Door and window alarms are an excellent way to prevent you from becoming a victim of burglary.
An intruder is probably going to enter your home through a door or a window. You’ve got lots of them and they’re relatively easy to get open using a screwdriver or a well-aimed kick in the case of the front door. So it makes sense to make it as hard as possible for a thief to use these entry points to get into your home.
The good news is that an intruder is not going to spend hours trying to get into your home. He’s hoping to find an unlocked door or a window not fully closed or latched.
They will cruise a street and look for homes that have easy access to the side windows or doors at the back of the house – homes that don’t have a solid fence or a locked gate that prevent access to the side of the house or backyard.
After checking that a neighbor can’t see them, they will use a screwdriver or some pry bar and try to force a window or door open. It’s surprisingly simple to do as our apprentice, Tara demonstrates in this short video
The standard locks and latches on doors and windows are not really designed to withstand any sort of attack.
I’ve attended many homes after a break-in has occurred. It’s not unusual to find evidence an intruder trying to force several windows or doors before he succeeds. If you can make it as hard as you possibly can you stand an excellent chance of him moving down the road to an easier target.
So it makes sense to electronically protect our doors and windows.
False Sense of Security
Magnetic reed switches have been used for years to protect doors and windows.
When installed correctly they are reliable and will rarely give a false alarm.
But they can only detect an intruder if the window is opened. But what if the window is not opened? In the videos above, the window had a reed switch installed, so if the alarm had been switched on (it wasn’t for this demo) the sirens would have sounded as soon as Tara opened the window.
So it makes sense to have an alarm that detects a break-in through a door or window.
So if we’re serious about detecting an intruder at the point of entry we need to not only detect if the door or window is forced but also smashed.
A degree of force is required to smash a window or break through a door.
A vibration sensor responds to this force and triggers the alarm immediately, achieving our aim of detecting the intruder at the point of entry.
With careful installation and set-up, these devices are also very reliable and won’t cause false alarms.
This set-up all works fine when everyone has left the house for the day. But what if you want to have the doors and windows protected when you’re home?
When you and your family are sleeping for example?
Think about it for a minute: Everyone is in bed. You’ve turned the perimeter system on and you can sleep soundly knowing that you’ll be alerted to a break-in. But what if our intruder forces open a window at 3 o’clock in the morning?
Of course, the alarm will sound and most likely scare the intruder away – the same as in the previous scenario.
But think what that experience is like for you, the homeowner.
What would you do?
Rush to turn the alarm off?
Run to the nearest window to see what was going on?
Hide under the covers?
Other members of the household would also awaken and be confused. Not to get too dramatic about it but… with all that going on, would you even stop to consider that a burglar had ignored the siren and was now inside your home?
The point here is that a perimeter system that protects doors and windows is perfect for when the home is unoccupied but isn’t the best solution for when you’re sleeping.
Early Warning Detection
The Safest House in the Street
Window security is pretty straightforward. The first thing is to make the windows hard to get to. You can do this by making it difficult or impossible for an intruder to get to the windows and doors at the side or back of your home.
If you have a side gate make sure it’s locked when you leave the house. If you don’t have a gate consider having one installed. If the gate is low enough to climb over, think about adding a piece or trellis or a decorative arbor above the gate to make it more difficult to get around. Of course, this is easier on some properties than on others. It’s a worthwhile first step though.
Remember, every element you add stacks the odds in your favor.
You can also add lattice above your back and side fences too. This makes it almost impossible for an intruder to climb over the fence from your neighbor’s house or a park or laneway at the back because the lattice will not support his weight as he attempts to climb over.
And even if and the burglar was persistent enough to climb over your gate or fence, the lattice will slow him down if he needs to escape quickly so it’s definitely worth considering.
Front Door Security
Front door security is also simple, however to you probably have to spend a bit of money if you’re serious.
If your front door is the original door that the builder fitted it’s not going to take much force to get through it. Most doors especially on homes built over the last 30 tears or so have a hollow core.
The standard builder’s door lock is designed to keep the door closed but not to withstand the force of a determined intruder.
The door frame in a modern home is made from MDF (medium density fibreboard). While it’s cheap and moisture resistant it offers virtually no resistance to forced entry. The frame will splinter and the door will pop open. Putting a high-security pick-proof triple-throw deadlock on a standard door is not the answer – the door will simply fall apart with a kick or two.
The best way to prevent entry through the front door is fitting a steel security door over the front door. A security door is far more resistant to being forced open by kicking because they are installed to open outward.
Window locks provide protection against the window being forced open. But you have to use them. If you have window locks that require a key to lock and unlock them it’s only a matter of time before you stop locking them before you go out.
It’s so fiddly and time-consuming!
They also offer no protection if the window is smashed.
Bunnings have a keyless window lock for aluminum sliding windows that take seconds to lock or unlock. There are also keyless locks for timber sash and casement windows.