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#247101 - 06/15/12 05:29 PM Re: A journey towards better home security [Re: RNewcomb]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: RNewcomb
However, our garage has been hit a total of 3 times during that time....It's a steel door, but only a quickset lock.

Did they break in or was there no signs of forced entry? I wonder if they "bumped" the door lock to the exterior door to your garage? If you check out any of these videos online about "lock bumping," it looks trivial to do with inexpensive locksets. You can't even really call it "picking" the lock. I'm not sure what level you have to upgrade to to avoid it. Probably anything considered "commercial grade" should suffice. You don't need Medeco or locks with special keys to defeat lock bumping, from what I've read. Another alternative to the lock bumping is to add a dead bolt that only locks from the inside.

I saw a technique on TV not long ago that was so easy and I was surprised I had never heard of it before. If you have a garage door opener with one of those dangling cords for an emergency release, it's easy to use a coat hanger pushed through the top edge of the garage door to hook the cord and pull it, releasing the door and giving theives access to your garage. From the outside, a door stopper wedged into the top edge of the closed door opens a gap to push the coat hanger through.

Remember, it IS a safety feature, so if you have children or pets that could possibly get trapped under the door if the sensor malfunctions, you should think hard about this, but the counter measure the TV show presented is to use a zip tie to lock the release lever in place. An alternative might be to re-position the cord in such a way that you can't snag it--or maybe removing the little knob on the end of the cord so it can't be snagged with a hook. You could also conceivably mount a shield along the top edge of the door to prevent anything from being pushed through the door crack without interfering with the door operation.

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#247107 - 06/16/12 12:04 AM Re: A journey towards better home security [Re: Phaedrus]
ducktapeguy Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/28/06
Posts: 358
There are two types of break-ins, one is targeted, and one is random. A random type is easier to deal with, all you have to do is make your house less attractive than your neighbors. If you're being targeted for a burglary, then you need to consider who and why they're targeting you, because you really can't stop someone who's determined to break in. In the end, if you live in a normal house, there is only so much you can do to prevent someone from breaking in. Houses just weren't designed to be that resistant. It's be easier to buy a large safe that is designed to keep things secure, as an added bonus you could use it to protect against fire which is probably a bigger risk than burglary.

RE: Locks. I wouldn't be overly concerned about the specific type of lock. Even though almost all locks have a weakness, it's usually not the weakest link in home security. As you mentioned, the door, the jamb, the windows, even the walls are usually compromised before the actual lock itself. While "lock bumping" has been sensationalized in the media, the process has been around as long as we've had locks, but I have not heard of one confirmed case of that being the cause of a break-in (it does leave evidence to someone who knows what to look for). It's actually not as easy as it sounds, and you still need equipment. In the case of the Medeco M3, even though there's video proof of it being bumped, not many people have access to the equipment needed to make the bump keys, and of those probably only a handful that could do it consistently. I wouldn't worry too much about theoretical weaknesses, but focus on real life security flaws.

Usually a thief will kick in the door, or come in through a window, but rarely will they have the skill, time, or desire to try a covert entry. I'm not implying that a cheap lock is as good as a high security one, just that you might be paying a lot more for very little added security, and in some cases, less security. For example, there are a lot of new anti-bump/pick proof locks on the market rated Class 1, that are physically weaker than the older, cheaper versions they replaced. Again, in a theoretical sense they are more secure, but in the real world they can be opened even faster and easier than some of the Class 2.

Using 2 deadbolts is a good start, but if you're worried about forceful entry while you're at home, a better idea is to use a single sided deadbolt in addition to a normal deadbolt. There is no keyhole on the outside, so what isn't there can't be compromised. Another thing you can do if it's feasible is have your door swing outward, instead of inward. This is how my rear entrance is set-up. It's much more difficult to kick in an outward swinging door, plus the actual strength of the lock doesn't come into play as much, because all the force is spread on the jamb, not concentrated on the deadbolt.



Edited by ducktapeguy (06/16/12 12:18 AM)

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#247108 - 06/16/12 01:03 AM Re: A journey towards better home security [Re: ducktapeguy]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: ducktapeguy
Another thing you can do if it's feasible is have your door swing outward, instead of inward.

I've long wondered how different cultures determine which way a door should swing open. In Japan, the front door to your house or apartment is typically steel and opens outward, if it isn't a flimsy, sliding door. I imagine it's the same in other countries, too.

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#247109 - 06/16/12 01:06 AM Re: A journey towards better home security [Re: Phaedrus]
GarlyDog Offline

Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 776
Loc: The People's Republic of IL
I recall reading about a rash of burglaries in a nearby town that made me think about the security of a standard wood-framed homes in general. The burglars were literally cutting new doors with a cordless reciprocating saw in a conveniently obscured side of the homes. All the crimes happened during the day.

