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Updated March 14, 2011, 8:29 am betterhomesgardens
Stop those burglaries and start protecting your home. Best of all, it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Try these great solutions.
Did you know about 80 per cent of burglaries occur through the front or back door, and 67 per cent involve forced entry? The good new is, since most burglars are after easy pickings, a little security goes a long way.
While alarms are great, you should think about preventing burglars getting into your home in the first place. Most break-ins occur through a door, so the key to good security is a good lock. A keyed entrance set gives minimal security. A step up is a night latch, but deadlocks and deadlatches provide more security.
1. Night latch Night latches are surface-mounted and not lockable on the inside, so you can easily get out of the house in an emergency. But a burglar can also open the door from the inside once they’re in.
3. Deadlock A deadlock, like the Lockwood 355 Deadlock (about $140), is similar to a deadlatch, but the lock engages with the keeper, so it also works on sliding and double-opening doors. And when locked, the lock and keeper can’t be separated.
A second line of defence at any entrance is a security screen door. It should comply with the requirements of Australian Standard 5039-2003, while AS 5040 specifies how it should be installed. A security screen door allows you to safely see out, while stopping unwanted people from getting in. It also provides ventilation and lets cooling breezes into your home.Alarms
If you are unfortunate enough to have intruders actually get into your home, your next defence is an alarm (or a hungry Rottweiler). Alarms range from basic beepers to sophisticated multi-thousand-dollar systems that alert a base station. But, you can make a loud noise with an inexpensive system.
An Arlec Mini Window/Door Alarm only costs about $15 and can give a burglar quite a surprise. A simple magnetic alarm, it fits to a door or window and is turned on and off by a switch. It’s small, but when activated, emits a 130dB alarm. Sure a burglar could turn it off, or close the door, but their first instinct would be to run away. And a few seconds of loud beeping will often be enough to alert a neighbour or dog. Be tricky and install two, top and bottom. Simply stick them in place with the double-sided tape provided.Home safes
Regardless of all your measures, there are items that you never want to lose, such as passports and precious jewellery. Store them securely off site, or consider a home safe. A safe should be hidden from view and fixed to the floor, or wall and floor. The fixings need to be substantial so the safe can’t be jemmied up. The Sandford ES20 Electronic Safe costs about $36 and features twin bolts, an electronic keypad and back-up keys.
STEP 1 To fit the lock, mark a suitable position on the window sash. If you need to cut around a bead on the window frame, mark the top and bottom of the lock, open the window, when cut with a saw. Remove the section of bead.
STEP 2 Close the window again and hold the lock against the sash. Predrill for 1 screw hole and screw the lock into place. Then check the alignment, predrill for the other screw and secure to the sash.
STEP 3 With the window closed, push the pin through the hole to mark the position of the hole in the window frame. Then drill a 9mm hole to just take the length of the pin. You should not drill in too far or you’ll come through to the other side. Remove the sawdust, test the pin and snap on the window bolt cover.
STEP 1 Install the movement sensors high in the corners of the area you want to protect, such as the lounge room or hallway. The sensors have a range of 7m and a detector angle of 90º, so aim them at the centre of the room. Screw on the bracket using the wall plugs provided, then mount the sensors on the brackets. Add the door switch as per instructions.
STEP 2 Locate the control module close to the front door and within a metre of power. Installation is easy as all you need to do is put 2 screws in the wall and hook the panel on top. Plug into the power, then program the unit. The code number arms and disarms the unit. Similar units are available for garages for about $40 – the garage is often an easy way to get into the rest of the house.
STEP 1 Installation involves fitting a mortise lock inside the door. Use the template provided to mark out the holes on door faces and the size of the mortise hole on the edge of door. If replacing an old lock, try to use the large existing hole if you can.
STEP 2 Wedge the door firmly in a half-open position, then use a 25mm spade bit to drill holes into the edge of the door for the mortise. These need to go quite deep – make sure you bore them straight and level so you don’t go through the face of the door.
STEP 3 Square up the mortise with a chisel, then test-fit the lock. You’ll need an extra 4mm depth to house the face plate.
STEP 4 With the mortise latch in the hole, draw around the perimeter for the housing for the face plate using a pencil or utility knife. Cut around this line with the knife, to a depth of 4mm.
STEP 5 Chisel out the waste, working back towards the knife cuts before removing the bulk of the material. Test-fit the mortise and its face plate. Remove, then use a 20mm diameter bit to drill through for the square drive shaft. If not already present from a previous lock, add a 30mm-diameter top hole to feed through the wiring harness. Drill 9mm holes for the screw shafts.
STEP 6 Reinsert the mortise and screw in place. Install the outdoor section of the lock. Feed the wires through the hole and insert the drive shaft. Screw the internal fixing plate to the screw shafts of the outer section. Connect the wiring to the internal lock set and screw in place. Mark and install the strike plate on the doorjamb. Insert batteries and press the ‘on’ button to activate the system. Follow the instructions to program a master set of fingerprints and then other users of the door. Enter several fingerprints per person so the lock recognises the fingers or thumbs of both hands.
One of the best forms of security has four legs and a tail. Dogs combine devoted loyalty and protectiveness with incredible hearing. They listen out for your return and will warn you if they hear anything unusual, even if it is a whimper rather than a growl. If you have the odd loose paver or step, crunchy dry leaves or best of all, gravel driveways, it will be enough for your early-warning hound to go bananas and alert you to someone approaching the house. Their barking may also deter many burglars.Stockists: Locks; bolts; safe; alarms, Bunnings, stores nationally. L Series BioDoor Lock, $595, Covetek Australasia, (02) 9404 8777 or Bunnings Special Orders. Regency XR4 door in grey, $390, Hume Doors & Timber, (02) 9794 1111