Front Door Security

What skills to learn, what tools to get
llorona
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Front Door Security

Post by llorona » Sun Jan 04, 2015 4:20 pm

Has anyone here had experience with residential front door security? As in making it as difficult as possible for someone to kick in the front door? How about hardening a door frame?

Our front door is strong and it has a lock, deadbolt, and a chain. I recently tried installing this product http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000UV ... UTF8&psc=1 but it didn't fit the configuration of the existing locks.

I'm thinking about:
1. Reinforcing the door frame
AND
2. Installing a security bar like this http://www.amazon.com/See-Safe-Home-Sec ... curity+bar)

Any thoughts or recommendations?

Thanks!

Chris
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by Chris » Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:15 pm

Since standard locks and chains are easily defeated, you're right to be thinking about this.

Is there a specific type of threat you're trying to protect against?

Your first idea is ok, but doesn't really help if the lock can be opened with a bump key.

Your second idea is good (protects even if if the door is unlocked), but only works if you're inside, right? For similar protection, you might also consider the Door Club, depending on your type of door and type of floor.

llorona
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by llorona » Sun Jan 04, 2015 6:25 pm

There has been a recent uptick in home invasions in which intruders/robbers simply kick in the front door. It doesn't seem to matter to them if people are home or not. That's why I was thinking about option #2 as an extra layer of security when I'm home alone.

I'll definitely look into the Door Club. We have a slightly raised door threshold, so I need to see if it will work.

Fortunately, the previous owner was somewhat paranoid about security. The other windows and doors are as secure as they will ever be, and the house came with a good alarm system.

Thank you for the recommendation.

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jennypenny
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by jennypenny » Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:20 pm

The door bar is good as long as you reinforce the door frame and screw the bar into studs. (use 4" screws) If that's not possible, try something like a nightlock . There's also this if you can't screw into the floor. Deadbolts work *if* you reinforce the door frame and use 4" long deadbolts.

You could also install a siren . I don't mean the kind that is wired to an alarm company. It's just a scare tactic, but they are loud and meant to startle and scare off an intruder. A bright motion light pointed at the door would add to the effect.

George the original one
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by George the original one » Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:00 pm

I have to laugh at the illustrations that nightlock uses... I mean bolting shut a French door with windows just invites the windows to be broken :-)

llorona
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by llorona » Mon Jan 05, 2015 3:02 pm

Thanks, folks. I appreciate the ideas! I'll report back once the reinforcements are in place.

Sclass
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by Sclass » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:01 am

Whoa llorona! I was about to say thieves almost never enter through the front door. But you sound like you've got some genuine home invaders. Your bar from Amazon was what I was going to suggest. I made a similar thing with 4" lag bolts, pipe straps and 1" water pipe when I was a student. Cheaper than the Amazon thing. I was scared of getting kicked in back then.

Just saying, this sucks. Good luck.

Placing some steel dowel pins into the door frame on the hinge side that poke into the door as you close it (mating holes drilled into door) help. Also, my pal, a cop who kicks in a lot of doors) uses ghetto bars on the outside of his front door. The door opens out. The bar door and grate is bolted to the door frame from the outside. The only wAy to come through is with a battering ram vehicle (not the silly thing they swing in their arms...it's clear he designed it from his own attack style) or prying it off the door frame away from the home.

He was scared of retaliation from some of the guys he put behind bars.

There was a third style I saw in nyc that had a knob in the middle and it activated four bars that went into the ceiling, floor and walls(door frame) kind of like a safe door. I'll see if I can dig up an image.

Tommy
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by Tommy » Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:05 am

In South Africa, where I live, this a routine consideration. Most people solve it by:
- installing a security door in addition to the front door (some examples: http://www.homedepot.com/b/Doors-Window ... 5yc1vZaqqe). People that have metalworking skills often make their own. The advantage of these is that they usually swing outwards, so it's hard to kick them ''in''.
- Installing an alarm on the doorframe itself. There are devices that you install on the door and the door frame, and when the magnetic connection breaks between the alarm sounds. Just make sure it's hooked up to a loud siren that will wake everyone up. Something similar to this: http://www.homedepot.com/b/Electrical-H ... 5yc1vZc202

That said, in South Africa it seems that invading via the windows or via garage doors is more the standard method.

llorona
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by llorona » Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:21 am

Thank you for the additional ideas.

I think thieves in this area prefer to kick in front doors because alarm systems tend to be located near the front entrance of the house. If they get in quickly enough, they can supposedly rip the console out of the wall before the alarm goes off. That's why I'm primarily interested in securing the front door - if thieves tamper with the windows or other doors, the alarm system will go off immediately, provided it's armed. It's super-loud - I accidentally tripped it myself a couple months back.

We've got a security grate on the side entrance. In the back we've got French doors, with an additional lock drilled into the top of the door frame. We're planning on building a fence to prevent anyone from getting back there.

