Suggestions on home security hardware please!
June 15, 2006 3:16 PM   Subscribe

Moving to a new house soon(ish). It's our first home in an area that will (we hope) improve over the next 10 years. The previous owners had a large dog that we're pretty sure discouraged most folks from being too ambitions about breaking in.

I'm planning on installing security laminate and reinforcing the door plates as well as replacing a door I don't think will hold up to a good kicking, all exterior doors will have dead bolts, some have windows adjacent to them requiring the security laminate. We will get a (large) dog when our schedule allows us to give the animal the attention he/she deserves.

I'm aware that most doors and their frames won't hold up to too much punishment from a determined party, but for my peace of mind with my fiancee in the home, I'd appreciate your suggestions for high quality hardware (that of course won't break the bank) to replace the existing locks with.

Let the green bring the answers!
posted by iamabot to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This Old House lockset page

Plus in my experience...

Peep hole in the door,
Exterior lights on motion detectors,
Window locks,
Alarm, or at least the stickers,

Become friends with your neighbors.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:51 PM on June 15, 2006

The neighbor-thing...well the house next door is abandoned and boarded up by the city. I'm planning on doing the motion sensor and lights thing, peephole in the door would work but there are large windows next to it (security laminate time) and the back and side doors have paned glass.

I'm on the fence about the alarm, I'll have to wait a few weeks and see how the neighborhood feels when we're fully immersed in it.

Thanks for the linkage!
posted by iamabot at 4:03 PM on June 15, 2006

We put metal security screen doors--they're not beautiful, but everyone in the neighborhood has them so we don't really mind that they're not beautiful. They also have the bonus of allowing us to keep the solid doors open when it's warm while still letting us keep the airflow going.

We're friendly with our neighbors. When there were problems on our block, we were judicious about how we responded.

We have an alarm, and a sign in the yard saying so. We have our lights on timers and with motion sensors. Our homeowners insurance was lowered because of the alarm, and we just about break even there, so look into that.

But really, other than the occasional local crack addict break-in, most of the crime in our neighborhood is criminal-on-criminal, or domestic violence. My family is in more danger of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, than we are of actually being directly victimized. And the people in our neighborhood look out for one another (and there's always someone looking, because there's always someone just...hanging out). We'd be much more of a target if we lived in a nicer neighborhood.

We've yet to be messed with in five years, which is a better record than the two years we lived in Cole Valley.
posted by padraigin at 4:07 PM on June 15, 2006

Those familiar with Richmond, CA will understand part of my anxiety. It's not the iron triangle, it's east Richmond but there's still that vibe you get and it's mostly to give me peace of mind when I'm not at home with the hippy.
posted by iamabot at 4:27 PM on June 15, 2006

I totally understand--our little oasis in the 'hood is on the Peninsula, but our city gets as much media attention for its less desirable attributes as Richmond does.

For what it's worth, our area *has* vastly improved in the five years since we moved here, and we've been extremely happy here--despite the occasional, erm, excitement.
posted by padraigin at 4:38 PM on June 15, 2006

What about getting your own dog? They are one of the most effective home security aids you can get.
posted by caddis at 5:08 PM on June 15, 2006

We do plan on getting a dog, but not until we have the time to devote to the animal that it deserves. We do have 2 cats, maybe some sort of cat launching affair...
posted by iamabot at 5:14 PM on June 15, 2006

These links from a previous question of mine were useful.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 5:18 PM on June 15, 2006

The local cops told us the number one thing one could do to secure your home was to replace the screws that go from the hinges into the door frame with long (4 or 5 inch, at least) screws. This makes it harder to kick a door out of the frame. Cheap to do, too.

If you get one of those metal bar security doors, a good place can custom make it to fit a swinging cat door. My partner has one like this, and the cats love it.

Nothing works better, however, than getting to know the neighbours and the folks who are around. Say hi and smile at the folks who hang on porches, or who you see walking the street a lot. That'll make you part of the neighbourhood, and, therefore, someone who shouldn't be messed with.
posted by QIbHom at 5:23 PM on June 15, 2006

Second/third/fourth getting to know your neighbours, especially the ones that are likely to be around when you're not. Not only for security reasons, it just makes your life generally better!

In terms of what you should install, I'd speak to a few insurance companies in the context of getting quotes - ask what you could install that would reduce your premiums - reduced premiums are based on lower risk so insurers are a good source of information for home improvements that reduce risk. And they're very area-specific too.
posted by bella.bellona at 5:35 PM on June 15, 2006

I dunno about Richmond, CA, but we moved into an old, insecure house in the hood in Richmond, VA, with an empty house next door and plenty of neighborhood exitement. In our almost 3 years, we've had doors kicked in and car parts stolen. Our alarm system more than anything else has provided immense peace of mind, as during the door kicking incident the noise scared off the miscreants and the alarm company called the cops and notified us at work.
posted by john m at 6:17 PM on June 15, 2006

The kind of criminals that you see on television are not very common. Those would be criminals who are sober and of at least average intelligence. Those criminals are getting in your house if they want to no matter what you do. The only way to keep them out is stay home. Luckily, there are almost none of them around.

The most common kind of criminal is drunk or high and has no idea what is in your house. They can largely be kept out with lights and locked doors. They are going to break into whatever house seems like the safest one to break into. If there are lights and locks on your house, then they will go to the next one. Ironically, keeping your house looking nice will help prevent it from being broken into because it will look like a house that might have alarms and lights and locks.
posted by flarbuse at 7:19 PM on June 15, 2006

Having recently been broken into I can offer this advice.
1. Know the neighbors, but don't count on them. They can't watch your house 24/7
2. Reinforce the doors, but don't forget the windows. I was broken into by the perp pushing in a new vinyl window. The kind that tilt in for easy cleaning...well they have weak hasps and plastic tilt in thingees that snapped right off
3. Get a monitored alarm. The cost after insurance discount is about 16.00 per month. Be sure it has a siren, outside if possible. This is ultimately what a. scared away the burgler, and b. notified the neighbors.
4. Dogs like meaty treats. Burglars carry meaty treats.
posted by Gungho at 7:46 PM on June 15, 2006

If you can, I'd rethink the peep hole.

As a woman, I would sometimes rather people think I am not at home than for them to know it. And it is hard to look through a curtain without moving it a little.
posted by Monday at 8:25 PM on June 15, 2006

Continued thanks for the advice, I'll take everything under consideration. We'll have to see how the first few weeks go.
posted by iamabot at 9:42 PM on June 15, 2006

« Older Manage PDFs on a Mac   |   Moving Files To A New Computer Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.