Burglar-Resistant Homes – Part I
There are a number of measures that homeowners can take to ensure that their homes are not attractive to burglars. If clients are concerned about break-ins, inspectors can pass on to them basic strategies for burglar-proofing their homes.
Some interesting statistics concerning break-ins in the United States:
- Estimates that theft makes up more than three-quarters of all reported crime.
- In 2005, law enforcement agencies reported more than 2 million burglary offenses.
- 81% enter through the first floor;
- 34% of burglars enter through the front door;
- 23% enter through a first-floor window;
- 22% enter through the back door
- 9% enter through the garage;
- 4% enter through the basement;
- 4% enter through an unlocked entrance;
- 2% enter through a storage area; and
- 2% enter anywhere on the second floor.
- Doors should be made of steel or solid-core wood construction. Hollow-core wood doors are more easily broken than heavy, solid-core doors.
- Doors should be free of signs of rot, cracks and warping.
- Doors should be protected by quality deadbolt locks. Chain locks are not adequate substitutes for deadbolt locks, although chain locks may be used as additional protection.
- If a mail slot is present, it should be equipped with a cage or box. Mail slots that are not equipped with cages or boxes have been used by burglars to enter homes. Burglars can insert a contraption made of wire and cord into the mail slot and use it to open the lock from the inside, if no box or cage is present.
- If a door is equipped with glass panes, they should be installed far from the lock. Otherwise, burglars can smash the glass and reach through the door to unlock the door.
- Spare keys should not be hidden in obvious locations. Burglars are very good at finding keys that homeowners believe are cleverly hidden. The best place for a spare key is in the house of a trusted neighbor. If keys must be hidden near the door, they should not be placed in obvious locations, such as under a doormat, rock or planter.
- A peephole can be installed in doors so homeowners can see who is on their doorstep before they open the door.
- Clients should consider installing bump-resistant locks on their doors. “Bumping” is a technique developed recently that can open almost any standard lock with less effort than is required by lock-picking. This technique uses “bump keys,” which are normal keys with slight modifications. Lock companies such as Schlage, Primus and Medeco manufacture a number of locks that offer some bump-resistance.
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Posted on July 24, 2012, in Inspections and tagged break-in, burglar-proof, Burglary, Comprehensive Building Consultants, exterior door, Inspections, Inspector Gadget, Medeco, peephole, Primus, Property Guiding, Russ Hensel, Schlage, SWFL Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.