This page of ideas is meant to help you strengthen your home security against common break-ins. These ideas will not guarantee 100% protection, but can help make your home into a castle.

Secure doors with a good quality single or double-cylinder lock. Features of a good deadbolt are:

  1. Minimum I " bolt throw.
  2. Hardened steel insert in bolt.
  3. Tapered or free-turning cylinder guards to resist attempts to twist or wrench the lock from the door.
  4. Strike plates should be attached to wood door frame with not less than two 2 V2"-3" wood screws. Strike plates, when attached to metal, should be attached with not less than two No. 8 machine screws. Be sure to use screws of sufficient length to reach the wood studding beyond the door frame.
  5. If glass is within 40" of locking hardware, a double-cylinder deadbolt lock may be considered for maximum security.

One window in every bedroom on the ground and second floor should be left available as a fire exit, particularly to children and guests in your home. At night, the bedroom windows may often be the quickest and safest means of getting out. Always leave the key in the double cylinder lock when asleep or at home for quick exit in case of emergency.

Install a wide-angle door viewer of not less than 190 degrees.

To protect the door from being lifted from its hinges by pulling the hinge pin, follow these simple steps:

  1. Insert a framing (2-headed) nail into the doorjamb I " below the top hinge and I " above the bottom hinge. The second head will protrude about V2".
  2. Drill a hole about V2" deep into the inner side of the door to accommodate the nail when the door is closed.

If the door has a kickpanel, it may be kicked in, enabling the burglar to reach in and unlatch the lock. To alleviate this problem, replace with a solid core door or cover the panel with a grillwork or 1/2" plywood or heavy-gauge, impact-resistant plastic, such as Plexiglas. Fasten the plywood, grillwork, or Plexiglas to the door with the carriage bolts or other types of bolts or screws that cannot be removed from the exterior of the door. If the door has a window, protect with grillwork or Plexiglas.

Replace hollow cores doors with solid core doors or faces the hollow door with 1/2" plywood. Fasten the carriage bolts.

The sliding door can be lifted from its track. To prevent this, with the door in the full open position, insert a 2ft. Length of wood framing in the upper channel of the door frame. The wood must be the width of the channel. Screw the wood firmly into the frame channel, making sure the door will still slide freely. An alternative method is to drill four staggered holes in the upper channel of the doorframe. Install sheet metal screws, letting them protrude just enough so the door can slide freely.

Note: Use the first method if door has a hollow channel on top. Also consider a keyed sliding door lock that locks on the inside of the frame.

The sliding window can also be lifted out of its track. Drill holes, putting sheet metal screws in the upper channel across the top. Screw heads must be large enough so they do not drop down into the channel. An alternative method is to slide a wooden dowel in the upper channel of the window to prevent the window from being lifted out, but still allowing it to slide. Also add an anti-slide device, screw-on; slide bolt or key lock.

To properly secure double-hung windows, drill a downward sloping hole into the top of the bottom window (each comer) through, and into, the bottom of the top window and insert a pin or carriage bolt which can be easily removed by hand. Another consideration would be to replace existing thumb latch with a keyed locking device.

*WARNING: One window in every bedroom on the ground and second floor should be left available as a fire exit, particularly to children and guests in your home. At night, the bedroom windows may often be the quickest and safest means of getting out. Always leave the key in the double cylinder lock when asleep or at home for quick exit in case of emergency.

These are poor security risks. Remove and replace with solid glass, or another type of ventilating window, or put epoxy glue on the ends of the glass to permanently attach the panes to the frame to prevent easy removal. If these methods are not feasible, protect the window with a grate or grill.

These are recommended for both exterior sides of the garage door. Because of the amount of flex in the door, one slide bolt and padlock is not sufficient. Be sure that the slide bolts are of casehardened metal. When installed, carriage bolts should be inserted from the outside to prevent removal. If it is convenient to lock the garage door from the inside, another method of securing the door is to drill a hole through the bottom frame at both ends of the door and into the concrete at least three inches. Then insert a cane bolt or V2" heavy bolt through the frame and into the floor. Roll-up garage doors can be secured by drilling a hole in the middle of the track behind the last roller and inserting a padlock on each side. If the door is secured with an automatic door opener, also use inside cane or slide bolts for added security when away for extended periods.

One key to burglary prevention is adequate interior and exterior lighting. For the interior of the home, timers on the lights are recommended. For the exterior, each outside doorway should be lighted with a minimum of a 60-watt light over the entrances. For homes with wide or deep yards or parking areas, a high-pressure sodium security light with a light sensor (photoelectric cell) may be considered.

Place a padlock on exterior electrical boxes to prevent someone from turning off the power to the residence. Note: Keep the key readily available in case of emergency.

Gates should be equipped with a hasp, latch, or slide bolt made of hardened metal. The hasp, latch, or slide bolt must be installed with carriage bolts through the door or gate. Use large washers on the inside. After the nuts are secured, deface the threads of the bolt ends to keep the nuts from being removed. Use a good padlock to secure the door or gate.

These should be of casehardened metal construction and have both heel and toe locking features with a minimum 9/32" shackle. (Naturally, heavier shackles offer additional security.)

Shrubbery provides concealment for burglars. Always keep it trimmed, away from doors, windows, and yard lighting.

It is recommended that you engrave your Driver's License number in an obvious place on your valuable property. (Example: MA 123456789.) This enables the Police to identify your property. In addition, it acts as a deterrent to a burglar, as most burglars do not like to take engraved items. If you own property that cannot be engraved you should photograph each item individually. On the back of each photograph write a description, the date of purchase and the serial number. It is strongly recommended that you keep an inventory list of all your property, listing serial numbers, when applicable.

Always should be used in all homes and apartments for early warning of fire to allow for escape.