You will agree with me when I say that in order to keep your home safe for all members of the family, it is very important to have a secure front door.
Whether you live in an independent house or in a condo in an upper storey, your house will always be at a risk of burglary. And one of the most common way of breaking in the house is through the front door. It can either be just walking through an open front door or breaking in through a locked one.
Out of the total house burglaries that take place in the United States, an estimated 34% of them take place by breaking in through the front door. This percentage is the highest among other break in points like the back door, windows and garage doors.
But why do burglars prefer breaking in through the front door?
- Not many people are aware of home security systems and the different ways you can secure your front door. It is estimated that only 18% of the households in the US have a home security system put in place at the front door and the other entrances and exits.
- Most houses have a weak front door security apparatus and many of them do not even lock the doors from inside. As per a report on Victimization during Household Burglary, 27.6% of the house burglaries take place when there’s someone inside the house.
- Then the doors that are locked from outside are often locked with easy to pick locks. Some houses have weak doors with trendy designs mainly for an aesthetic look overlooking the aspect of home security. Weak doors can also be forced open by applying sufficient force which forces the locks open.
- Then you have access to the entire house upon entry through the front door. Most of the times, burglaries take place by someone who has been to the house at least once and have some knowledge of how to navigate through the house.
In this post, I’ll be giving you ideas to secure your front door once and for all. Though you might not need all of them, you can choose which one is the most appropriate one for you.
Have surveillance cameras installed
Burglars tend to avoid homes with home security systems in place. Even though they might be able to pick the lock on the door, if you have a robust home security system in place, you are almost fully secure.
Now I am well aware that complete home security solutions can cost quite a bit and is probably the reason why only 18% households in the US have them installed.
But I have an alternative.
Surveillance cameras on the front door can be a great asset in preventing burglars from breaking in. These cameras work 24×7 and can give live as well as recorded footage of the front door area or wherever you decide to install them.
The mere presence of the surveillance cameras can be enough to act as a deterrent to the burglars. Hence it is important that you position the cameras in such a way that they are easily visible to the burglars. This can deter them from breaking in.
When choosing surveillance cameras for your front door, you have two options. You can either go for a single unit camera that is installed right above your front door. Else you can go for a set of multiple cameras that can be installed at different entrances at different angles. Here are a list of some of the best front door security cameras.
Choose a safe door design
The design and strength of the front door is also one of the factors considered by the burglars before deciding to break in. If you have a simple wooden door with light locks and old, weak hinges, it can be a big motivation for breaking in.
Burglars usually tend to break into homes that offer the least resistance in terms of security and access. Hence it is important you have a sturdy door with secure locks. And avoid glass as a material on your front door.
In my opinion, the best front door design is a combination of oakwood reinforced by steel or iron. It won’t come cheap, but it will be very secure. For other ideas for a secure front door design, check out this article.
Ensure the deadbolt is strong and secure
Now every front door these days has a deadbolt lock. It is one of the basic safety features attached to a front door and one which is one of the primary reasons why house burglary today requires skill.
But ironically, most of the forced front door entries take place by using force and breaking the deadbolt. How is that possible when the deadbolt was designed to prevent the very thing it is most vulnerable to?
You see, traditional deadbolts along with the door knob lock do not go very deep into the door frame. And the metal strip that holds the deadbolt in the lock position is fixed in position by ½ or ¾ inch screws.The result is that a strong kick or sufficient force can cause the deadbolt to give way and open the door.
A solution for this is to replace the metal plate and the short screws with a metal strike plate fitted with longer screws that holds the lock firmly in place and successfully prevents breaching of the door by force.
Use secure front door hinges
A similar problem can exist for the hinges of the door. If the hinges of the door are fixed with short screws, there are chances that they can be removed by the burglars and be used to gain access through the front door.
I recommend using ball bearing hinges rather than the screw hinges as the front door has excessive usage and the ball bearing hinges are much more durable. You also have to make sure that the material of the hinges is rust and corrosion-free so that over time, the hinges do not weaken.
Reinforce the glass on the front door
If you have a taste for aesthetics and design and want to have a good looking front door with glass sections, that’s perfectly alright. Front door security doesn’t have to be so rigid that you just can’t have fancy looking doors installed. Even then, a lot can be done for their safety.
