Do you know how quickly a burglar can break into your home? In most cases we have found it takes only a minute or two. Without the help of a home security system, a burglar needs only 8-12 minutes to find what they're looking for. That’s not really a long time if you think about it, but to them that’s a lifetime! As soon as a burglar makes his grand entrance into your home, “the break-in clock” initiates.
The first thing a burglar is going to do is knock on your door to see if anyone is home. Makes sense right? If someone answers the door all they have to do is just come up with some bogus story. Another easy trick for burglars is to check to see if the front or back door is unlocked. Sometimes they are even lucky enough to find the key you thought was hidden in a secure place. If worse comes to worse, smashing a window gives the burglar the same result. They can also get into a home by kicking down a door or using their trusty crowbar.
Usually, if a burglar can't make it into your home in one or two minutes, they'll just move onto the next one. So what can you do to slow them down? Sometimes the best answer is also the most obvious one. When it comes to keeping burglars out of your house, the basics make the biggest difference: Lock your doors and windows.
However, locked doors and windows alone are sometimes not enough to discourage a would-be burglar from kicking or smashing them in. Listed below are some good preventive measures if you don’t have a burglar alarm in place.
Reinforced Locking Mechanisms: With the exception of sliding doors, all exterior doors should have a deadbolt lock in addition to the lock built into the doorknob. The deadbolt should be of high quality with a throw bolt at least 1 inch long. The lock should be properly installed. Many homes have lower quality deadbolts or throw bolts less than 1 inch. These should be replaced.
Burglar Proof Hinges: Doors with outside hinges are vulnerable to having the pins in the hinges removed, which causes the door to open. To prevent this, it’s highly recommended that you re-hang your door to ensure that the hinges are installed on the inside. If re-hanging your door is not possible, you can also purchase non-removable hinge pins at a hardware store. As a last resort, you can drive a nail through the middle section of your door’s hinge to prevent it from being removed. However, it’s highly recommended that you simply re-hang the door.
Replace Flimsy Strike Plates: The strike plate is the metal plate that surrounds the lock set (the hole in the door frame where the lock bolt enters). All exterior doors should have heavy-duty metal security strike plates secured by four 3-inch screws. Many homes are built with lower quality strike plates or have strike plates that are secured with shorter screws that only attach to the door jamb, not the underlying stud.
Fortify Your Door Frame: Even with a strong door and quality, properly-installed locks, a burglar may be able to gain entry by breaking or prying the door frame itself. Most door frame moldings are simply tacked to the wall, so a crowbar or a solid kick can easily separate the frame from the wall. Secure your door frames to the walls by installing several 3-inch screws along the frame and doorstop. The screws should reach the wall stud.
Sliding Glass Doors: Sliding glass doors can be a prime spot for burglars to enter your home, especially when it is poorly protected. Old sliding doors may not be very secure because the locks can be picked easily and the door can be lifted out of the track. There are several ways to secure these, such as adding auxiliary patio door locks, or installing screws into the track above the sliding door frame to keep the door from being lifted off the track. You can also wedge a wooden dowel in the bottom track when the door is closed and locked. This will prevent the door from being opened if a burglar manages to unlock it.
In most cases, burglars who cannot gain access to a home in under two minutes will just give up and move onto the next vulnerable target. The suggestions listed above are good ways to slow down any burglar attempting a break-in, but ultimately a home security system is what will drive any burglar away from your home. These days alarm companies make it really easy to find affordable home security.