are many things you can do to boost home security, such
as adding an alarm system or getting a guard dog, but
unless you have working deadbolt locks and actually use
them, your home isnít secure, locksmiths say.
Cronk, owner of highly rated (on Angieís List) Metro
Lock Service in Portland, Ore., says intruders use force
to gain entry in a majority of home burglaries.
"Because the locks or deadbolts are not functioning
properly or they are inadequate, the intruder is able to
kick the door in," he says.
deadbolt is a type of lock with a steel bolt that
extends into the door jamb and strike plate of a door
frame. The most common type is the single-cylinder
deadbolt, operated by a twist knob on the inside of the
door and a key on the outside. Some people prefer the
double-cylinder deadbolt, which doesnít have a twist
knob and requires a key for operation both inside and
outside the home.
burglaries are forced-entry
to the latest FBI statistics, there were 1.9 million
burglaries in the United States in 2013, resulting in
$4.5 billion in property loss. Out of all burglaries, 59
percent were the result of forced entry. Residential
burglaries accounted for 74 percent of all burglaries,
and a majority occurred during the daytime.
should definitely have a deadbolt, and it needs to be a
quality one with a hardened steel bolt," says Eric
Ball, locksmith at highly rated Broad Ripple Lock in
the deadbolt to function properly, the bolt must extend
fully into the hole on the door jamb. The hole should be
reinforced with a metal strike plate. If the bolt doesnít
extend all the way into the hole or if a strike plate
isnít used, the lock and door frame can be
when someone kicks in a door, itís not the door that
breaks, itís the door frame," Ball says.
"You should use 3-inch screws to reinforce the
strike plate into the studs of the frame of the
if you have a deadbolt lock on your door, it wonít
make a difference if itís not used regularly. Cronk
says many homeowners find it easier to lock the doorknob
and often neglect to lock the deadbolt.
agrees. "Doorknobs are for convenience, deadbolts
are for security," he says.
and double-cylinder issues
should take note that a single-cylinder deadbolt can be
breached if an entry door has glass panels, because a
burglar can break the glass and reach inside to unlatch
the deadbolt. A double-cylinder deadbolt will protect
against this, and Ball recommends homeowners keep a key
close by but out of armís reach. However, the
double-cylinder deadbolt can be problematic in the event
of a house fire because a key is required to unlock the
door from the inside.
solution may simply be to replace the door itself. Many
exterior doors are designed with security in mind, using
reinforced glass or small windows far enough away from
the lock to prevent a burglar from reaching in.
additional security, Cronk says, avoid hiding a spare
key under the doormat. "Get a secure lockbox for
your Hide-a-Key," he says. He also recommends that
new homeowners have their locks changed, because there
is no way to know who previously had keys to the home.