Practical Home Security Tips

Practical Tips to a More Secure Home

A home secured by a locksmith Mission Viejoe
By far, the most common threat to our homes is burglary. According to the FBI, a burglary occurs somewhere in the United States every 15.4 seconds. And daytime burglaries are becoming more and more prevalent in Orange County as families spend more time away from home whether for work, school or recreation. In the 25 years I have been a locksmith in Mission Viejo and surrounding communities I have been called upon many times to secure a home after it has been broken into. In these situations I often see common reasons why that particular house was the target as opposed to another house on the block. To help you avoid becoming a burglary victim, here are some suggestions that will make your home more unattractive to potential burglars. Just as we take proactive steps such as installing fire detectors in our home to reduce the risk of a catastrophic fire, we can also take protective steps to reduce the risk of burglary.

As bit of background information, burglars are looking for items that are small, expensive, and can easily be converted to cash. Favorite items are cash, jewelry, guns, watches, laptop computers, video players, CDs and other small electronic devices are high on the list. Statistics tell us that 70% of the burglars use some amount force to enter a dwelling, but their preference is to gain easy access through an open door or window. The burglar's selection process is to select an unoccupied home with the easiest access, the greatest amount of cover, and with the best escape routes. Here is a list of suggestions that I should make your home unattractive to potential burglars.

Doors and Locks

Rekeying in Mission Viejo by a Locksmith in Mission Viejo
The first step in making your home more unattractive to a burglar is to make it more difficult to enter. Remember, the burglar will simply move on to another home if your home requires too much effort to burglarize. Most burglars enter via the front, back, or garage doors. The garage and back doors are the easiest to enter and also provide the most cover. Based on my experience as a locksmith, I recommend using high quality Grade-1 or Grade-2 locks on exterior doors to resist twisting, prying, and lock-picking attempts. A quality deadbolt lock will have a beveled casing to inhibit the use of channel-lock pliers used to shear off lock cylinder pins. And a quality door knob-in-lock set will have a 'dead latch' mechanism to prevent slipping the lock with a shim or credit card.

          • Use a solid core or metal door for all entrance points
          • Use a quality, heavy-duty, deadbolt lock with a one-inch throw bolt
          • Use a quality, heavy-duty, knob-in-lock set with a dead-latch mechanism
          • Use a heavy-duty, four-screw, strike plate with 3-inch screws to penetrate into a wooden door frame
          • Use a wide-angle 160° peephole mounted no higher than 58 inches
If you have any questions about this type of hardware, give me a call.

Sliding-Glass Patio Doors

Any locksmith or police officer will tell you it is a misconception to think that sliding glass doors are secure. Sliding glass doors generally have latches not locks. And, they can be vulnerable to being forced open from the outside because of the latch mechanisms they use. Prying open a sliding glass door can easily be prevented by inserting a wooden dowel or stick. If you want something more attractive and easier to use, metal fold-down blocking devices can be installed. If you have an older sliding glass door, it might be susceptible to being lifted up and off its track. To prevent lifting, make sure you keep the door rollers in good condition and properly adjusted. You can also install anti-lift devices such as a pin that extends through both the sliding and fixed portion of the door. There are also numerous locking and blocking devices available in any good quality hardware store that will prevent a sliding door from being lifted or forced horizontally. 

          • Use a secondary blocking device on all sliding glass doors
          • Keep the latch mechanism in good condition and properly adjusted
          • Keep sliding door rollers in good condition and properly adjusted
          • Use anti-lift devices such as through-the-door pins or upper track screws


A good Mission Viejo Locksmith can prevent a burglar from enterng

Here in Southern California, windows are left unlocked and are open at a much higher rate than doors. It is important to remember windows, like sliding glass doors, have latches not locks. Therefore you should consider a secondary blocking device on some of your first floor windows to prevent them from being opened from the outside. Inexpensive wooden dowels and sticks work well for horizontal sliding windows and through-the-frame pins work well for vertical sliding windows.

          • Consider securing all accessible windows with secondary blocking devices
          • Make sure someone cannot reach through an open window and unlock a door
          • Make sure someone cannot reach inside a window and remove the blocking device
          • If you have an alarm system adhere a decal on a ground accessible window so it can be seen


A Locksmith Mission Viejo trusts secured this home.

We all know that a home that is dark night-after-night sends a message that you are away on a trip. Light timers are inexpensive and can be found everywhere and are very useful especially when you are on vacation. Typically, you want to use light-timers near the front and back windows with the curtains closed. The pattern of lights turning on and off should simulate actual occupancy. And if you use them when you know you will be coming home late at night, it is comforting not to have to enter a dark home when you return. 

Exterior lighting can also be a good deterrent. Crime experts will tell you it is best to have timed exterior lighting on the front of a property to establish a routine and appearance of occupancy.  And of course, the old practice of leaving the garage or porch lights turned on all day is a dead giveaway that you are out of town. If you are ultra security conscious security lights with motion sensors are relatively inexpensive and are also useful as an exterior porch light or side door light. 

          • Use interior light timers to establish a pattern of occupancy
          • Consider timed lighting on exterior lighting in the front of your home
          • Consider motion sensitive lighting on exterior lighting in the back of your home

Alarm Systems

A home security system is also recommended by a Locksmith in Mission Viejo

As a locksmith I do not service or install alarm systems, but I believe they can definitely have a place in a home security plan. The reason why alarms systems deter burglaries is because they increase the potential and fear of being caught and arrested by the police. The deterrent value comes from the alarm company lawn sign and from the alarm decals on the windows. Burglars will usually bypass a property with visible alarm signs and will go to another property without such a sign. I know some people with alarm systems feel that these signs and decals are unsightly and will not display them. But the best alarm system is the one that works as a deterrent.

          • Alarm systems are effective deterrents with visible signage
          • Alarm systems to be properly installed, programmed, and maintained
          • Alarm systems need to have an audible horn or bell to be effective

Home Safes

A quality locksmith in Mission Viejo can recommend a good safe

Over the years I have seen prices drop good, high quality home safes. Therefore having a safe in your home can be a wise investment. Not only are safes a secure place for your valuables, but they can also secure important family documents too. Home safes are designed to deter the smash and grab burglar, but I am told by my locksmith clients they are also effective with nosey kids, babysitters and housekeepers! Home safes need to be anchored into the floor or permanent shelving and install them away from the master bedroom or closet.

Guard Dogs

A Locksmith Mission Viejo Trusts Will Tell You Noisy Dogs Deter Burglars

Burglars hate noise and dogs can make noise! Even small dogs like Chihuahuas and Poodles can make enough noise to deter a potential burglar. Sometimes the bark is bigger than the bite…as is the case with our guard dog Hugo!