Staying Safe at Home – Doors

A quick question for you…how Safe do you think you are at home? We all like to think that at home we are safe from the outside world. We feel, for lack of a better phrase, all warm and fuzzy. Unfortunately it only takes a minor event to shake the invincibility we feel.

It is unfortunate, but there are so many things that are so simple to protect ourselves, loved ones, property, and even our pets from harm. Yet, we ignore these things because we feel that nothing will ever happen to us at home. And because we disregard them we get criminals who rape children, take our precious memories, and murder loved ones. All because we refuse to follow common sense security rules.

Your Home:

No matter where or what kind of apartment, condo, or house, you have to think about certain items with doors and windows. Believe it or not, they are the most common entry point. Many people forget to lock their doors when they leave, or even while they are at home. And if a criminal is savvy enough then they will check your doors first to see if they are unlocked, which also happens to include the doggie door.

If you have an attached garage, ensure that the door remains down and secured unless you are directly in physical eye sight, figuratively for some of us. There are numerous reports of people being robbed, vandalized, and even murdered because the garage was left open, which by extension includes all doors to the house from there.

I’ve never been a big fan of doors that have so many windows in them as to allow someone to easily break one and get in or worse look into the house and be able to case it from the street, curtains or not. Front doors that have leaded glass in them are perfectly okay, they offer some protection. Some of these doors also have thermal glass that makes it a little bit harder to break.

The locks that you employ should also be of concern. Make sure they are adequate and don’t leave too much of the locking bolt exposed. Nothing should prevent them from locking properly, which also includes the door itself not hung correctly. Always ensure that you have a deadbolt on the door as well. However, if the door itself is in disrepair, then no lock will help, no matter how high tech.

You have to make sure that if it’s wood, that it’s not hollow core. You can test this out by knocking on it. If it echoes then it probably is. If it is…then you need to replace it with a solid core door. Even cheap or used doors are better than hollow ones.

A tip on the way your door hinges swing…try to never let your doors swing outward. While swinging inward has it risks, if they swing outward, you can’t stop someone who wants to gain entry and throw you off balance by pulling you outside. This automatically throws you off and gain entry. But, if the door swings inward…then you can at least have some leverage to prevent them from pushing it in.

Never open the door to anyone who you don’t recognize or who you haven’t called for a repair. This is one way that criminals can gain entry to your home. Innumerable elderly, disabled, sick, and naive people have been injured, robbed, and worse because of being too trusting.

I don’t know a single utility company that doesn’t issue ID cards to their employees, and the contractors who work for the utilities also have them. If you are in any doubt about someone ask to see their ID card and call their company to verify who they are (check below for this).

If you didn’t call them…      Don’t let them bully you into opening the door when you don’t want to. Criminals will lie, cheat, and say anything to get you to open the door. Once you open the door nothing can stop them from walking in and doing what they want. This also includes giving you a sob story about your dog, cat, kids, needing help or something similar.

In order to ascertain whether they are legit or not you need to ask the 5 W’s and H before you open the door for anyone or anything. Huh? Yes, it’s an old journalism term that is just as applicable in security as it is in journalism. Ask these questions before opening the door for anything;

Who – Who are they and who do they work for?

What – What do they want?

Where – Where do they need to go and why?

When- When were they called and by who?

Why – Why do you need to let them in or open the door?

How – How did they know there was an issue.

Some of these questions are redundant which is the idea. Pay attention to ensure they are consistent with their answers. If they can’t answer your questions to your satisfaction, then don’t let them in and call the police. Trust your instincts and your gut.

A few other brief tips:

  • Ensure that the jamb itself is in good repair, inspecting it thoroughly for cracks or other type of weathering that may weaken it
  • Carry your phone to the door with you. Dial 911 but don’t hit the send button until it becomes necessary
  • Keep your phone and hand behind the door, many criminals will think you have a firearm and it will force them to think twice

(The second part of this series will be next week and will focus on windows) or Twitter: @robertsollars2

                                       I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

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