By David Carrington - 9/5/09
The FBI says: "A home is invaded every 12 seconds by someone going right through a front or back door. Secure your doors."
The easiest way for a someone to break in to your home is to just kick in the door. The is the way that the vast majority of home invaders and burglars enter a home. In fact, they come right through the door over 70% of the time...and 80% of the time the door frame fails, not the door locks as most people believe.
Just How Does Someone Kick In the Door?
Most often doors are "Shoulder Slammed" or "Mule Kicked" by intruders. "Shoulder Slamming" is simply driving one's shoulder into a door with great force. "Mule Kicking" is when someone turns their back to the door and kicks it in the same way that a mule kicks with his hind leg. "Mule Kicking" a door is an intruder's favorite way to gain entry as it allows him to see who may be watching him from the street and beyond, plus it can open a door in a split second when done correctly.
The 4 Reasons Why Doors are Able to Be Kicked In So Easily...
1. Most door frames on houses are nothing more than two 2" by 4" pine studs nailed together and covered with thin decorative wood trim.
2. Most door knobs and deadbolts are poorly secured in the door.
3. Most door hinges are held to the door and door frame with screws about 1 inch long or less. (Go remove a screw from one of your door hinges and you'll see)
4. Most door frames have a small, thin, weak strike plate that is held in with screws less than 1 inch long.
How to Correct Weak Door Latch and Door Frame Problems...
There is very little realistically that you can do to correct the fact that your walls and door frames are made from soft wood 2" by 4" studs. It's just a fact that most houses are constructed in this way. But what can be done is to reinforce all of the weak areas which are the most prone to fail.
1. Put a metal door guard over the areas where your door knob and deadbolt are that extends to the very edge of the door. This prevents the door knob latch and deadbolt stem from being able to be broken out of the door.
2. Replace the short typical 1 inch screws in the hinges with 2.5" long screws in the hinge side going to the door frame and put 1.5" screws in the hinge side that attaches to the door. This prevents the hinged side of the door from being able to be kicked out.
3. Replace the small 1 to 3 inch strike plates on the door frame with a 4' to 6' metal door reinforcement product such as the Door Security Pro Door Security Guard (available from: http://www.DoorSecurity.Pro). This prevents the latch side of the door from being able to be kicked open. This 5' metal strike plate serves a dual purpose. It replaces the small weak strike plates with something much stronger and it prevents weak door frames made of soft wood from splitting. When the door frame splits, that's what causes the door knob and deadbolt to allow the door to open. The Door Security Pro will also easily repair a broken door frame.
Door Knobs and Deadbolts
Aside from what's listed above, make sure you have good quality door knobs and deadbolts, preferably the newer "pick proof" models.
It does you little good to have strengthened your door frame and hinges if the quality of your locks is poor. By the same token, good door locks alone are not going to prevent a door kick in. You must address and correct all the weaknesses if you are to be fully protected.
The old saying..."An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" most definitely applies when considering your door frames and door locks. Fix them now while it's fresh in your mind. After all, what's more valuable than your safety, your family's safety and your home?
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