Door Security, Window Security. Secure the Thief’s Entry and Exit Points
are due to unlocked doors or open windows.
Always lock up properly – that means all windows and doors (it only takes a minute or two and will keep your property safe), even if you are only going to be away or out of site of the premises for a few minutes. Poor door security and window security enables opportunist burglars to snatch and run, they can quickly grab a handful of money or valuables and be gone before you return.
Burglars enter through doors more than two thirds of the time.
Even when doors are not chosen as the entry point for burglars, they are usually chosen as the main exit route for carrying out your belongings. Door security should therefore be looked at carefully from the point of view of: strength, vulnerability and security. If your overall door security (doors and frames) is not strong and secure, neither is your home. If any of your external doors seem flimsy they should be reinforced or preferably replaced with solid doors of 44mm thickness, hung on three heavy duty 100mm hinges.
Your front door is potentially the most vulnerable part of your home. It is the only entry point that you have to secure after leaving the house, it therefore needs good quality locks and depending on the door construction, some other forms of strengthening to prevent forced entry from succeeding. Solid wood (preferably 44mm thick), or metal core doors are considerably stronger than hollow core doors, panel or glazed doors. Front doors should be fitted with locks conforming to BS3621 and should have five or seven levers to protect against picking and forcing. Best door security is obtained by fitting doors with both a five lever mortise deadlock and a deadlocking rim lock or a multi point locking system.
It is a pointless waste of money fitting high quality security doors and or hardware into a weak, insecure, poorly fitted frame. Frames should be strong and securely fixed to the walls, with no gaps between the frame and wall, otherwise this will become the weakest point of the whole door security system.
Rear doors are even more vulnerable than front doors due to their generally weaker construction, they often have one or more thin wooden panels in the lower half, which can be easily kicked through by burglars. In many cases they are also concealed from view and are only secured with cheap low performance locks and or surface mounted bolts, which can be easily forced from the doors. Rear doors should be fitted with a five-lever mortise sashlock, (set into a slot in the door) to BS3621, as well as two surface mounted bolts or preferably two mortise rack bolts
Improving the door security of glazed doors can be achieved by fitting metal security grills to the door; these can be of ornamental wrought iron construction or the more conventional bars. Stronger or additional hinges may be needed to take the extra weight, unless they can be hung separately. The frame must also be fixed firmly and be substantial enough to cope with the extra weight
Patio doors should be fitted with surface mounted locks, top and bottom, unless already fitted with a multi point locking system. If these are not already fitted (older style doors), a locking bar/anti lift device should also be installed to avoid the doors being lifted or removed from the rails. Before fitting to UPVC doors contact the relevant manufacturer.
Door security is also considerably improved by the installation of external shutters which can be mechanically or electrically operated. Shutters also offer good protection from vandals. Alternatively internal collapsible grilles can be installed, these can be hidden by curtains when the grilles are in the collapsed or retracted state.
Door security is also enhanced by the installation of some form of door stop or chain, whereby the door can be partially opened, but is still secure if someone tries to force it completely open.
Other means of improving door security include: fitting a spy-hole in the door or better still a small cctv camera, which can monitor who is at the door and record the evnts on to your video recorder.
A third of all burglars gain entrance through rear windows. Visible window locks will deter some burglars because they realise that they then have to break the glass to gain access, the noise of which may attract unwelcome attention. Few burglars will break large panes of glass to gain access to a property, they prefer the smaller panes which can be broken easily and more quietly. Although window locks will not prevent a determined burglar from gaining entry to your premises they will deter the opportunist thief and will assist in slowing down the more professional burglar. Inexpensive key operated locks that are available from DIY shops improve overall window security. They should be fitted to all accessible and therefore vulnerable windows, such as all downstairs windows and those that can be reached from a flat roof, tree or drainpipe.
Most window locks are surface mounted using screw fixings and are relatively simple and quick to fix. Some types do however need to have recesses chiselled out, or holes bored in the frames, which then take a little longer and a little more skill to fit neatly. The majority of window locks are low security and are operated by a standard key, which any burglar could easily obtain. Generally however the burglar will still be loathe to break the glass to gain access to the lock, as he will want to keep any noise to a minimum.
Locking handles are less secure than separate window locks due to the ease with which most of them can be snapped with very little force.
Don’t forget that window security measures apply equally to skylights and small bathroom/cloakroom fanlight windows. These also need protection, as thieves can get through amazingly small gaps and sometimes employ young children to gain the initial access for them.
Old style louvre windows, which are rarely used today, are especially vulnerable because the glass slats can be easily removed from their frames. Ideally this style of window should be replaced with a fixed glass window, if however this is impractical, then the glass slats should be bonded to their frames with an epoxy resin and the frames themselves secured with louvre locks.
Basement and semi basement windows are often hidden from view and are therefore extremely vulnerable to attack by burglars. These windows should therefore be protected with security grilles (preferably fitted internally), or shutters. Window locks do not offer enough security in these vulnerable areas.
Other alternative ways of improving window security are:
Window bars, preferably fitted internally Grilles come in a number of forms: fixed, hinged, removable, sliding or collapsible, manufactured in steel or wrought iron, often incorporating many decorative designs. Some are fitted internally and some externally into the surrounding brickwork. Grilles are normally made to measure by the manufacturers of security hardware and or local blacksmiths.
- When fitting grilles or bars that you must have an escape route in the event of a fire, so don’t fit fixed grilles on all doors and windows. Hinged grilles should be able to be locked in the closed position.
- With all door security and window security installations, consideration must also be given to the risk of fire. All window locks, door locks, grilles, bars and shutters, especially those fixed to bedroom windows should be able to be easily opened in order not to hamper the speed of escape in any emergency situation. Keys must be stored locally but inconspicuously.