How Secure is Your Home?

Mar 10, 2011


All exterior doors should be either metal or solid core, 1 3/4” wood. Glass or thin wood panels, in or near the doors, can be protected by installing polycarbonate glazing and secured with one-way screws.


Security devices for windows vary depending on the type of window and its location. All accessible basement, first, and second story windows in a private residence need securing. Second story windows can be accessed by a ladder, trash can, nearby tree, or garage rooftop. Because of its construction, the crescent latch found on a double hung window is not an adequate security device and will not withstand a simple attack. Its only function is to keep the upper and lower windows together.

The following methods and devices are suggested for securing several types of window openings: To pin these types of windows, drill a hole through each top corner of the inside sash and three-quarters of the way through the outside sash at a slight downward angle. Insert two 5/16” diameter eyebolts, one on each side of the window. The bolts should fit loosely enough in the holes so that they are easy to insert and remove.

Some pinning techniques may damage thermal pane seals. A separate set of holes can be drilled into the outside sash approximately three to four inches above the inside sash so that the window can be left open for ventilation. This prevents the window from being opened further than the three or four inches allowed.

Casement Windows:
Casement windows cannot be secured in an open position, but can be secured by commercial locking devices when closed. This type of window should never be left open and unattended.

Louvered (Jalousie) Openings:
This type of opening offers no resistance to force. The glass panels should be replaced with impact-resistant polycarbonate and pinned to the groove with one-way screws.

Basement Windows:
Small basement windows are one of the most popular means of entry. These windows should be secured with grilles or bars that contain a safety latch for inside openings.

Sliding Patio Doors/Windows are Special Security Problems:
Drill a downward sloping hole through the top rail of the sliding door and into, but not through, the tip rail of the fixed doors overlap. Insert a pin (or nail) to lock. Tighten adjustment screws to prevent lifting door out of channel.


  • Use a deadbolt lock with a one-inch throw bolt or a heavy-duty drop-bolt lock. Install a highly pick-resistant cylinder.
  • Protect the cylinder with a guard plate.
  • Use a licensed locksmith.
  • Do not use a dual cylinder lock that has a key in both sides to secure a residence. Although they offer protection, dual cylinder locks can also trap the occupants in the house in the event of a fire or other emergency.


  • Lighting should be used to illuminate the perimeter of your house, especially the door areas. There should be enough light to see a silhouette; lights that are too bright will hamper viewing. Install the light fixture out of reach, and in a tamper-proof, weather resistant housing.
  • Timers set to go on and off at various times should be used throughout the house when you are not at home.
  • Shrubbery should be cut or designed so that it never provides a means of concealment and affords a clear, unobstructed view from both inside and outside the home.
  • Air conditioners should be secured to the window opening to avoid being pulled out or pushed in.
  • Attached garages are an access point into your home and should be as secure as your house. Other structures, such as unattached garages and tool sheds, should be secured with properly installed, high-quality locks.
  • There are a variety of alarm systems available at different price ranges. To find one that suits your needs, consult with a reputable, well-established, security company.
  • Prominently display alarm decals and yard signs.
  • Obvious security greatly reduces the risk of attack by a burglar.
  • Ask your local police department about Operation Identification, a program that reduces the risk of theft by inscribing valuables with a driver’s license number or other important identification.

Category: Home Security

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