Do you know the facts on break-ins? In 2013, the FBI reported 1.9 million burglaries in the U.S., amounting to $4.5 billion in property losses. What’s even more surprising? 59% of break-ins we’re forced entry, and 74% were residential burglaries – committed in the daytime! Do those statistics blend with your previously held assumptions? There are many ways to protect your home from theft, including an alarm system or a guard dog. However, the professionals say that a good deadbolt is the best precaution a homeowner can take against burglaries. Despite the touted finesses of locks and their pickability, criminals often just go for the hammer and drill when pillaging a property. A deadbolt consists of a steel bolt that goes into the door jamb and strike plate, making the door harder to enter by force alone. Make sure that you have quality deadbolts and your home will be a less desirable target for criminals.

Single Cylinder

This is the most common type of deadbolt. It consists of a twist knob on the inside and a keyhole on the outside. You have likely seen this configuration on many homes. The ‘dead’ part of deadbolt implies that you need to manually move the bolt using a knob or key. Keep in mind that a glass—paneled door with a deadbolt can still be entered by breaking the glass and operating the knob from the inside.

Double Cylinder

The broken glass method mentioned above won’t work if you have a double cylinder deadbolt. This deadbolt is the most secure of its kind because it is operated with a key on both sides of the door. This type of lock is sometimes avoided because it makes exiting the home in the event of an emergency difficult. If the deadbolt is locked, you’d need a key to open it. This brings up serious safety concerns, especially in the event of a fire. Some building codes even forbid the installation of these locks, so be sure to do some preliminary research.

Horizontal Throw

The ‘throw’ is the bolt part of a deadbolt. Horizontal and vertical throws offer different types of security. A horizontal throw extends one inch beyond the edge of the door and into the door jamb. This kind of throw can be compromised by an intruder if he can pry the door away from the jamb far enough. Another name for this lock is a rim latch/rim lock.

Vertical Throw

A surface mounted or vertical deadbolt interlocks with cast metal rings that are attached to the door. The rings make this lock pretty much un-pryable, so a vertical throw is safer than its horizontal counterpart. Some people mistakenly call this lock a rim lock, although it’s not.

Not All Deadbolts Are Made Equal

Lock bumping is a method often used to overcome deadbolts. Some systems like the Schlage B760 are very resistant to picking and bumping, even by a professional locksmith. This lock was able to withstand: being pounded by a hammer for two minutes; being attacked by a screwdriver; the use of a hammer and pry bar, and; a running kick barrage by a martial artist. Although the last test was super cool, nothing happened.

Then they applied the forklift. This machine was positioned with blades against the door, increasing in pressure until the wheels of the forklift burned through the floor and into the cement below. The door cracked and the strike plate split as a result. Entry would have been even more difficult if the door frame was reinforced or if drywall and studs were present. Only the engineer who designed the Schlage lock was able to break into it, and that was after two months of effort. That’s pretty impressive.

Your Door Plays A Role

Choosing the right door and lock system combo is very important for getting the best of security. Residential steel clad doors have 24 gauge steel with a wood lock block core. There are even stronger doors to choose from, with cores of solid wood and corrugated metal bracing. If a wood door is more your style and speed, be sure to choose solid hardwood, the kinds without recessed panels. The paneled part of your door are thin enough for someone to kick through. A door frame that’s reinforced along with the lock and hinge can take a beating.

You’ll need to take extra precaution with glass doors. Make sure that it’s reinforced, and that the windows are small and away from the lock. The door window should be at least three feet away from the lock. That way, a criminal won’t be able to break through the door glass in order to access the lock. If you’re very concerned about security, why not add an alarm or home security system?.

The Door Frame’s Role

In the event of a forced entry, it’s usually the door frame that gives way, not the door. The strike plate can easily break off – and it’s the strike plate and door jamb that keep the door closed. If you’d like to strengthen your strike plate, screw in some three inch screws and reinforce the plate into the studs of your home. It may seem like a bit of work, but make the investment to strengthen your home against forced entry.

You can control a lot more than you think when it comes to burglaries. Did you know that more than half of the burglaries that occur each day in the U.S. are facilitated by unlocked doors and windows? This figure also includes flimsy doors that give way on the first hard kick. The best path you can take to trusted home security is by equipping your home with a comprehensive home security system. Pair this with reinforced doors and frames, and your home will be a tough nut to crack. Remember, prevention is the best protection, so make sure that you’re doing all you can to protect your home.

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