Home Security and Stopping the Burglar

There are three components to a comprehensive security plan to deal with burglary.

Burglars are familiar with the locks on sliding glass doors. Most can be easily rattled open even when they are locked.

There are many types of sliding glass door locks available, but the best to use are those that can be seen from the outside (to discourage trying the door) and those that are visibly evident that they are locked.

A homeowner should be able to glance at the lock and tell if the door is properly secured.

Roof Access

The only means into the home should be the doors or windows. There is a trend with today’s burglars to make entry by removing roofing material and climbing through ceiling material

Any kind of climbing-aid or ladder must be removed away from the building and made unavailable, especially on two-story homes. Doors that lead into the home from balconies need to feature deadbolts. Make sure that all parts of the roof are easily visible from the street and neighbors’ homes.


Lighting is important. Although most burglaries are committed in the daytime, a significant amount of home burglaries are committed at night.

In Photo 7, the homeowner has had a security light installed that features a motion sensor. Persons passing by on the sidewalk can set this off.

Exterior lighting controlled by motion detectors is key to reducing opportunity by night.

Windows that are left opened upstairs are very tempting to burglars. Homeowners will often underestimate the ability of burglars to climb into the second floor.

Gates leading to backyards need to be visibly secured by an adequate deadbolt or padlock.

All brush, bushes and trees that normally obstruct the view of gates, doors, and windows, need to be cut back.

Walking by the two homes in the same neighborhood reveals one is easier to enter the rear yard than the other. Even though the one gate looks more secure, the bushes allow the burglar to conceal the entry into the rear yard.

In Photo 8, the traditional window is concealed by bushes. The picture on the right is after a modern security window is installed and the bushes are trimmed down.

Window fans and air conditioners often lend a means into the home. They should be adequately fastened to the window or opening so that it is obvious that entering by removal is not an option.

Increasing visibility is essential to reducing the opportunity. Clearing the lot, limiting the height of greenery, and eliminating concealment will reduce opportunity during the day.

Besides fortifying the home and exterior lot, homeowners should also make the home look occupied whenever possible.

One of the best means to reduce the chances of a burglary is to get a loud, barking dog. Size does not matter; attitude does. A barking dog inside of the residence keeps the potential burglar outside.

When a burglar is visible, he is vulnerable. Bright lights and barking dogs are not what he wants.

Increasing the chance of getting caught

When reducing the opportunity has failed, the back-up plan is to increase the burglar’s chance at getting caught.

Locksmiths are especially good at this, since this relies on the proper installation of locks and hardware. Locksmiths also know how to “beef-up” the installation.

The addition of over-sized and hardened screws and bolts can greatly fortify a typical installation. Special preparation can slow down the burglar’s entry.

Strike plates and deadbolt keepers need to be tied into the 2x4 to which the door jamb is nailed.

When securing plates: deliberately drill-out the holes that would normally fasten the plate to the jamb. Use hardened 2” or 3” screws that pass through the jamb and tie into the 2x4.

Doors that open inward should have at least one screw per hinge removed and replaced with a 2” or 3” screw in similar fashion.

This prevents kick-ins from the hinge-side of the door. A burglar who specializes at this will get quite a surprise when the hinges don’t split away after two-or-three kicks.

Door that open outward should feature non-removable-pin hinges; or studs that are mounted between the door and jamb. This prevents the door from being lifted out of the jamb casing.

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