operated replacement latches are also available from a locksmith or hardware store. Keep the key handy in case of emergency.

Double Hung Windows: An easy, inexpensive way to secure your windows is to use the "pin" trick. Drill an angled hole through the top frame of the lower window partially into the frame of the upper window. Then insert the pin (a nail or an eyebolt which is slightly smaller in diameter than the hole). The window can't be opened until you remove the pin. Make a second set of holes with windows partially open so you can have ventilation without inviting intruders.

20 Ways to Keep Burglars Away

The holidays are coming, and people are planning trips to visit far away family. While you’re heading off to a family reunion, burglars may be planning a visit to this year’s hot destination: your neighbourhood. Apart from digging a moat and fortifying the walls, what can you do to deter break-ins at your castle? Take precautions by preparing for your home’s security as thoroughly as you plan the details of your trip.

Make your house look lived-in. This overriding strategy can be accomplished in various ways, the easiest being to ask a friend or relative to house sit. If this isn’t possible, read on.

• Keep pets at home. They’re more comfortable, and they act as a built-in deterrent, especially if your dog has a big bark. Hire a dog walker or cat sitter to come by every day to feed, water, and walk or let out your pets.

• Leave blinds and curtains positioned where you would normally have them.

• Refrain from the temptation to close up the house so passersby can’t see inside.

• Use timers on lights, a television, and a radio throughout the house. These inexpensive devices build on the illusion that someone’s home.

• Do not change the greeting on your answering machine. If possible, call in for messages and erase or save them. A caller hearing a pause followed by a long series of beeps (indicating unheard messages) will assume you’re away.

• Cancel mail and newspaper deliveries or have a trusted neighbour or friend collect them daily.

• Check your calendar for stray deliveries such as furniture on order, and reschedule the delivery.

• Ask someone to move an ungaraged vehicle occasionally, especially if you’ll be away more than a few days.

• Keep up your lawn. Continue the gardening service or ask someone to cut the grass. Offer to reciprocate with a neighbour.

• Arrange for snow removal. Keep the walks, driveway and vehicle snow-free as when you’re home.

• Hide dustbins and wheelie bins. This may seem odd, but think about it. When people are home, they produce refuse. Empty bins can advertise your absence.

• Do not leave an itinerary or marked-up calendar hanging conspicuously on the refrigerator or anywhere else within a stranger’s view.

• Refrain from telling service people or strangers that you’ll be out of town.

• An overheard conversation at the hardware store could tip off the professional prowler behind you in line.

• Never hide a key outside under the mat. Burglars know that trick, too.

• Tell a trusted neighbour your plans and leave an itinerary so you can be reached. Consider giving this same neighbour a spare key and the access code to your home alarm in case it accidentally goes off.

• Test your home alarm system. After a break-in is not the time to discover the system is malfunctioning.

• Certain organisations will offer (for a fee) to periodically check on your house while you are away.

• List all valuables with serial numbers, dates of purchase and prices. Keep the list in a secure place. It’s a good idea to update the list periodically.

• Store jewellery or furs outside you home. Leave jewellery in a safe-deposit box, and arrange for a local fur salon or dry cleaner to store the furs.

• Check that all doors and windows have been locked. Obvious, but worth adding to your list.

• The holidays should be filled with happy memories, relaxation, and fun, free from everyday stresses. Taking the time to prepare your home for your absence will help safeguard against any unwanted company dropping in while you’re away.