Break and Enter
Breaking and Entering can be a lucrative opportunity for criminals. Consequently, any home or business is at risk. Property owners can greatly reduce this risk by simply improving the physical security of their premises. This is referred to as target hardening, and this will help deter break-ins and protect property.
‘Target Hardening’ – CPTED
‘Target Hardening’ is a crime prevention strategy derived from CPTED (pronounced SEP-TED) –Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. This strategy involves incorporating security improvements to a residence or premises, which will reduce the likelihood of a criminal identifying that location as an easy target.
There are a large number of different types of alarms on the market today. Consequently, selecting an alarm system that is right for your business or home may be difficult. If you do decide that you need an alarm system, do your homework. Purchase from a reputable firm. Check with other property owners to see if they are satisfied with their alarm system and service.
Once the alarm is installed, it should be checked regularly. All employees and responsible family members should receive proper training in the use of the alarm system. These precautions will reduce or eliminate false alarms for your property and ensure the alarm works when needed.
Finally, it is important that the police can reach a person who is responsible for the property in case of an emergency. Contact your police service and make sure the names and addresses of responsible persons are on file and up to date.
Optical viewers or “peep-holes” allow you to see who is at the door before you open it. Choose a viewer with a 180 degree field of view and quality optics. Your doorway, of course, should be well lit to allow you to see who is there.
Exterior Doors and Hinges
- Only steel clad or solid core wood doors should be used for exterior doors.
- Door hinges that are exposed to the exterior are vulnerable to removal. Exterior doors preferably should have their hinges on the interior. Otherwise tamper-proof exterior hinges can be used or they can be pinned.
Guard plates offer resistance to prying and forcing of a door latch by a knife, screwdriver, or celluloid strip.
On Doors Opening Out
Guards usually mounted onto door with two carriage bolts going through door and anchored with a nut and cap cut on the inside.
On Doors Opening In
This guard ties the door stop and the frame together. An extended edge goes down into the wood frame itself to provide more complete security.
Garage / Bay Doors
Bay doors with thin wood panels are easily forced and offer easy access for burglars. These panels can be reinforced with wire mesh, metal plates or bars. Consideration can be given to installing roll-up metal doors, but keep in mind that any windows within any garage door can compromise its security, therefore they should be reinforced to be burglar resistant.
On metal doors usually the lock cylinder screws directly into the door frame. To prevent removal with vice grips protect the cylinder with a collar that is beveled and rotates.
Entries are often made through sliding doors by lifting them out of their tracks. To prevent this, 2 or 3 screws should be partially screwed into the upper track so that the door slides just underneath them. Sliding doors can be “pinned”; or a properly installed “charlie bar”, or a hockey stick in the lower track, will prevent lateral movement of the door. Of course, make sure the door has a good security lock as well.
At night, use timers to turn on lights and appliances (such as a radio) in a pattern that corresponds to your normal activities. This will give the illusion that the premise is occupied and may help to deter a break-in.
At night, properly placed lighting can deter burglars or loiterers who are likely to engage in vandalism. Illuminate your entire property. To conserve hydro costs consideration can be given to the use of motion detection lamps. In addition, business premises should consider illuminating the roof, if it can be viewed in any way by people in the surrounding area.
Perimeter illumination should be continuous so as not to create dark spots. This occurs when perimeter walls jut in or out and have no dedicated lamps to illuminate those areas. The goal is to create an unbroken curtain of light. This can be achieved by façade, or exterior wall mounted lamps or stand-alone post mounted lamps.
Inspect your lights regularly and replace all burned out and broken lights immediately!
Generally speaking, only deadbolt locks should be used on any exterior door, whether residential or commercial. They provide superior security, as they are not spring loaded and have a rigid bolt that extends into the strike plate. The two basic types are as follows;
- Horizontal deadbolts – should be at least one inch long when extended into the strike plate. They are activated by either a key (exterior cylinder) or thumb latch on the interior. Double-cylinder locks that are key operated on both sides are recommended for commercial applications, especially when the mechanism is within one metre of any type of glass. Double-cylinder locks are generally not recommended for residential use as they may impeded quick emergency exit should a life threatening situation occur; such as a fire.
- Vertical deadbolts – also provide excellent security. It mounts on the inside of the dor and has two vertical bolts, which interlock with the eyeholes, or sockets of a specially designed strike plate. This prevents the bolt from being pried away from the doorjamb.
The lock cylinder, which is the part of the lock in which the key is inserted, is susceptible to removal by vice grips. To prevent this from happening the lock cylinder should be beveled, have a rotating metal collar or both – a beveled rotating metal collar. This device – often referred to, as a “spin ring” will prevent the lock cylinder from being rotated right out of the door by a set of vice grip pliers.
