Front Door Security


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Navy87Guy
July 24, 2007, 10:56 PM
The threads about the home invasion and murders in CT really got me thinking about my own home security. Sure, I have plenty of handguns in the safe in the bedroom with quick access, but I really don't have much in the way of real security where it really matters -- by the front door.
Here's my set up: we have a steel door (with peep hole) with narrow (6" wide) window panels running on either side of it. The lock is a dead bolt and I have a hotel room-style sliding catch (the metal loop, not a chain) near the top of the door -- primarily to keep the 4-yr old inside. Right next to the door on the right side (nearest to the front door handle) is a coat closet. The coat closet door opens toward the rear of the house.

Tonight I ordered a Homack electronic pistol box. I intend to mount it on the inside of the closet. Because of the way the closet is positioned, you can open the closet door and have full access to the safe without the closet door being in the way. I know Homack isn't high end, but it should serve the purpose and fit in the available space (and for $37 delivered, the price was right!) I'll probably keep my Ruger KP93 with night sights and 17 rounds (plus some extra mags) stored in there.

I'd really like to get a whole new front door (with no side panels), but for now I was planning to get plexiglass panels to replace the glass on either side. It looks like it's just one long piece that is held in place by a frame that screws on.

I've also read about (but not seen) some bolt mechanisms that you can install in the floor. They are recessed but can be popped up to act as a door stop in case someone tries to force the door open. (Any links to a good source for these would be appreciated!) I'd like to install one of those by the front door so you can crack the door open to talk without relying solely on your own strength or the hotel device to keep an intruder out.

We also have a sliding glass door on our deck. I have motion sensor lights installed. I also have the obligatory wooden bar in the track, plus a small eye-hook between the door and the frame (again, aimed at the 4-yr old!)

What else would you recommend? We do have a security system that is monitored but we don't typically set that until we go to bed. My other thought was some kind of intercom to avoid having to open the door to talk at all.

Thanks!

Jim

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Blackbeard
July 24, 2007, 11:07 PM
I'd recommend getting an Annunciator for the front and back entries. It can let you know when anyone approaches either door, with different chimes for each. Gives you more prep time.

Some can also take digital photos of anyone approaching and store them on a hard drive, so you can see who came up to the door while you weren't home.

Here's one website for example. I make no claims about their products, just an illustration.

http://www.hometech.com/security/optex.html

Notch
July 25, 2007, 01:18 AM
I am lucky... I live in a split level kind of situation. When you come in the front door you are in an entry way that has access to the garage door or two sets of stairs, one that goes to the first level and one that goes to the basement. You come through the front door loud and you have no chance of surprise that would give you any kind of advantage. I think that the screen door offers a little help to folks as well. I keep a "winter door" on as a screen door. Glass front not screen. It locks as well. Not much protection, but a barrier that needs to be removed before someone can kick in a door... Not much, but enough time for someone to at least get out of a chair. Most home invasion thugs are kick and rush fokers. Not adept in stealth, so they WILL make noise clearing a storm door. Of course you have a handgun on your belt when at home.

Dannavyret
July 25, 2007, 01:40 AM
We keep a close eye on the local news, crime reports and police blotters plus the chief holds a quarterly public meeting of statistics and data. It's important to collect intel and keep street savvy as well as secure the home. We bought a set of door rams from Lowes and keep the front door locked and barred.

Also, our local criminals in Tacoma Wa. came up with a new ploy, that of FEDEX bus boy. Of course the victims overlooked the old clipboards and the fact that delivery drivers no longer use such arcane tools. Tell your friends and family never to send you UPS/FEDEX gifts or items without telling you.

rdaines
July 25, 2007, 07:53 AM
My two dogs do a great job of letting me know when someone is approaching the house. They also sound like your head is about to be taken off...

30 cal slob
July 25, 2007, 08:20 AM
threads about the home invasion and murders in CT really got me thinking about my own home security.

+ 1 gazillion.

my question: what about sliding glass doors? i have one on the ground floor that leads to my backyard patio from the kitchen. it looks so easy to breach - a wild animal could probably do it.

Cavediver
July 25, 2007, 08:35 AM
Isn't there a safety product for doors and windows that makes them much more difficult to break through? I think it's applied like window tint; a roll of material, wetting agent and a squeege. While it might not keep an intruder out, it would probably give you a little more time to react.

TennVOL
July 25, 2007, 08:52 AM
Yes 3M makes a window film. Around here it's $10 per sq ft installed.

