Door locks create the vital first line of defense in protecting your home against burglars. Yet not all locks are the same, making it extremely important to choose just the right lock for each door. Here is what you should know to choose the best locks to prevent home burglaries.
A doorknob lock is a good way to deter casual intruders, though it will provide almost no defense against a determined burglar. A doorknob lock has a keyed lock cylinder outside and a simple lever that you turn inside. The lock stops the doorknob from turning, but it is easy to pick. It also can’t stop an intruder from kicking in the door or knocking the handle off with a hammer. Always lock your doorknob locks, but pair them with something stronger like a deadbolt.
As the name implies, a deadbolt uses a strong metal bolt to secure the door to the door frame. Single cylinder deadbolts are keyed on the outside but use a turning lever inside. They are the easiest to open from inside in the event of a fire or other emergency, but if you have windows by the door, a burglar could simply break a window, reach in, and unlock the door.
Double cylinder deadbolts are keyed on both sides, making it impossible for a burglar to reach in and unlock them. They are considered more secure than single cylinder deadbolts, but for your family’s safety, it is important to keep a key near the door and make sure all family members know where to find it.
Mechanically, keypad locks function like any other door lock. The difference is that you do not have to worry about losing or forgetting your key. Some keypad locks are smart locks that can tie into a complete home security system. As long as you change the code regularly and do not select an easily guessed code, keypad locks can be quite secure. However, they are only as good as their mechanical and electrical components, so make sure you choose only highly rated keypad locks.
Some security experts recommend backing up your door locks with physical barriers such as bars, bolts, or chains. These solutions can dramatically slow down a burglar, but all can be overcome with brute force. They may also slow down your family’s escape in the event of an emergency. Weigh your options carefully, taking all relevant factors into account. If you do add a physical barrier, it should be used only as a backup for a strong, secure lock.
The reality is that no lock or barrier is 100% burglar proof. Home burglary is largely a crime of opportunity, though, and the precautions you take may be enough to convince a would-be thief to move on to an easier target. Consider adding a monitored home security system as well for more complete protection.
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