While having good deadbolt locks and reinforced strikes plates go along way toward improving security, attacks against them can be prevented by the use of a latch guard. Latch guards should be:
- Made of metal, these devices protect the thin space between the door edge and jamb when the door is closed. Without a latch guard, there is always enough room in the space for an intruder to attempt to pry the door open with a crow bar or similar tool.
- Latch guards can come or be made into various lengths but should be large enough to protect the latch area of the lock, usually 3 – 4 inches above and below the lock. Some latch guards found on exterior steel clad doors cover the entire door from top to bottom. This is especially recommended for secondary doors; usually side or rear service doors that have little or no natural surveillance afforded to them via neighbours or passers-by.
Escutcheon Plate / Lock Reinforcer
This is highly recommended for any exterior wood door or an interior wood door desiring added security. This metal device wraps around the door like a sleeve around both sides of the door and door edge and protects the wood near the lock mechanism from attack
Marked property that is advertised as such is another good deterrent against theft since burglars find it more difficult to sell these items to a “fence”. As well, if they are stopped by the police, marked property provides corroborative evidence of their crime.
- Use an electric engraver to mark your Social Insurance Number on items such as TV.’s, radios, stereos, typewriters, cameras, etc. Engravers can be borrowed free of charge from any police station or purchased from most hardware stores.
- Once your property is marked, a decal, available from the Chatham-Kent Police can be affixed to doors and windows to warn intruders that the property is marked.
- Items that cannot be engraved, such as china, paintings, etc., can be photographed.
A list should be made of all your items, complete with serial numbers, and kept in a safe place.
Windows – General
Windows hidden by bushes or trees provide burglars with an ideal place to work undetected. In addition, ground level windows provide burglars with easy access should the window be forced. To eliminate these potential hiding spots, bushes and shrubbery should be kept below the windowsill and trees should be limbed up at least two metres.
Commercial ground level windows should be reinforced with wire mesh glass, exterior wire mesh, security bars or security film protection. Security film is a clear or tinted laminate that strengthens the glass when applied. It can offer varying degrees of protection depending on it thickness and does not detract from the appearance of your business.
Residential windows should be of the double pane type. Consideration can be give to applying reinforcing laminate film, while basement windows not relied upon as emergency exits can be secured with interior bars/screens or laminate.
The most reliable window locks are those which are operated by a key and are made of metal. For ventilation, purchase the type that can be locked in partly opened positions. Otherwise, window locks that offer a positive mechanical locking mechanism between the window frames can offer good security. Most new casement type windows have these good locks.
Some older horizontal sliding windows have pressure locks, where by an L-shaped device is flipped so that it presses against the window pane, which is then pressed against the frame – hopefully hard enough to prevent it from sliding. Pressing harder against the glass, while sliding it open at the same time, easily defeats this type of lock. The glass in these windows usually consist of two separate panes of unframed glass – an inner and outer pane, that operate independently from one another within the same frame – but are nonetheless easy to force open. A quick fix for these types of windows is to treat them like a small sliding door and place a piece of wood in the window track, which will prevent the glass from sliding open – whether the lock is activated or not.
Nearly all types of windows can be pinned, except for the aforementioned frameless horizontal sliding windows. Commercial pins are available but large nails are just as effective and less expensive.
Simply drill a 3/16” hole at a slightly downward angle through the inside window frame and into – but not through, the outside frame. A nail or pin can then be placed in the hole to secure the window
- Don’t store valuable property in your locker.
- Report any suspicious persons hanging around the locker area to your superintendent.
- Avoid doing your laundry alone or during late hours.
- Make arrangements to do this chore with another tenant or friend, and pick daylight hours.
- Always stand near the control panel. If something goes wrong, you are in a position to push all the floor buttons and the alarm.
- Do not push the stop button between floors!
- Before entering an elevator, check to see who is on it without standing too close. (You don’t want to get pulled in suddenly.)
- If a person looks strange or makes you feel uncomfortable, wait for the next elevator. Similarly, if you are on the elevator and feel uncomfortable with another person getting on, then get off.
- Use common sense and trust your instincts.
- After entering your underground lot, try to wait for the overhead door to close to deter unwanted person from entering.
- Try to park in a well-lit area near the exit or elevator (unless your space is designated).
- Don’t leave valuables in your car, and certainly not in plain view.
- Install “no-slip” door locks, (the type that cannot be pulled up with a coat hanger).
- Report suspicious persons, burned out light bulbs and broken locks to the landlord.
- You should treat any entrance to your apartment building as if it were your own front door. If more tenants had this attitude, the number of unauthorized persons seeking entry would be greatly reduced. Hopefully, crimes such as mischief, theft from autos, and entries, would follow suit and be reduced.
- Before “buzzing” someone in, verify by voice contact that he or she is the person you’re expecting.
- When you come or go from your building, stop being the “nice guy” by allowing unknown persons to enter through the open door. If somebody is insistent in entering this way, do not get into a confrontation. If you suspect they don’t belong there, it wouldn’t hurt to notify the superintendent.