Cannonball888
July 25, 2007, 08:54 AM
I'd really like to get a whole new front door (with no side panels), but for now I was planning to get plexiglass panels to replace the glass on either side.
Acrylic is relatively weak and brittle. Use polycarbonate.

JamisJockey
July 25, 2007, 08:58 AM
I was watching a news cast back in Utah. Ex-con agreed to break into house rigged with cameras. Seriously he just walked up and threw a chair through the sliding glass door. They timed him, going off the average response time of the police in the area. He had to be out of the house 30 seconds before the cops got there. In like 4 or 5 minutes he had ransacked the house pretty good.
I can't vouch for any of these products, but you get the idea. Would work for those front panel windows, too.
http://www.diywindowsecurity.com/

Bob F.
July 25, 2007, 09:25 AM
Use polycarbonate.

Read Lexan: much stronger than plexiglass, much pricier, but easier to work with. Security film on sliding doors, and as many other windows as reasonable.

Armed always!

Stay safe.
Bob

30 cal slob
July 25, 2007, 09:33 AM
guess nobody makes lexan sliding doors. probably have to contact a glazier to get a custom installation or something like that.

Cannonball888
July 25, 2007, 09:53 AM
Lexan is just a brand of polycarbonate.

TallPine
July 25, 2007, 10:11 AM
What else would you recommend?
Carry a handgun on your person at all times at home and on your property.

Holsters are cheaper and faster than lockboxes, etc...

Cannonball888
July 25, 2007, 11:30 AM
Spring-gun (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/27/Spring_gun.jpg) :D

MD_Willington
July 25, 2007, 12:22 PM
...primarily to keep the 4-yr old inside.


LOL... yeah mine just turned 5, the plastic door handle thing did not work, he's known how to open the door since he was 3 with that silly thing on the door knob, yet most adults cannot seem to figure it out.. LOL

We have chains mounted into the door frame via 4" screws, the house is made from true dementional lumber (old house late 1890's early 1900's) so it's actually solid (more like petrified) 2x6 & 2x8 construction....

obxned
July 25, 2007, 12:58 PM
Dogs!

308win
July 25, 2007, 01:04 PM
Seems to me that a handgun in a lockbox when someone is kicking your door in has about as much utility as lips on a chicken.

Blackbeard
July 25, 2007, 01:07 PM
Put security laminate glass in all of your ground floor window & doors. It has a polymer sheet on both sides and is nearly impossible to break through. It'll shatter with one good smack, but the glass stays in place. You could whack at it for ten minutes with a sledgehammer and not get in.

DoubleTapDrew
July 25, 2007, 01:07 PM
+1 on the 3M window film (http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/WF/3MWindowFilms/Products/ProductCatalog/?PC_7_0_2FM1_nid=0RVDJTRKB1beT4DCJBL6BVgl)for the windows beside the door and sliding glass door. Also get a charlie bar (or just a length of wooden dowel) for the sliding door.
That window film is tough stuff. They can punch a hole through it with enough force but since it holds the glass together they'll leave a bloody mess for you to clean up when they try to reach through, and give you enough time to get plan B into action. It comes in different grades in case you are worried about someone setting off C4 in your yard (click play on the video on that 3M webpage) :p
A simple rod in the sliding door track or a charlie bar (http://www.amscousa.com/Door_Hardware/patio_door_security_bar.htm) makes it a lot tougher to get the sliding door open.

BAT1
July 25, 2007, 09:34 PM
I do remodels, and you can remove the door frame and install 1/4 steel plate around the cased opening and hinge areas. You don't want the hinge pins to be out side. I put a commercial door in the frame. One door I did caught a thief trying to kick the door in. The alarm went off and the police saw a guy limping badly. He broke his tibia! The color on the door matched his shoe. That will slow down the "battering rams" too. :banghead: I use that and a locking closet with my "babies" in it. The 3M window film is a great idea. We have a cat, so dogs are out. There is also a company that uses tear gas systems if they go through a wall. A camera covering the door but mounted at 8ft will deter them. Driveway alarms tell you when they come up the road. A monitor lizard or a twenty ft python works.

