Let’s look at the common home security mistakes that people often regarding their doors and windows. Being aware of these is the first step toward better protecting your own home.
Mistake #1: Not securing all your doors
The first mistake is not securing back or side doors as well as the front door.
Burglars don’t care which door they get in through. If one door is well-secured and one isn’t, guess which one they’ll try?
It’s very common for front doors to be solid, but rear and side doors to be flimsy, especially in older homes. A burglar might actually prefer a side or a rear door, because that’s going to be away from the street where they can be less visible.
Any entrance door, wherever it is located should be a sturdy steel door and frame with deadbolts and strike plates.
Don’t forget about your sliding glass doors which typically have notoriously bad locks.
Fortunately, there’s a fantastically easy solution: just lay down a piece of wood, such as a dowel in the track to keep the door from sliding open if the lock is defeated.
Mistake #2: Old or broken locks & windows
The second mistake is not replacing broken or old locks on doors and windows-or even the broken or old doors and windows themselves!
This one may not seem obvious after you think about it a bit-after all, a broken latch or lock might not be visible, but all that really means is that it won’t attract a burglar. You don’t want to make their job easy if they should happen to try to open it.
Several problems fall under this category:
1. Many doors can easily be kicked in.
The experts recommend having a sturdy, reinforced steel door.
They also recommend improving the strike plate on your door (the piece of metal that attaches to the door frame or door jamb where the deadbolts or latch extends into the frame) or installing one if you don’t have one on each outside door. Deadbolts should not extend directly into the wooden frame.
Unfortunately, most strike plates come with relatively short screws, like an inch or so, so make sure the strike plates you have and any new ones have much longer screws. Short screws can pull out with a good kick to the door, ripping the strike plate out of the door frame, and probably shattering the frame-and then the burglar’s in.
2. Make sure you have a deadbolt on every outside door. This is really important. As I’m sure you know, a deadbolt is much harder to defeat than spring-loaded latches, which you should never rely on for outside doors.
3. Change the locks if you didn’t do so when you moved in. Not changing the locks isn’t quite like leaving the place wide open, but it does mean that someone may have the key to your place. And if they didn’t change the locks when they moved in, then someone else may have a key as well.
This can get a little tricky with apartments. Not all landlords are going to be proactive about this. You might need to ask them or even bug them a bit to get them to change locks.
Mistake #3: Unlocked doors and windows
The last mistake on my list: unlocked doors and windows.
How many times have you left your home wide open?
Have you ever gone ever gone over to a neighbor’s house or apartment intending to come right back, only to end up staying much longer? Have you ever gone to run a quick errand and decided not to bother locking up because you’d be back so quickly? Have you ever slept with the window open in the room or a different room?
Or have you mowed the lawn or done other yard work, worked out in the garage, or sat out on the patio leaving doors open that you couldn’t see?
How secure is your home?
Are you making any of these common mistakes at your home? Correct them now and better protect yourself and your home!