Community Oriented Policing Unit
Burglary Prevention Tips
Many residential doors feature hollow-core construction and
poor locks, which are easily forced or kicked open. For additional
protection, you need solid core doors and quality locks.
Many burglars enter homes through improperly secured arcadia
doors. Additional locks and security measures will prevent
the door from being opened or lifted out of the track.
Screws installed in the track above the sliding door frame
will prevent the door from being lifted out of the track.
Drill a pilot hole in the top track above, and slightly in,
from each corner of the sliding doorframe section and install
a screw into each hole. Adjust the screws so that the head
of the screw just barely clears the frame when it is moved
back and forth.
These doors need solid security as they are easily jimmied
or forced open. Flush lever bolts installed at the top and
bottom of the doors are recommended. Make sure the bolt is
long, sturdy and mounted into a solid door frame.
Doors with Windows
Doors with glass windows or glass ornamentation require double
key deadbolt locks. This prevents the burglar from breaking
the glass and reaching inside to unlock the door.
The key to a double key deadbolt lock should be left in
the lock at all times when someone is home to ensure easy
exit in the event of a fire or other emergency.
Standard locks on garage doors are easily pried, allowing
a burglar access to your home without detection. Cane bolts
and hasps are excellent protection. Make certain each side
of the garage door is secured to prevent prying open a crawl
space. Any door leading from the garage into the house should
be securely locked. The more barriers you provide against
the burglar, the better protected you are.
Many homes have doors that open to the outside, exposing
the hinge pins. Despite a good strong lock, the burglar can
remove the pins and lift the door from the frame.
To prevent this, remove two opposing screws from each leaf
of the hinge. Screw a long lag bolt into the frame side of
the hinge leaf and saw off the head leaving about 1/2 inch
protruding. Drill out the opposite hole to allow the bolt
to enter when the door is closed. Do this to the top and bottom
The burglar can remove the hinge pins, but the door will
remain firmly in place. This technique is good for any door,
no matter how the hinges have been placed.
To avoid opening your door without knowing who is there,
install a door viewer. This device has a wide-angle lens to
let you see someone standing outside your door without opening
Some homes come equipped with this lock. It offers very little
protection since the bolt can be slipped with a credit card
This same lock, with a deadbolt latch, provides more protection,
but it too can be forced open.
A deadbolt lock can provide good protection. When you turn
the key, the lock mechanism slides a strong metal bolt from
the door into the frame. When you buy a deadbolt lock, make
sure that the bolt extends at least one inch from the edge
of the door, the connecting screws that hold the lock together
are on the inside of the door, the strike plate is attached
to the door frame with screws that measure at least three
inches in length and that the cylinder has a steel guard around
the key section. The cylinder guard should be tapered or rotate
freely around the key section to prevent wrenching if it is
Single Cylinder Deadbolt
A solid bolt, activated by a key from the outside or a knob
on the inside, slides into the doorframe. The lock cannot
be slipped or easily pried. Deadbolt locks are only as good
as the door and frame they are installed in.
Double Cylinder Deadbolt
This lock is basically the same as the single cylinder deadbolt,
except that it requires a key to be used from either side
This lock has either horizontal or vertical deadbolts. It
cannot be easily slipped, pried or forced with a wrench. This
lock, like all others, requires a strong mounting surface
and hardware to be effective.
When selecting padlocks to secure your garage door, storage
shed, fence gate or toolbox, do not economize. Low-priced
locks are made from low quality materials and easily pried
open or cut with bolt cutters. Look for these features when
purchasing a padlock:
- Double locking shackle at the toe and heel
- Hardened steel shackle, the larger the diameter the better
- Five pin tumbler
- Key retaining feature (prevents removal of the key when
- A strong steel hasp used with the padlock
Sliding glass windows should be given the same security treatment
as arcadia doors. Use the same supplementary locks or screws
in the frame. Screws installed in the track above the sliding
window frame will prevent the window from being lifted out
of the track.
Drill a pilot hole in the top track above each corner of
the window frame and install a screw into each hole. Adjust
the screws so that the head of the screw just barely clears
the frame when it is moved back and forth.
Casement - Crank Windows
These windows are easily secured. The latch should close
properly with the window tight. With the latch in a closed
position, drill a small hole through the latch frame and handle.
Insert a metal pin through the hole to lock the window.
For additional security, a small padlock can be used in place
of the pin. Key operated replacement latches are also available
from a locksmith or hardware store. Keep the key handy in
case of emergency.
Double Hung Windows
An easy, inexpensive way to secure your windows is to use
the "pin" trick. Drill an angled hole through the
top frame of the lower window partially into the frame of
the upper window. Then insert the pin (a nail or an eyebolt
that is slightly smaller in diameter than the hole). The window
can't be opened until you remove the pin. Make a second set
of holes with windows partially open so you can have ventilation
without inviting intruders.
You also may purchase special key locks for windows at a