Home Security – Locks

iStock_000000416853XSmallThere have been a lot of break-ins in my city recently thought I would share some suggestions on home security.

*Locks-  Locks are where most home owners strangely try to save a few bucks.  With all the lock picking videos on YouTube and easy availability of lock picks online that seems like a pretty bad idea.

Best Lock brand for residential-  Standard Schlage locks are a good all around lock, hard to pick (not impossible), they are robust and well made.  You can buy a six pin Schlage in a commercial rated lock which is a bit harder to pick than the standard 5 pin lock.  Also, most Schlage locks are equipped with pick resistant bump resistant top pins (there are top and bottom pins in modern locks).

Budget Lock Residential- Defiant brand available at Home Depot and online.  Not near the lock above in quality, but if you are on a fixed income this is better than others.  They are 5 pin but have the bump resistant top pins.

High end Locks residential- Medeco, Assa, and MulTLok are the top 3 high end locks.  Available only through locksmith shops.  Top of the line drill resistant, extremely hard to pick and reliable.  Keys are controlled; means that someone tries to copy your key unbeknownst to you they cannot even through a lock shop.  These are expensive but worth it if your property is full of valuables.

Modified Locks- There are some decent restricted key locks out there like Schlage Everest that have a side bar inside, which makes picking and bumping very difficult.  They are also six pin.  You can buy them through a locksmith shop and install them yourself.  Keys are tough to copy, but not impossible.  This is the best compromise of all the above on quality, cost and protection.

Deadbolt tips-  Make sure your bolt throws all the way into the door jam/frame.  If it isn’t throwing all the way with a slightly audible click or snap at the end it isn’t locked and can be slid back open!!!  You can test this by staying in the house, locking the door and get a flashlight and a sharp thin ice pick.  Shine the light in the edge of the door until you see the bolt.  Slide the pick to the bolt and staring on the frame side, with some light force stick the pick into the metal of the bolt and try sliding it back toward the deadbolt lock.

It may move a little and stop…. that is good.  If you can move it all the way back which may take a minute, it is not locking or throwing deep enough.  You may have to drill out the hole in the frame or adjust the strike plate so the bolt throws all the way.  Sometimes you might have to call a locksmith or handyman to fix it if you are having trouble.

Knob & Lever handle tips-  Very similiar to the deadbolt, the strike plate on the frame facing the knob needs to be positioned to allow the deadlatch feature to lock the latch bolt.  Try opening the door, and look closely at the latch bolt.  If you have the correct type there are actually 2 bolts that look like one….you can take a small pick or screwdriver and spring the smaller of the two into the latch without moving the main large latch with the curve.  That little bolt is the deadlatch.  If you push the dead latch in and then try to move the main latch it should only move slightly and stop.

Close your door, and with a flashlight on the interior of the door, shine the light at the knob latch and see if the deadlatch is being sprung in when the door is closed.  To really test it, go outside (during daytime!) and get an old stiff plastic credit card and a pair of needle nose or regular pliers.  Without locking the deadbolt, try to “credit card” your knob/lever….grab the card with the pliers and try to forcibly wedge the card between the frame and the latch.  If you succeed and the door opens or you can pull/push it open when the card is inserted it is NOT deadlatching.  A deadlatch working correctly will stop a “credit card” attack cold in its tracks.

Key Control-  Simply put control access to your keys as if it was the pin number to your bank account.  Don’t leave keys laying around or hang them on key racks next to the door.  This is a bad practice and should NEVER be done.  Also, when going to the mechanic, take your house key off the ring and only give them the car keys.  Lastly, don’t give keys to neighbors in case you get locked out and don’t “hide” them under the mat or in the yard in the fake sprinkler head.  This is common knowledge and easy to spot.

Buy a Supra push button armored key box, mount it to the garage or solid post facing away from the street and hidden.  Use a good 5 digit code that is random (not your house number, SS #, or cell phone digits) and keep a spare key there.  The cheap lock boxes are easy to open, but the Supra box is very tough.

Rocky Mountain Security Group

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