An Overview of Good Basic Home Security

In my last article on deadbolts I referred to good basic home security as a chain in which each link must be strong or the entire
system is vulnerable. It only takes one weak point in your home security for a criminal to exploit and gain entry to your property.

When considering your home security needs, its a good idea to invite your locksmith to do a walk through and cosultation with you. A security professional will be able to make suggestions on site that most home owners would not have considered. This article is by no means meant to replace such advice. You should find this type of service available for relitively little cost. So consider this article a punch list and an overview to help get you started.

When thinking about your home or business in terms of overall security, I like to use an analogy. If you think back to the colonial days of our country, when colonists were settling in a new area, the first thing they did was build a wall around their homes so they could defend them. This wall would have entry and exit points which could be bolted or barred shut, and easily defended. Now, I am not suggesting that you build a wall around your yard with parapets and guard towers, rather, I want you to think of the walls of your house in this fashion.

The next security measure they would add is a clear field of view. They would go out and cut down the trees and burn off the vegitation so they could see anyone approaching, thus giving them as much notice as possible. Lastly, they would build various trenches and moats to slow the progress of any enemy approaching the walls.

So, to defend our homes, we should first make sure all the exterior doors are locking correctly and have a good quality, properly installed deadbolt. (See my article on deadbolts) Make sure each window has a lock. If you have a sliding glass door, pay particular attention to securing it, as they tend to be weak security. (remember that , “each link must be equally strong”) Make sure the lock is working correctly and consider installing a secondary locking device such as a “charlie bar”. Many of my customers place a short piece of wood dowel behind the door in the track so the door cannot be opened if the lock fails. A charlie bar accomplishes this and more. I like the charlie bar type device because it  mounts in the middle of the glass door and a criminal can see it from outside. This has a simular effect  as placing “The Club” steering wheel lock on your cars steering wheel. A criminal looking at this device may decide to find a easier car to steal, and as such, is a great deterent. The last item for the home is a properly installed safe to keep valuables in. I consider video cameras and electronic security systems to be beyond the realm of “Basic Home Security” and maybe we will discuss the merits of such systems in a future article.

Now that we have the home defenses strong, lets take a look outside. Good exterior lighting is very important. Thieves will stay away from well lite areas. We want to be able to see anyone approaching our home and we want our nieghbors to notice as well. I like to recommend lighting based on the landscape design. If you have a business with parking on all sides then its a simple matter of providing minimal illumination, but if you have hedges and large landscape features where a criminal can hide in shadows or sneak around then your lighting will need to be more sophisticated. Obviously, if you have the choice, you would want larger yard ornaments further away from the house, and little to nothing close to the house. This principle also applies to rural home sites that can be subject to danger from wildfire.

In the end we want to present a great defense that will discourage most criminals from even trying to invade your property.

Clifford Bennett is the owner and primary technician at Trask Mountain Lock&Key located in Yamhill County Oregon. We provide a full array of locksmithing services and are proud to service the West Valley and Oregon coast.

Correct Door Latch Alignment

Deadbolt Security

Want to know more about your home deadbolt lock? Here Cliff explains the principal behind the home owner's deadbolt lock, how it fits in the door, proper fitting and how to trouble shoot the deadbolt lock.


Why do I need a Dead bolt?

The days of leaving our keys in the car and never locking our homes are over. Even in rural areas, the number of home invasions and burglaries are on the rise. Most burglars are Home securitylooking for opportunities, such as unlocked doors or weak security. There has recently been a series of burglaries in my service area where the criminals are knocking on doors, looking for unoccupied homes to break into. They simply go door to door.

Home security, like a chain, is only as good as its weakest link. A burglar is looking for an easy target and the home owner can deter most of these criminals by having good basic security for their homes. Home security is a topic that includes many componets and each must be strong or the home is vulnerable. This is a topic we will address at another time but I believe a deadbolt on each exterior door is a critical link in your homes security defenses.

Many of my clients think of their locking door knob as good security, while a criminal may burglar-deadbolt-locksee it as an opportunity. The differences between a deadbolt and a locking door knob, in their ability to keep you safe, are quite substancial. The door latch, which is what you use daily to enter and exit your home, is made to keep the door closed when you simply swing it shut and don’t want to take the time to bolt it. Most can also be locked, but should be considered secondary security and not primary. A dead bolt is not designed for convenience, as a latch is, but is a security device. A dead bolt typically extends one inch from the edge of your door through a strike plate, (and in the better products) through an additional reinforcment plate which is is fastened to the door jamb and into the framing with three inch wood screws. Where as the door latch only extends about half as far and can easily be bypassed with a pry tool or a criminal can simply kick in the door spliting the jamb. (remember weakest link).

dead-bolt-lockWhen a dead bolt is fully extended it locks into position and cannot be forced back. Many door latchs have a dead latch added to lock it in position. I have found that these are not reliable and are difficult to keep in adjustment and therefore, as mentioned above, easily defeated.

In summary, Any exterior door lacking a dead bolt is an opportunity for a thief. A locking door knob should not be used for primary security and should always be accompanied by a properly installed dead bolt. It is my sincere hope that this is information is helpful  in keeping you safe.

Clifford Bennett is the owner and primary technician at Trask Mountain Lock&Key located in Yamhill County Oregon. We provide a full array of locksmithing services and are proud to service the West Valley and Oregon coast.