Home Security

 

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Residential burglary is a serious problem and the police department cannot fight it alone. Anything you can do to make forced entry into your home more difficult is a step in the right direction. Good security may reduce your chances of being a victim of crime.

Minimum security means the prevention of entry by a burglar through any door or windows except by means of destructive force. Some burglars will not break a window to enter.

Additional security means the prevention of exit by an intruder through any door except by means of destructive force. This reduces the possibility of theft of large possessions after the intruder has gained entrance through a window and is expecting to exit through a door.

The first step to improve security for your home is to first perform a thorough inspection. The Dallas Police Department has officers who will perform an inspection free of charge.

The exterior environment of your home can make a big difference in your ability to prevent illegal activity.

Appearance and Maintenance

  • Trees and shrubs should never block the view from your doors or windows. Overgrown landscape can provide a hiding place for an intruder while trying to gain entrance into your home. The recommended height for shrubs is no higher than three (3) feet and trees cut up from the ground six (6) to seven (7) feet. Consider utilizing uninviting plants such as cactus, yucca or sharp-pointed leaf shrubbery in front of ground floor windows.

  • Nameplates on doors and mailboxes should have only the last name. Do not indicate your marital status or sex.

  • House numbers should be able to been seen clearly from the street. This will enable the police or fire department to locate your home more quickly.

  • Keep the exterior looking clean and fresh. A well-maintained appearance may further protect your home.

  • Remove graffiti and do not let it become an eyesore. Graffiti may be the random work of a juvenile delinquent or the work of a gang member marking territory. It serves as an invitation for more problems; remove it or paint over it immediately. Before you remove the graffiti, contact the Gang Unit (214-670-GANG) so that they may inspect it. Graffiti is often a news source of the streets.

  • Repair vandalism quickly. As with graffiti, an important part of discouraging vandalism is to repair the problem fast. Report the vandalism to your ICP officers as it provides a more accurate picture of what is going on in your neighborhood. Remember, if your property looks like you respect and care for it others will also respect it.

  • Use lighting to its best advantage. Install lighting over all entrances, as criminals do not like to be seen. Install flood lighting at all external entrances as well as courtyards, walkways, driveways and any other area as dictated by the layout of your yard.

Entry Doors

  • Exterior doors should be of solid core construction. Hollow doors are NOT acceptable!
  • Exterior doors should be at least 1 3/4 inches thick. A thinner door could give way if forcible entry is attempted by kicking in the door.
  • Wooden doors should be inspected to make sure the panels are not rotten and that the joints have not become unglued or separated.
  • Strike plates should be installed with wood screws with a minimum length of three (3) inches.
  • A wide-angle viewer in the door lets you see your visitor. A minimum 190-degree view is DOOR VIEWER recommended. See Figure 1.
  • Do not rely on chain latches as locks; they give you a false sense of security as they can be easily kicked or pried loose!
  • Do not use spring bolt (Key-on-Knob) locks. Surface mounted spring bolt cylinder rim locks are not acceptable.
  • Install a double cylinder deadbolt, which is a one (1) inch deadbolt and double cylinders with hardened cylinder guards. This lock must be used if glass is within 40 inches of the locking device. A single cylinder deadbolt may be used if there is no glass within 40 inches of the locking hardware. If the double cylinder deadbolt is locked when the house is occupied, a key should be left in the inside keyhole as a means of fast exit in case of fire. Always remove the key when leaving home. See Figure 2.
  • Add a dead-latch to your existing knob-lock set to keep a burglar from slipping your door open with a credit card. The dead-latching device may be purchased separately and will interchange with the spring latch without replacing the entire lockset. See Figure 3.
  • Install flush bolts at the top and bottom of the inactive door of a pair of doors. Flush bolts offer additional security since the intruder cannot get at these devices to tamper with them if the doors are locked.  See Figure 4.
  • Hinged protection will prevent the door from being lifted from its hinges. To protect your door hinges, first remove two screws, opposite each other from both sides of the hinge, inset a screw into jamb leaf protruding about 1/2 inch and then drill out the opposite screw hole in the door on both hinges of the door. When the door is closed and the pins are removed, the door will remain firmly in place. See Figure 5. 

  • Sliding glass doors can be secured in a number of ways. It is recommended to install an auxiliary lock on your sliding door. See Figure 6.

1.) Drill a downward sloping hole through the top channel into the top portion of the sliding door frame. Insert a pin to provide minimum security. See Figure 6A


2.) Install a key-operated deadbolt that may be keyed to match your front door key. See Figure 6B.


 

3.) Install a slide bolt with a padlock for additional security. The padlock may be keyed to match your front door key. See Figure 6 C.

4.) Shop carefully for your padlock. It should be hardened steel with at least a 3/8- inch shackle to prevent the use of bolt cutters. It should be a double locking mechanism - heal and toe and have a five-pin tumbler. If possible get a key-retaining feature, which will not let you remove the key until the padlock is secured. Never leave a padlock unlocked so that it can be removed and a key made for it. Record and then remove the "key code number" that is located on the bottom of the lock. With these numbers a duplicate key can be made.