If glass is a part of the front door, make sure that it is toughened glass that is not easily shattered. If the glass is thick and strong by using a security film,, it will make more noise when broken; something which will deter the burglars.
Some burglars are experts are carving out the glass from the wooden frames and then gaining access by reaching out and opening the locks from within. There are two ways to prevent this:
- Use wooden barricades – Install barricades in front of the glass section so that the burglars cannot reach out and remove the glass. But this is likely to disturb the aesthetic appeal of your door.
- Have the glass so located that even though the glass is removed, the burglars will still not be able to open the locks from within as they would be out of reach.
Use a peep hole with a wide angle
As per statistics, 27.6% of the time, someone is at home when a burglary takes place. And out of them, 26% of the people are harmed. This tactic is used rampantly by the thieves. They ring the bell. Act as if they’re trying to sell you something or for a cause and if they sense vulnerability, they’ll force their way inside, maybe even harm you.
The best counter for this approach is to use a peep hole. When someone rings the bell or knocks at the door, you can view through the peephole and decide whether you want to open the door or not. And using a wide angle peephole will apprise you whether there is unwanted company or tools accompanying the person at the door.
A combination that works well with the peephole is the use of a door chain fitted on the inside of the door. So when you do open the door for a stranger after looking through the peephole, you do it after using the chain and opening the door slightly to ask who it is and what they want. The chain is so fixed that it opens the door only a little bit and that is not enough for someone to force their hand in and open it.
Use Innovative devices to further secure the doors
Now here’s the thing. If you already have spent a good amount of money in building your house and do not want to spend a lot for additional front door security such as fixing a new door design, installing a home security system or even fixing a more sturdy door frame, here’s what you can do.
There are a few brands out there that manufacture innovative front door security devices that make it virtually impossible to break open the door. For example, you have front door barricades for the standard entry doors as well as the french doors.
These barricades or braces as they are called are placed into position by sliding them between the floor and the base of the floor. They are locked in position with the help of the strength of the door and hence virtually make the door break-in free. These braces can be used for standard single entry doors, double french doors or even sliding patio doors.
Another device that offers front door security is the metal bar placed on the floor in which a lock fixed on the door is inserted in. When the door needs to be opened, the metal bar can be slid away from the door. Here are some other devices and equipment you can use to secure your front doors.
Install a home security system
I choose to come to this point at the last because installing a high-tech home security system can be costly for a lot of people. That probably explains why only 18% of the households in the US have home security systems installed.
But when it comes to deterring burglars, nothing works better than a home security system. Research shows that burglars tend to avoid homes fitted with burglar alarms and home security systems. And even if they do target such homes, they have to be very skilful in disabling the systems.
A home security system can be a complete security system designed to protect your home or it can be a simple burglar alarm fitted to the front door or any other entrances that are vulnerable.
The more hi-tech and costly home security systems come with multiple door and window alarms that go off when they are forced open, motion sensors that detect motion and ring alarms in case they detect movement within their range and finally the control panel which is used to electronically lock the doors.
So if you have money to afford a home security system, it is probably the best way you can burglar-proof your home.
These were 9 ways you can provide solid security to the front door of your home and prevent burglaries to a large extent.
Now there are some other ways which can indirectly be used to prevent entry through the front door. They can also be used to prevent entry through other doors and entrances.
Include signs of a home security system
You are out of town and have a home security system. The burglars do not know this fact and try to force entry to your house. This rings the alarm and activates the local security agencies. You then have to cut short your trip and come back to check what happened and register a complaint with the police.
However, there is one way to avoid all this. You can place signs or stickers at strategic positions around the house especially near the entrances that explicitly mention that a home security system is installed in the house. This will keep the burglars a fair distance away.
Have a fence or a boundary wall with sharp edges at the top
If you’re living in an independent house, just having a simple boundary wall will not suffice. The thieves can jump over the wall easily and try to break in.
One way of making it difficult for them is to have the boundary walls or the fence with sharp objects at the top. For example, if you have a concrete wall at the boundary, you can have pieces of broken glass mixed with the concrete at the top section of the wall. This will be a challenge for anyone wanting to jump over the wall.
If you have a metal fencing at the boundary, the design of the fence should be sharp at the top edge.
Eventually, it is your alertness and the precautions that you take that can prevent a burglary at home. Sometimes, even though all the security apparatus are in place, human error can cause a slip in the system which can be taken advantage of by the robbers.