I will talk to DH about adding a security grate on the front door. However, I'm leaning toward installing an inside door bar or Door Club.

Because I work at home alone during the day, I'm mostly concerned about someone breaking in while I'm here. It would suck if thieves broke in while we weren't home, but frankly there isn't that much to steal.

billc
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by billc » Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:18 pm

Pretty much all home security is relatively easy to defeat (even the options you're looking at). Depending on the construction of the home often times thieves can just cut through the wall. I even know of a situation where the thieves cut around the front door frame using a sawz-all and stole the door!

Best security:
1. Move to a safer area
2. Have nothing worth stealing (you might still have a break in, but your losses will be low)
3. Locks, bars, sensor lights, reinforced doors, etc. You basically just need enough to make it such that it's not worth the time to break in. Usually the thief who encounters good security will just go a few doors down and break in there.

If you are concerned about your physical safety in general the additional security is probably worth it. If your are concerned about your physical safety from a specific person then your best bet is to move away where that person does not know where you live.

Sometimes the simplest things work best though - a sensor light over the front door is cheap and would likely spook your low-level crook.

jacob
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by jacob » Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:50 pm

On a related note: reciprocating powersaws might be the best theft/burglary tool ever(?!). When I fixed shelter bikes, the guy working there showed me how to blast through a cable bike lock in less than 10 seconds. Blew my mind how easy that was thinking that cable locks were made out of some kind of adamantium. This was necessary because residents often locked up their bikes to a tree outside the shelter and then left their [borrowed from the shelter] bike there locked when they moved out.

Less than 10 seconds!

Anyhoo ... how about this?

http://www.homedepot.com/p/StrikeMaster ... /202076114

(All of this is null and void if there's an easily penetrable window nearby.)

Also consider the risk of unwanted people getting in vs the risk of being unable to easily get out in case of a fire.

It's tricky because there are so many variables to balance. Making it easy to enter but hard to steal anything of value is my personal preference, but I'm not worried about personal security. This is the CHS strategy making it hard work to steal anything of value. Rather than keeping all your valuables in one supposedly secured spot, spread them around and make them look unvaluable. It's similar to the ratty bike strategy. E.g. keep your good tools in locations all over the house and make them look ratty.

My temperament is more one of preventing problems from happening in the first place rather than defending against what I predict will happen for sure. Like billc says ... if this is really a problem, maybe it's better to move?

Alternatively, keep a pepper spray(*) or gun(**) handy (in a "secret" location) at each entry point. Or make a safe room?

(*) This might just piss some above average tolerant people off. I'm a chili head and eat 1/10 of military grade pepper spray condiments for fun and pleasure.
(**) All sorts of legal issues here which are best figured out in advance, i.e. know the consequences of shooting a burglar in your domain. I hear it's okay in Florida?! Maybe one of these? http://www.amazon.com/Door-There-Nothin ... B00L6AJAY0

billc
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by billc » Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:12 pm

I would not advertise a gun on premise. Guns are some of the most stolen items!

Best tool for stealing a bike is probably an angle grinder...but I would probably use a reciprocating saw as my all around theft tool.

Happy stealing!

unno2002
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by unno2002 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:25 pm

Here in AZ, a metal "screen" door (steel with perforated sheet steel) is not unusual. The doors open out. Nice to leave the wood door open when ventilation is appropriate, and security for when your gone, or sleeping. The metal door would need to be pulled out, taking a lot more time, and making a lot more noise, than kicking IN the normal door.

llorona
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by llorona » Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:08 pm

I can't f*cking believe this happened, but this morning a potential thief attempted to kick in the front door. I was home at the time but didn't answer the doorbell. Right after, they started kicking the door and trying to batter it down. I yelled very loudly and ran toward the door, then they ran off.

The doorjamb held, but it split. It probably would have broken with a couple more hard kicks. We've got a door security company coming out today to reinforce the doorjamb with metal, and we're ordering a security door. Yeah, it's going to cost bucks to pay someone to do it, but I'm not in the mood for DIY and you can't attach a price tag to my life.

F*ckers.

workathome
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by workathome » Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:50 pm

Post-retirement career in Schutzhund training?

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jennypenny
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by jennypenny » Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:23 pm

llorona, I'm so glad you're ok. You're having a shitty couple of months.

llorona
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by llorona » Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:29 pm

@Jenny: Yes, the past couple months have sucked. But I'm still standing and that's something.

@workathome: Thanks for the inspiration. I'm thinking more along the lines of firearm or street fighting instructor, or maybe military tank operator.

workathome
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by workathome » Tue Jan 13, 2015 6:56 pm

A quick Google search seems to suggest you can employ deadly force against home intruders in California.

billc
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by billc » Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:33 pm

I'm sorry you experienced that.

Is your particular area high-crime?

I hope the security door inspires the thieves to not bother with your place.

George the original one
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Re: Front Door Security

Post by George the original one » Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:11 pm

Now they know you're home during the day, those thieves probably won't be back.

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