Juna
July 25, 2007, 10:07 PM
you can remove the door frame and install 1/4 steel plate around the cased opening and hinge areas

I'm not too construction savvy, but we put in a new front door last year, and I'm wondering which part you add the steel to? Do you have a picture? Just curious.

mpmarty
July 26, 2007, 12:44 PM
Take off the front door and reverse it so it swings out, not in. Use commercial hinges that have non removable hinge pins. Remove the sliding glass door and frame in the hole to take a standard exterior solid core steel door, again swing it out not in. All exterior doors on my home are solid core steel and swing out with security hinges that can't be messed with. The doors look nice as I painted them with automotive acryllic enamel tinted to match the color of the house, wax them once a year.:)

zeroskillz
July 26, 2007, 12:54 PM
I've wondered if there is a quick release shotgun mount/lock thing somewhere.. I'd hope for something that uses biometrics and quick detaches the loaded shotgun, but keeps it locked and safe from kiddies. Anybody ever hear of something like that?

Omaney
July 26, 2007, 02:20 PM
If I was going to spend any $$ on security for your house, the slider in the back goes first. They are notoriously easy to get into. Then lights and more lights. Then a paranoid dog, does not matter what size, just that it barks when things go bump in the night. My $00.02.

35Rem
July 26, 2007, 03:38 PM
I would think you have the physical advantage with a door that swings in. It's a lot easier to push a door closed than pull one shut. (Keep in mind this is in the event that the door is opened, which is still likely)

The window film is interesting, but I wonder if it violates any building codes (Fire safety)? Seems like it would be hard to get OUT of a house if you had to go through a window with that stuff on it...

MAKster
July 26, 2007, 04:09 PM
Regarding the laminated sheets - What stops the entire sheet of glass from breaking loose all around the edges of the frame? Do they somehow attach the laminated sheet to the frame itself. I know with car windshields the entire sheet of glass will come loose in one piece after three or four hits.

ronto
July 26, 2007, 04:42 PM
Me, my 12ga pump,and my Blue Heeler with a bad attitude.
I carry a 357 Ruger SP101 for cover on the way to get the 12ga.

vynx
July 26, 2007, 04:54 PM
I figure that with enough time they can get in - like if you are on vacation.

I suggest buying a big large safe and putting your expensive stuff in there.

TVs and stereos can be replaced with insurance but there are always some things that you want secure in a safe (I mean a real safe not something they can easily cut in an hour or two).

Jorg Nysgerrig
July 26, 2007, 05:02 PM
TVs and stereos can be replaced with insurance but there are always some things that you want secure in a safe (I mean a real safe not something they can easily cut in an hour or two

Where do you find a safe that is rated to withstand more than two hours working on it? I know you can get some with TRTL-60 or whatever, but I don't know of any ratings greater than an hour. Hey a1abdj, are there many safes out there that would take you more than an hour or two to get into?

Mr White
July 26, 2007, 05:13 PM
+1 for Dogs!

2 big ones that don't take too kindly to unwelcomed visitors. They might not be invincible but they'll buy me enough time to get to and open the safe. After that, anyone still sticking around will hafta deal with MR Twelvegauge or his live-in companion, Ms Ninemmcarbine.

kellyj00
July 26, 2007, 05:24 PM
i was watching fox news last night and they had two detectives talking about how to prevent a home invasion. they said "first off, always use your garage to enter/exit your vehicle if you've got one...and only when the garage door is closed." "next, get a dog. Dogs can sense evil and will let out a very distinctive bark when something bad happens." In the nicole brown simpson case, her dog was still barking ferociously at the front door when the police arrived long after the incident occured, IIRC.

I had a neighbor get broken in to by his daughter's friends once, their dog had seen the kids before but new something wasn't right. The female 10 year old german sheperd wouldn't be quiet. I looked next door and saw a bunch of kids entering the house at 4 pm. I didn't think anything of it since they were regulars.... they robbed her dad for some black powder rifles and a 10 key calculator and trashed the place. Police later caught them. I felt bad for cussing at the dog when it happened.

Also, take your wife and kids shooting! give them a chance to defend themselves and they may just enjoy the sport. Get them out shooting clays with 20 gauges if you have to, just get them used to guns so you're not the only one who can use anything out of the safe if you hear a window break.

Set up a plan of action. Get a 'safe place' designated, such as a trusted neighbors house in case there's a fire or their is a home invasion and you can get your kids out a window or something. The neighbor will know that something horrible happened if your 4 year old shows up on the porch out of breath and unable to compose a sentence if they know that they are the safe house before they show up.

Be sure you teach your kids how to get out through the windows (using a ladder if on floor 2) useful escape that too few facilitate when necessary.

