Wednesday, March 3, 2010



Thieves love patio doors!

Since most residential sliding patio doors lead to a patio, deck or back yard, they are a preferred point of entry for burglars. These patio doors are rarely visible to neighbors and street traffic as they are usually behind the residence. Also, they can be camouflaged by fences, trees, BBQ grills, furniture and bushes.

In times of economic stress, residential thefts often increase… and, making patio door security a top priority should be emphasized.

Although a sophisticated alarm system can provide optimum security, there are many other things that can be done to dramatically improve the security of your patio door for little or no money.

Any security measures that warn of a prowler or attempted entry… and/or, prevent the opening or removal of the patio door are strongly suggested. And, such measures don’t have to cost much, if anything.

1. A battery-operated or wireless motion-detector that will light-up and/or make an irritating loud noise can be placed outside at least two feet above the patio door.

2. An old broomstick, cut to the proper length, can be placed in the track to keep the door from being opened. But, if you don’t like the look of the broomstick or you are tired of bending over to pick it up, there are dozens of other items available that prevent unauthorized access. They are more attractive and many are virtually unseen.

3. A small “spacer” can be placed in the upper track to prevent the door from being lifted out.

4. Many doors have a latch in the door that hooks over a piece in the frame when the door is closed and latched. If this latch hooks “down”, it is possible for the door to be lifted to “un-hook” the latch. This type of latch mechanism can often be reversed to remedy the situation.

5. When your door is closed and latched… and you pull on the handle, the door should not move more than 1/8 inch. If it can move further, while still being latched, a burglar can insert an object between the door and the jamb, such as a credit card, to move the latch. Most door latch mechanisms have an adjustment screw for a tighter fit.

6. Many doors have been found to use a plastic exterior handle that can be easily broken to reveal access to the latch mechanism. A pair of nail clippers then gets them in. A stronger metal exterior handle will substantially reduce the possibility of this happening. Stronger handles are readily available.

7. If you have a sliding screen door on the inside and the operating door (the one that moves) is on the outside, preventing the door from being lifted out is crucial. This can be prevented with the spacer mentioned earlier or a special security device in the track or door frame.

8. Security devices that require a key to open the patio door from the inside are not recommended. In an emergency, such as a fire, exiting can be delayed or prevented with drastic consequences.


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