  • The single lock on a garage door is not enough to keep an intruder out. Once entrance has been gained into your garage, the intruder may be able to enter your home or use tools found in the garage to gain entrance into your home. Keep tools in a locked location. Cover garage windows so that a burglar will not know if the garage is empty.
  • Never leave a lock unlocked! Remove the "key code number" from the bottom of the lock. Be sure to record this number before it is removed.

1.) Add another bolt and padlock to the opposite side of the door.

2.) Install a cane bolt on the inside of the door. See Figure 7.

3.) Add a top center hasp so that any person of average height can operate it. The hasp must be of hardened steel and installed with carriage bolts through the door or gate. Use the proper washer on the inside and deface the threads of the bolt ends to prevent the nuts from being removed. See Figures 8 and 9.

 

4.) Do not economize on a padlock that will not give you the needed protection. The minimum standard for an exterior padlock should be one that is made of harden steel with a 3/8 inch shackle (heavier shackles offer more security). It should be a double locking mechanism-heel and toe with a five-pin tumbler. An additional security feature is a key-retaining feature, which will not allow you to remove the key until the padlock has been locked. See Figure 10.

Windows

  • Windows present problems of a different nature than entry doors. Glass can be removed or broken instead of forcing the window open and activating the alarm system. First floor windows are naturally the most vulnerable. Also top floor windows can be reached from the roof.
  • One method to prevent breakage of windows is to install unbreakable, transparent polycarbonate materials, which look like glass but are more difficult to break. These types of materials are rather expensive and may be cost prohibitive.
  • Another way to protect your windows is by the installation of burglar bars.
  • The installation of storm windows will offer burglar protection as well as conserve energy.
  • A bedroom window on the ground floor or second floor must be available as a fire exit!! Consideration must be paid to the use of designated windows as fire exits, which may often be the fastest and safest means to escape a fire.
  • Sliding windows may be removed from the track. Devices for securing sliding windows are the same as securing sliding glass doors. See Figure 11.

1.) Window pins as shown in Figure 12, which can be purchase in your local hardware store.


2.) Anti-slide block as shown in Figure 13, which can be purchased in your local hardware store.


3.) Slide bolts as shown in Figure 14, which can be purchased in your local hardware store.


  • Casement windows have latches and must work properly for proper security. Make sure there is no excess play in the mechanism. Replace wont hardware. Remove the operation crank and store in a safe place for added security. See Figure 15.

  • Double hung windows have crescent latches that may be jimmied open. If the window is not in use and is not needed as an emergency screw it shut. See Figure 16.

1.) For a window that is not in use, drill a downward sloping hole into the top of the bottom window through the top of the window secure with a wood screw. See Figure 16 A.


2.) For a window in use, drill a downward sloping hole into the top of the bottom window through and into the bottom of the top window and insert a pin. See Figure 16 B.

  • Louver or Jalousie windows are impossible to secure. It is recommended by the Dallas Police Department to replace these types of windows with a solid glass or another type of ventilating windows. If you wish to keep this type of window, protect it with a grille unless it is a window used as an emergency exit. See Figures 17 and 18. It is recommended that you do not leave these windows open when you are not home as it is an invitation to pry it open.

Lighting

  • Good exterior lighting is important. It is even more important when areas of the yard are obscured by shrubbery. Use a timer or photoelectric cell that will automatically turn on the lights at dusk. Be sure to locate lights where an intruder cannot easily reach, such as under eaves. If you choose to use a motion detector light unit, make sure that it is mounted so that an animal walking across your yard will not activate it.

  • Exterior lighting should be used on a regular basis. Turning on a porch light only when you leave announces your absence to criminals.

Secondary Barriers

  • A security closet will provide a secondary barrier to protect your valuables such as cameras, jewelry, guns or anything you consider valuable. The closet should have a solid core door with a 1-inch deadbolt. Be sure to secure this door as you would an entry door into your home.
  • A safe is another option as a secondary barrier. One that is fireproof will provide additional safety if there should be a fire. The size of the safe will depend upon your needs. The location of the safe will depend upon your home but should be secured so that an intruder cannot remove it.

Alarms

  • Do not depend on an alarm as your only protection!!! An alarm is not meant to prevent physical entry into your home. The only purpose of an alarm is to alert your alarm company and police of a forcible entry.
  • When selecting an alarm company, use a reputable company. Before making a decision, thoroughly research your options. Contact the Better Business Bureau and ask for references. Contact your ICP officers for a security inspection of your home for ideas of what you will need. An alarm system should include:
  1. A battery failsafe backup system. 
  2. Smoke sensing capability.
  3. Horn sounding device.
  4. Transmitting capability to alert the alarm company. 
  5. Read-out ability to check the system.
  6. Consider glass breakage devices. 
  7. Motion detection devices.
  • Always check your system monthly to insure that it is working! If the horn is not working, it will not be a deterrent!!
   

 

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