Home is where the heart is, or so the saying goes. But it’s also the place most of us consider the safest for ourselves and our families, as well as where all of your treasured memories and valuables are kept. So of course one of the questions locksmiths get asked time and time again is, “How do we make our home safer?” Of course, a high-tech, monitored home security system is a great way to deter opportunistic thieves, but we know that not everyone has the budget for that. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to further secure your home against break-ins, and it all starts with your locks.
Picking a Lock
The standard lock is what is called a 4-pin lock. This is because, as you probably imagine, there are four rods inside the lock’s tumbler mechanism that control whether or not a lock can be turned. Each of the pins is a different length and has a spring at the top pushing it down, which prevents the lock from turning. Those pins all have to be raised to the correct heights at the same time in order for the tumbler to turn and the lock to engage or disengage. The dips and peaks on your key are designed to match up with the heights required to raise the pins inside to the correct heights. This is also the reason that, as your key gets worn down, it can be harder to turn the lock.
Those four pins in the lock are all that stop it from turning so, in theory, if you can push all of them up, you can turn the lock without a key. The reason you can’t just shove a bobby pin in and push up is that each of the pins is set to a different height, so if you don’t have a key, you’ll need a way to find the right height for each pin and push them all up separately. A lock picking kit comes with the components designed to make this easier, but it’s not a foolproof process.
Protecting Against Lock Picking
Thanks to online shopping, it’s easier than ever to get a hold of a lock picking kit—something we know may sound pretty concerning. However, home burglary trends have proven that it’s not actually as bad as many of you think. A team at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte surveyed more than 400 convicted burglars to track patterns of behavior and learn what could be done to improve home safety. The results of the survey were pretty interesting. For example, only 12 percent of those surveyed said they actually planned out a theft in advance. That’s a pretty small number of burglars that actually go in with a plan. In addition, only one in eight reported actually picking a lock to get inside the home. The prevalent method of getting in was either an unlocked door or forcing their way through a door or window. What this tells us is that, even though lock picking does occasionally happen, it’s not the most common method. Instead, if you want to improve your home’s security, take steps to make it easier for a burglar to reach a door or window and stay hidden.
Steps To Take
If you want to protect your home against burglary, there are a few different steps you can take that don’t cost a great deal but can go miles toward protecting your home. These include:
- Improving lines of sight—more often than not, the burglars surveyed would simply force their way into a home. Whether you’re worried about lock picking or forced entry, one great way to protect your home is to take away anywhere a would-be thief could hide as they try to get in. This includes things like cutting back overgrown plants and bushes and ensuring you have strong, working lights around your home.
- Making locks harder to force—a standard deadbolt is, surprisingly, one of the best lock options out there. However, it can only really do its job when it has been installed appropriately. This means the bolt should go into the door frame at least a full inch, and the screws affixing the security plate should be at least three inches long. Any shorter and the wood of the door frame will splinter too easily and allow entry.
- Making it look like someone is home—according to the survey we mentioned above, most of the burglars surveyed said they would take nearby people into account, in the forms of businesses, neighbors, and even vehicle traffic. While you can’t necessarily increase traffic in your neighborhood, there are plenty of gadgets and things you can use around the home to make it appear as if someone is home, even when you aren’t.
If you want further ways to improve your home security in the Destin and Panama City Beach areas, contact Destin Locksmith. We can help you with everything from new lock installation and keyless entry systems to a full home security system. Give us a call today to get started!