Remember, drywall will not stop any home defense round of ammunition. If you know you've been invaded and you are sure it is an invasion, start shooting through drywall. The element of surprise will save your life. Also, remember that you're a good guy, they aren't. If you're human you will hesitate before taking a life, it's part of what makes us good guys. Bad guys will not hesitate, they want you out of the way first thing or they would not have invaded a home that was occupied.

A home invasion occured a few years ago in Wichita, KS where the Carr brothers invaded a party of 6 young adults in a nice part of town. They were out looking for a victim that evening before they brutally raped and murdered 5 people, and shot a victim in the head with a .380 who later ran naked in the cold across a busy highway to help.

This is my opinion, and I've spoken to my wife about it, I will not be a sheep if there is a home invasion. whatever their weapon, I will no cooperate, and during a hostage situation I will not drop my weapon. This is my personal plan of action, and I go through it in my head all the time and I see this as the best option. There's some things in life that are worse than death....and seeing thug kill your wife and children would definitely be one of them, I don't want to live to regret not doing something...no matter how futile.

kellyj00
July 26, 2007, 05:30 PM
I'd say that it's a good idea to prevent it from happening by making yourself the toughest possible target. A lot of robberies are done by acquaintances who know exactly how lax your security is and how many assets you've got.
Keep your public view limited, and keep your business private.

My in-laws live on 10 acres in the middle of nowhere and are a prime target for an invasion because her father runs a small business open to the public. You know when he's at work he's not at home. He also has one cricket .22lr, that's it. he's not so into defense I guess. I'm working on him though, he'll cave in and buy a good ole 12 gauge before too long.

budney
July 26, 2007, 05:33 PM
Regarding the laminated sheets - What stops the entire sheet of glass from breaking loose all around the edges of the frame?

If I understand it correctly, additional framing is added around the inside edge of the window to prevent this. Even without this step, however, it takes a fair bit of work to get the whole pane out: you have to work your way around the entire perimeter with your hammer.

--Len.

Engel
July 26, 2007, 06:26 PM
If I ever got that paranoid about living somewhere then I would not want to live there anymore.

Navy87Guy
July 26, 2007, 06:41 PM
If I ever got that paranoid about living somewhere then I would not want to live there anymore.

That's part of why that article about the home invasion in CT is so striking...because it's not the place where you would expect it. I'm not paranoid - but I do believe in being prepared. I live a mile from the sherrif's office -- and 1 1/2 miles from I-95. Anything and everything is possible...including a jail break or escaped prisoner.

I appreciate all the responses and suggestions...there are some good ones.

Jim

DoubleTapDrew
July 26, 2007, 07:03 PM
Regarding the laminated sheets - What stops the entire sheet of glass from breaking loose all around the edges of the frame? Do they somehow attach the laminated sheet to the frame itself. I know with car windshields the entire sheet of glass will come loose in one piece after three or four hits.

Auto windshields are held to the outside of the car with adhesive. Pretty easy to kick out from inside the car but not the other way around. I think home windows are sandwiched between two pieces of frame and the film is cut to go to the edges, so you'd have to work all the way around the edges to get it to come out in one piece.
It's not impenetrable but should make enough noise and buy plenty of time to get Mr.Blasty compared to a window that'll just shatter apart with one rap from a blunt object. Works good in wind storms too. My parents had a small tree branch go through their kitchen bay window this spring in a windstorm.

realityscope
July 26, 2007, 09:07 PM
Dont forget, on your entry doors to put 3 inch or longer screws through the hinge plates, get upgraded strike plates and a long throw deadbolt, these will keep most anyone from being able to kick down the door...

SSN Vet
July 26, 2007, 09:37 PM
The threads about the home invasion and murders in CT really got me thinking about my own home security.

Me three Jim......been thinking a lot.

thanks guys for the 3M link.....we have a side door with lights (aka window) and it has concerns me.

I was just browsing the Northern Tool catalog tonight and looking once again at the solar charging, battery operated security gates. We have a LONG drive (off a quiet side street) and are very secluded in the woods. These gates operate with a garage door style remote and have an intercom that alows guests to page you for a remote open. You can also get a motion sensor that chimes a tone at the house and turns on a light at the gate. Maybe a setup like this way down by the street would be the trick.

TallPine
July 27, 2007, 11:06 AM
If I ever got that paranoid about living somewhere then I would not want to live there anymore.

We're all pretty much stuck here until space travel gets developed a whole lot further ;)

Gaucho Gringo
July 27, 2007, 05:15 PM
All my exterior doors have double dead bolt locks placed 15" from the top and 24" from the bottom. Makes the doors a lot stronger than just one deadbolt in the middle of the door.

