The Door : Better Securing your Home

The old boring door

In our CSC (Comprehensive Situational Control) course we discuss various levels of awareness in regard to your surroundings. We use the term in the “Red” for that state in which you’re completely vulnerable and unaware.While this is a state most of us try to typically avoid especially while in a public setting there are times that we’re all in the red.
The most common example would be while your sleeping.

Outside of the required time to let your guard down it’s safe to say that we are most likely to find ourselves in the “Red” in our home; even those of us who tend to function at a relatively high level of alertness. After all this is our place of respite and comfort. This is where we most often bond with our loved ones, decompress after a long day and maybe even partake in an adult beverage or three. Understanding that at times it’s inevitable that we let our guard down it makes sense to take appropriate measures to help counter our complacency. Physical security is a great way to do this. Even outside of our personal safety, most of us would prefer to not have our home looted while were away at work. Focusing in on physical security of our home this week we’re going to discuss the often overlooked DOOR. While it may at first seem basic I believe the majority of the readers will likely learn about some simple and cheap changes they can make that could greatly reduce this vulnerable entry point into your home.

A Few Stats

34% of Home Invasions occur through the front door

22% of Home Invasions occur through the back door

As you can see from those few stats, over half of the home invasions occur through one of the two main entry doors. The majority coming right through the front! Considering these statistics it makes sense to take a few steps to help mitigate this risk.

A quick note: In this article we’re discussing some physical security measures you can take, but it’s important to recognize that procedural security is just as important. After all it doesn’t matter how secure your home is if you open the door for the criminal. 

I’m good, I lock my door every night and when I’m away.

If only it were that simple. Did you know that the typical dead bolt locker door is easily kicked in by an average sized person? Watch the video below to see it in action as a home invader easily does just that. The weakpoint isn’t the deadbolt, or even the door itself. It’s the door frame, and below we’ll tell you how to harden that up.

Most entry doors have wood frames, which are ¾-inch thick pine. The deadbolt is mounted with only half an inch of material between it and the edge of the door frame. So that nice, solid deadbolt breaks right through the door frame when a boot is applied to the door, giving the criminals access to your home.

Note: Though unrelated to this particular article take note of the slip that has been left on the door…..indicator that you’re out of town?

Security Hinges

Security Hinges are a simple (and cheap) fix you can apply that help especially in the case of doors with outward accessible hinges. Think of a door that opens outward. They’re designed so that with the door in the closed position even if the hinge pin is removed the door is still locked in place due to the security pin or tab that is interlocked with the opposing side. See the image for better understanding. There are a variety of these type of hinges on the market and not all are created equal. Typically the more robust and long the security pin (or tab) is the more challenging it is to defeat. Another alternative is buying a stand alone security pin which is made to replace a screw on your existing hinges.
While these small deadbolt style hinges aren’t as strong as the actual deadbolt of the door it does strengthen the resistance….and don’t forget that you have three of them as well. Additionally, it’s equally important that you install them with appropriate hardware. We recommend using some 3-1/2 inch case-hardened screws, so that the screws go through the frame and well into the 2″x 4″ structural stud behind it. That way, the stud is what’s absorbing the force, not just the door frame. Also don’t forget to pre-drill your holes, otherwise your essentially splitting the wood on the install and greatly reducing the strength.

Security Plate

Moving over to the deadbolt side of the door we can further increase your strength. A very cheap and simple method is to simply replace the existing striker plate hardware with 3-1/2 inch case-hardened screws like above. This will greatly increase the existing strength as it pushed into the wall studs. An even better solution however is to install a security plate. There are a number of competing varieties available but for the most part they all work in a similar manner. They provide a longer (much longer) striker plate which helps to disperse the shock if impacted. Check out the demo video below for the product we’ve linked to here.

A Few Others

These simple steps truly help to reinforce the strength of your door. There are a number of other options you can also purchase or improvise with a little creativity and I’ll cover a few of them below before we close out.

Door Braces

There are various cost efficient braces on the market such as the one pictured below. Additionally if you don’t mind a little minor construction to your floor the Club is a good option as well. Then of course you always have the old school door bar option.

Sliding Doors

If you’re stuck with sliding doors in your house you can use a Sliding Door Brace or just as effectively used a cut down wooden broom handle or the like.

In Closing

There are numerous products and modifications you can do to better your security in your home. Here we’ve covered some of the more effective and popular methods that should get you off to a good start on hardening your home against potential invasion. If you have a specific tip or trick that you like and we didn’t list it here please share it with us in the comments below. Until next time stay safe and

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