Home :: Best Practices

Best Practices

When dealing with home or commercial security, the physical lock you buy is only part of the equation. There is a lot more to keep in mind when making sure your loved ones or business affairs are secure.

First of all, the lock is only as secure as the door and building it is mounted in. Cheap hollow wood doors that can easily be kicked open or broken through will not be strengthened with the simple addition of a high security lock. When possible, it is best to avoid large windows and other openings around the door. If you already have a window, then you must take proper precautions so attackers cannot reach inside to unlock the deadbolt by hand. This includes using a double deadbolt (if fire codes permit it) or a deadbolt with a locking thumbturn.

On large sliding glass doors, the locks frequently used can be very weak or easy to bypass, and are not usually interchangeable. It is best to install a product called a Charlie Bar that acts similar to a stick in the bottom of the door track, but is far more secure. Before the door can slide open, the Charlie Bar must first be raised from the inside, making it far harder for unauthorized entry from the outside.

In normal residential situations, the door frame, door jamb, and door hinges can serve as weak points in addition to the door. If they are not strong enough to keep the bolt in place, the door can still be kicked or forced open. There are several products that are meant to help reinforce these areas to resist forced entry. Our favorite is a product called Jamb Armor. It is a steel piece of metal that wraps around the door jamb on both sides and is held in place by several long screws driven into the surrounding studs in order to withstand the maximum amount of force. They also make a product called a door shield that wraps around the edge of the door, under the deadbolt lock on the door itself, in order to try and prevent the deadbolt from bending or breaking through the door. Lastly, they make hinge reinforcements (called hinge shields) to enhance the strength of the hinges. Installation of the Jamb Armor is somewhat involved because it requires the removal of the molding around the door prior to installation. For your standard handyman, it may take a day or so to install or only 1-2 hours for a qualified carpenter. If it is being installed on a new door/home, then it is a fairly simple installation process that should be done before painting and should take under 30 minutes a door. There are a few other products such as the StrikeMaster II that do not require the removal of molding around the door, but only reinforces the jamb. Armor Concepts, the makers of DJArmor, have come up with a secondary product called EZArmor , which is a screw on top product similar to most of the other products in the industry. EZArmor still reinforces all three weak points on the door. However, as it is a screw on top product, the installation is easier than the DJArmor and does not require the removal of molding from around the door. This comes at a cost to the strength of the product; without being able to wrap around the door jamb, it is not as strong as the full DJArmor product. However, it is the best screw on top solution that we have found.

Windows are always a security concern when it comes to the home. Many burglars will avoid breaking windows due to possible injury and the unwanted attention that the noise can bring. However, if the burglar is determined and there are no other easy means of entry, the burglar will break a window. There are three primary options for securing windows. The first is outside bars or other physical barriers to prevent large objects (such as people) from passing through them. Unfortunately, these are frequently too much of an eyesore to be worthwhile and may actually draw unwanted attention. The second option is to purchase and install high security windows that are extremely shatter resistant and hard to break. These have the unfortunate factor of being very expensive. The final solution is to use a security film that is meant to make ordinary windows much harder to break in a fashion that allows someone to enter. The film bonds to the glass so that when someone attempts to break the window, it will crack but stay in one piece and resist a great amount of force. The security film comes in a roll of thin transparent film and can be purchased from many online vendors. For more details, please see http://www.DIYWindowSecurity.com/.

If you run a business or are extremely worried about physical attack on your outside doors, there is an additional product that can offer great physical attack resistance. While even the Protec locks offers extremely high resistance to most common drilling tools, with the proper high security items and a complex drilling rig, it can still be drilled in a matter of minutes. In addition, virtually all modern high security cylinders are vulnerable to denial of service through miscreants inserting glue, gum, or other substances into the face of the lock. For these situations, there is one product that has risen as the best defense against physical attack, the Geminy Shield. The Geminy Shield is a guard that is attached to the door, surrounds the standard cylinder (IE Abloy Protec2), and must first be opened to reveal the normal cylinder. This additional layer of security makes your locks far more impervious to physical attack. For more details on the Geminy Shield, please contact us or see the product pages.

Finally, security is most effective when applied in layers. Do not depend on a single system for your entire home or commercial security. Use cameras, alarm systems, and most importantly, place extremely valuable items in a safe. Alarm systems act as a great deterrent for many burglars and help ensure that if a physical attack is occurring, the police are notified. Unfortunately, even the best alarm systems generally have response times between five and fifteen minutes. That means your other security systems need to deter criminals for at least this long. Cameras can provide footage of not only the attackers themselves, but also of what actions were taken and what possessions were removed (if the camera system itself is not compromised). Finally, a decent safe can provide security protection and fire protection for your valuables. While it can be very expensive to get a safe that is rated to withstand physical attack for 15 to 30 minutes, a safe that will work in most home and business robberies can cost as little as $100-400. When looking at a safe it is important to ensure that it can be bolted to the ground and that it offers fire protection of at least 1-2 hours. It is also extremely important that the safe is actually bolted to a secure surface. Otherwise, the burglars will be able to simply take your safe and worry about breaking into it at a later time. If you follow these guidelines, you will help ensure that your valuables are secure long enough for the police or other authorities to arrive. It is important to remember that on many safes, when you pay more for additional security, all you may be getting are safes that look more secure to the untrained eye.