13 Inexpensive Ways to Theft-Proof Your Home
Tips to make your home more burglar resistant without spending a fortune.
Pick-Proof Your Dead Bolt
Reinforce Your Entry Door Strike Plate
To install, remove the old strike plate, then hold the new one in place and deeply score around it. Chisel out space for the new plate, then mount it by driving 3-in. screws through predrilled holes.
Secure Patio Doors
Andersen Corp.’s auxiliary foot lock (andersenwindows.com) fastens along the bottom of the door and has a bolt that fits into a grommet to hold the door secure. A similar lock, the Door Guardian (thedoorguardian.com) attaches at the top of the door. Both locks allow the door to open 3 in. without compromising security. Installation takes about 10 minutes. Screw the bracket containing the pin to the door, then drill holes and insert grommets in the track for the pin to slide into.
Add Inexpensive Door and Window Alarms
Attach the alarm to the door or window (with a screw or double-sided tape) alongside the magnetic contact strip (they don’t have to be touching, but within 1/2 in.). When the door or window opens, breaking magnetic contact, the alarm shrieks (these little units have a piercing alarm). The door alarm has a delay feature, giving you time to set the alarm and leave, then open the door and deactivate the unit when you come home, without setting it off. The window unit has an on/off switch. The alarms will work on any door or window, and the batteries last two to three years.
Beef Up Your Wooden Garage Entry Door
Cut the plywood to fit over the door’s center section (make sure it covers the windows but doesn’t cover the door handle). Fasten it to the door with drywall screws.
Test-fit a bracket and 2×4 against the door. Measure how far the bracket is from the wall, then cut filler strips that distance and install them. Fasten the brackets in place by drilling 1/4-in. pilot holes and inserting 3/8 x 3-in. lag screws. Place the 2x4s in the brackets.
Install a Small Safe
Install the wall safe or cylinder floor safe by bolting it to the floor (most safes have holes inside for just that purpose). Hide it in the corner of a closet or other inconspicuous area. Or mount the wall safe inside a wall and cover it with a picture. Or chip out a hole in your concrete slab and stick in the floor safe, then pour new concrete around it.
Keep Spare Keys in a Lock Box
Know Who’s There
Avoid uncertainty by installing a wide-angle door viewer. The one shown here from M.A.G. Engineering and Manufacturing Co. (magsecurity.com, No. 8720) offers a 160-degree view and is available on the company’s website. Install it just like a standard peephole—drill a hole from each side and screw it in.
Protect Your Mail
Put Motion Detector Lighting Anywhere
Don’t Keep the Clicker in Your Car
A thief who breaks into your car can grab the remote for easy access to your garage. This isn’t just a problem when your car is parked in the driveway; the registration card in your glove box gives a crook your address.
So get rid of the remote on your visor and buy a keychain remote. You can easily take it with you every time you leave the car. Home centers stock only a small selection of remotes, but you’ll find more online. Start your search by typing in the brand of your opener, followed by “remote.”
Lock Up the Overhead Door
Install Door Reinforcement Hardware
Measure the entry door thickness and the spacing between the entry knob and the dead bolt cylinder. Then buy either a single or a double wrap-around door reinforcement plate kit and four 1-1/2-in.-long stainless steel wood screws. Then get a doorjamb reinforcement kit.
Remove the entry knob and dead bolt cylinder. Then remove the dead bolt and latch and toss the short screws. Install the wrap-around door reinforcement plate and reinstall the latch and dead bolt plates using the longer stainless steel screws.