Navy87Guy
August 7, 2007, 09:19 PM
Well if the news about CT wasn't enough, I just read about a home invasion in my old neighborhood - about a mile from where we live now. Two guys, middle of the night. They broke in, threatened the residents, then just left. The sherrif's office is very interested - home invasions are pretty rare around here.

So tonight I mounted the HOMAK quick access box that I bought and put my wife's Ruger P93 in it. I picked the box up from Amazon.com for about $30. It's not the best, but it's secure and access is quick. I mounted it in the hall closet on the first floor (where my wife wanted it). It will allow us quick access to the gun if necessary, but keeps it out of the reach of the little ones.

Now I need to get to work on that door and windows! Thanks for all the tips!

Jim

cassandrasdaddy
August 8, 2007, 07:20 AM
double dead bolts are great! i did an install with 2 moreone through hinge side and one the goes up through top door frame and i thought i was paranoid

StuckInMA
August 8, 2007, 09:42 AM
My first piece of advice would be to keep your security system armed at all times. If it's not setup in a way that you can turn motion detectors, single doors or complete zones on and off I'd look into it. Home invasions occur during the day as well so keeping it on at all times is a good idea for total protection.

Most folks have already mentioned how to strengthen your standard doors so no need to go there. I would look into changing the slider out for a solid French Door setup if possible. It's not a brick wall but it's not as inviting as a slider. Run of the mill sliders can be pushed off the tracks with enough force so a bar that keeps someone from sliding it open isn't your best defense.

Instead of worrying about opening a door to talk to someone you don't know look for a nearby window they can hear you from (especially at night) if you don't have a two way in place. That way you don't have to open the door to talk to them and you'll more than likely throw them off if their intentions are bad. They can't hurt what they can't see.

I'd also look at arming yourself 24/7 if possible. That's a personal choice though.

A firearm, flashlight (at night) and cell phone are within arms reach at all times for both myself and the spouse. We are both well versed in the handling and firing of the firearms as well.

Once you have your entry ways secured to your liking make sure you have at least one plan in place if something does go wrong. Our plans lay out exactly who will be where to reduce the chance of shooting a loved one. Where and when depends solely on the conditions. Since interior walls don't stop bullets part of that plan is also for them to lay flat on the floor until the house is cleared to help if lead does fly. We also have verbal commands to make sure no one is accidentally shot once/if the house is cleared. Spouse knows that if someone enters the "safe room" without a peep she needs to be in a position to fire when she turns the flashlight on. I don't mean safety off and finger on the trigger. Just in position.

I'd say we've never had to put this plan into action but our dang cat set off the motion detectors that are "cat friendly" twice so we had two unannounced drills in the dead of the night. When everything was over and done with it felt good to know we could put the plan into action under pressure.

If you're really worried or want to add an additional layer of protection between your spouse/kids and the bad guys a sturdy interior door on your "safe room" can help to beef up their safety.

Lastly, even though my driveway is relatively short I have a driveway alarm in place.

I enjoy where I live and don't feel paranoid or unsafe, but a good plan to defend my home and loved ones just seems natural. To me it's just like having a plan in place in case of a fire. Every room has a smoke detector, there's always a fire extinguisher within arms reach and we all know where we're headed if the time comes. Fire is my greatest fear so I've gone overboard on that one.

Cannonball888
August 8, 2007, 09:45 AM
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/77/179870262_d5ac522b36.jpg?v=0

StuckInMA
August 8, 2007, 10:04 AM
kellyj00I'd say that it's a good idea to prevent it from happening by making yourself the toughest possible target. A lot of robberies are done by acquaintances who know exactly how lax your security is and how many assets you've got.
Keep your public view limited, and keep your business private.

Great point. I'd add anyone doing any kind of work/renovations to your home to the list as well. Especially if you're a new homeowner and don't have any kind of relationship with them. Nicely painted trucks, embroidered shirts and letterhead doesn't mean they won't kick in your door at 1am or mention what's in the house to someone who will.

Not a knock on contractors but safety should be a priority.

ckyllo
August 8, 2007, 12:45 PM
If you ever have your windows open on your house. Get some wooden pegs that can be drilled and glued in above the top of the sliding portion of the window. a few inches up so the window can only be opened enough for ventalition. But do not do this for any window that is considered the egress window in the event of a fire. Also make sure that the window locks are not the type that a simple putty knife can be slid in and unlocked.

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