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Latches and Locks

MYTH:  Most burglars force their way into a home to burglarize it.
FACT:  More than half residential burglaries occur with no forced entry through unlocked doors or windows..
“In most all cases, a burglar is a property criminal who breaks into your house when no one is there to steal your valuables. When I do a home security survey, I not only discuss with the resident, ways to make their property more difficult for the property criminal to get inside of the home, but also, how to make it more difficult for the thief to get valuables out of the home. Locks on both the outside and inside of your home is one of the most important pieces of safety hardware a person can own and/or have installed.”

Single Cylinder Deadbolt Lock

This type of lock requires a key to open it on the outside and has a thumb turn to open it from the inside. Sometimes known as panic deadbolts, they are convenient and easy to use in the event of an emergency; however, if used near a window can be opened easily from the outside by breaking the glass. This lock should also have a case hardened steel throw bolt that extends at least 1 inch into the doorframe. It is also important to note that this type of deadbolt lock does not prevent a thief from using the doorway to easily exit your home with stolen property. 


Double Cylinder Deadbolt

This is the best lock to use WHEN NO ONE IS HOME.  This lock requires a key on both the inside and outside to lock and unlock it and should have a case-hardened steel throw bolt that extends at least 1 inch into the door frame.  This lock is very beneficial in delaying the burglar in using the door to exit with stolen property; which could ultimately deter the burglar. However, please note that this lock could also present a potential fire escape hazard and should only be used when no one is home since that is when most burglaries occur. It is highly recommended that if installing this type of lock, an alternative lock or forming the habit of placing the key inside of the door when home.  

Security Strike Plate

The strike plate is a metal piece attached to the door frame that the deadbolt throw goes into.  It should be 4 or more inches in length and be mounted with two or more casehardened screws that are a minimum of 3 inches long.  This strike plate is meant to keep the metal bolt from being kicked from the door frame when locked. 


You have security with locks only when you can account for all of the keys.  As stated previously, many burglaries take place without forced entry.  Make sure you: 

  • Never carry identification on your key ring or holder

  • Re-key all locks when you move into a new house or apartment

  • Know who has keys to your home and make sure all family members keys are accounted for

  • Never hide a key outside

  • Do not hang keys in plain view inside of your home



MYTH:  Most of the time, burglars will break a window to gain access to your home.
FACT:  Most burglars are extremely reluctant to break glass to gain entry into a home.  The noise of glass breaking carries further than almost any other noise and makes neighbors immediately suspicious..

Sliding Glass Windows

Windows that move left to right on a track are known as sliding windows. Along with auxiliary latches and charlie bars that restrict the windows motion left to right, overhead screws or lift locks need to be installed to eliminate the windows “lift”. Installing a pan head screw (rounded on the top) vertically into the center of the upper track will eliminate the track “lift”. After the screw is inserted, it should be slightly unscrewed so that it sticks out just enough that it just clears the moveable window panel, yet no longer allows the window to lift out of the track.

Double Hung Windows

Windows that lift up to open are called double hung windows.  To secure a double hung window in the closed position, drill a set of small diameter holes into the top of the lower window through the inside frame into the outside frame.  Do not go through the outside frame on either side of the window.  The holes should be drilled at a slight downward angle and a nail or pin should be inserted to be most effective.  Partly opening the window (less then 4inches) and making a second set of holes will allow for safe ventilation while you’re at home.   Caution:  When drilling, great care should be taken to avoid drilling into the glass.

Casement Windows

Windows that crank outward to open are known as casement windows. Casement windows usually have both a crank and a latch that fastens the window.  First, make sure that the latch properly secures and locks the window.  Adjust or replace the latch if it is bent and does not close properly.  If the latch is broken or cannot be adjusted it should be replaced.  Second, if you remove the crank handle it may discourage someone from breaking the windowpane to gain access to the handle.  It does not stop the window from being opened when the crank/handle is put back on.  And remember, never screw or bolt a window shut.

Auxiliary Lock/Latch

An additional auxiliary lock would include a simple thumbscrew metal lock that can be secured to the window’s track. The lock can be even more effective by drilling a small indentation in the window frame to give the screw a place to grab. And remember, do not tighten the screw so tight that you cannot escape if necessary.

Gate Padlock

Although locking a gate does not prevent someone from jumping the gate or fence, it does make them appear MUCH more suspicious and takes an additional amount of time. It is also much harder to carry large items over a fence. Make sure that if purchasing a padlock for your fence that you do not attempt to economize. Obtain a lock that has a case hardened shackle whenever possible.


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