An interesting stat that went along with the story is more than 70% of break-ins happen during day time hours, most often between 7AM - 10AM.

_________________________
Gary








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#247110 - 06/16/12 01:10 AM Re: A journey towards better home security [Re: Arney]
ducktapeguy Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/28/06
Posts: 358
I don't know about other countries, but most commercial building will have outward swinging doors because of building and fire code. An inward swinging door can trap people inside if there's a panic. Personally, I prefer all exterior doors should be outward swinging to maximize space, the security aspect is a bonus.

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#247111 - 06/16/12 01:36 AM Re: A journey towards better home security [Re: Phaedrus]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2822
There were breakins in our old neighborhood a few years ago. Had nothing to do with easy/hard targets or perceived wealth or poorness, they would just go down the street one house after another during the day when people are at work.
I bought a new steel door for the front and took the older steel door from the front and used it to replace the wooden door in the back. Made sure there were 2 2x4's on each side screwed together with real framing screws every 6" top to bottom. Steel reinforcing L brackets at the ends bolting to the header and footer. Then I mounted the new door frame and took the striker off and drilled with a hole saw behind it and drove a steel pipe though. Opened the drywall and took that all the way into the next stud. This way the deadbolt went into a pipe rather than just a strike plate, then a good strike plate with large construction screws.

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#247114 - 06/16/12 05:00 AM Re: A journey towards better home security [Re: Phaedrus]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1384
Originally Posted By: ILBob
sounds like an inside job, or at least someone with some inside information.

Without going into the details of the case, I'd say that is unlikely. Moreover, the burglars were apprehended a few weeks later with some of the loot. Too bad they didn't put their skills to something more productive.

Originally Posted By: ireckon
Regarding the stuff that can be replaced with money, I have to be honest and say I'm not obsessed with protecting those items.

Insurance! We should have insurance to supplement home security. That's how you can replace the stuff.

While your little dog may be the best alarm system in the world and you may be the guard dog from hell, that only takes care of opportunistic robbers or robber who rely on violence to get in and subdue the residents (i.e., the most feared home invasion scenario). What about robbers who are a bit smarter? Robbers who wait until you're gone before going in? Robbers who prepare ahead of time?

Originally Posted By: ducktapeguy
It's be easier to buy a large safe that is designed to keep things secure, as an added bonus you could use it to protect against fire which is probably a bigger risk than burglary.

What sort of safe is good enough? I looked into gun safes a while ago. And it appears that anything less than a few thousand dollars (10 or 12 ga steel) can be broken into by a fire axe. You need something in the order of 7 ga steel, weighing a ton, and costing thousands of dollars. Now this is when you start watching Youtube videos on techniques for breaking safes. Then you start feeling queasy, because it seems that with enough time and equipment, all safes can be compromised. So that suggests some sort of alarm system that can alert the authorities. This way you take time away from the robbers. Maybe they won't have enough time to crack your safe.

As you guys can tell, I'm not an expert in home security. I have just lived in areas that required a bit more precaution against burglars. But I'm hoping my half-informed contribution will draw the more knowledgeable people to participate.


Edited by Bingley (06/16/12 05:01 AM)

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#247116 - 06/16/12 08:06 AM Re: A journey towards better home security [Re: Phaedrus]
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2120
Loc: Great Plains
That's the rub- how much is enough? When designing buildings to withstand natural catastrophes, you always consider how strong the earthquake could be, how high the flooding. More protection gets expensive, and resources are finite. Too much and you waste your limited resources, too little and you risk devastation. And of course you can't possibly protect against every threat. I'd love to have a fortress that would offer total protection but that structure doesn't exist. I have to ask what it will cost to defend against likely attacks. It's probably not within my budget to install doors that can withstand a fire axe, and in any event the walls would have to be similarly reinforced.

At the level I can afford I want to keep out the honest people, and the lazy. As I can afford it I'll try to keep nudging the bar up one notch at a time.
_________________________
You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions. Naguib Mahfouz

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#247122 - 06/16/12 03:49 PM Re: A journey towards better home security [Re: Phaedrus]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 2902
Loc: USA
I would say that insurance would be among my top priorities, as would a good alarm system.

My house has too many accessible windows for me to spend a lot of effort trying to harden it. I can't afford to put security film on them so I rely on being a little tougher to break into than my neighbors (outside lighting, keeping doors locked, higher quality locks) and alerting (dog, alarm, neighbors).

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#247124 - 06/16/12 05:21 PM Re: A journey towards better home security [Re: Phaedrus]
JBMat Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 745
Loc: NC
You can't keep a determined burglar out. Think car jack, sideways, in a door frame. They're in.

You can make it tougher to get in. Have an alarm system and use the darn thing.

I find the best method is - neighbors. Encourage them to call if anything looks wrong. Emphasize you will do the same. Is that car not "right" - call the cops. People wandering the neighborhood - call the cops.

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