Door Security Part One

Door Security 

Between 60 and 70% of burglars gain access to your property using your front door. Unbelievably around 20% of the time the door is unlocked and the burglar literally just walks through the door. In this article we will discuss the different types of doors commonly seen on the average British home there security  weaknesses. We will follow this up with a part 2 which will go into more detail about the techniques criminals use to bypass your doors security and what you can do to protect your home.  

Firstly we will examine the typical types of doors seen on the average home. These can be split into a number of categories. These are as follows 

UPVC Doors 

Unplasticized Poly Vinyl Chloride or more commonly known as UPVC is a relatively new material used heavily in Europe and America and has become very popular for a number of reasons. 

  1. Costs – UPVC tends to be considerably cheaper when compared to wooden and composite doors, while also providing additional benefits. 
  2. Durability – UPVC is resistant to corrosion, fading, and rotting. 
  3. Fire Safety – Unlike wooden doors UPVC is fire resistant. 
  4. Energy Efficiency – UPVC is widely known for its insulating properties, both heat and sound insulation. 
  5. High Security – UPVC doors come as standard with a Multi point locking system. The multi point locking system is usually operated by a euro cylinder, this type of door, when used properly is highly secure.

Wooden Doors 

Wooden doors used to be seen up and down the UK on every door but with the invention of cheaper UPVC and more durable Composite doors, the day of the wooden door has come to an end. Wooden doors tend to be more expensive, less durable, and have a lower life expectancy compared to UPVC or Composite doors. Wooden doors are typically fitted with a latch and a deadlock. 

Composite Doors 

Composite doors are made using a number of materials which are glued together and then combined under high pressure. Composite doors are very similar to UPVC in almost every way but tend to be more durable and come in a number of designs. Composite doors tend to be more extensive than UPVC. Security wise Composite and UPVC are very similar and like UPVC, composite doors come with a multi point locking system as standard. 

Now we have examined the types of doors typically fitted to the average home. We can examine the types of locks fitted to these doors and how criminals bypass them. 

Types of Locks 

In the UK we typically have three types of doors: Wooden, UPVC and Composite. The three doors typically use three types of locks. 

  1. Euro Cylinders – 

Commonly Used on – UPVC Doors & Composite Doors 

Vulnerable to – Lock Snapping, Lock Picking, Lock Bumping, Hooking, Fishing, Door Popping 

  1. Night Latch – 

Commonly Used on – Wooden Doors 

Vulnerable to – Lock Picking, Lock Bumping, Brute Force, Sliding

  1. Mortice Lock – 

Commonly Used on – Wooden Doors 

Vulnerable to – Lock Picking, Lock Bumping, Brute Force, Sliding

We have examined the types of doors typically seen on the average home as well as the lock systems typically fitted to each door. In our next article we will examine the tactics used by criminals to bypass your door and what you can do to keep the burglar out. 

In our previous article we examined the different types of doors typically seen on the average British home, we also examined the different types of locks fitted to these doors and their security vulnerabilities. 

In this article we will examine the tactics used by criminals to gain access to your home and what you can do to stop them. 

Criminal Tactics 

Criminals use a variety of tactics to bypass your doors’ security. These are just some of the measures criminals use to gain access to your home. 

  • Lock Picking – Lock picking involves manipulating the internal components of the lock without using a key. This can be done with lock picks which can be brought very easily.
  • Sliding – This involves using something very flexible and thin in order to slide between the lock and the door frame removing the tension from the latch and opening the door. 
  • Lock Snapping – This involves using simple DIY tools such as a hammer or pliers to snap an external part of a Euro Cylinder. Lock Snapping can be achieved in as little as 10 seconds. 
  • Fishing – Criminals use a hook to push through the letterbox or open window to lift any keys left exposed.
  • Lock Bumping – Is a method used by criminals to open a lock using a special made bump key by bumping the pins into place and consequently opening the door. 
  • Brute Forces – This involves using physical force to break the door, the hinges or the door frame. 
  • Hooking– Burglars push a hook through the letterbox and with some careful handy work can open your door from within. This is a particular vulnerability with UPVC and composite doors. 
  • Door Popping – Using a type of spade or chisel and a specially designed air pillow criminals can create a gap in the door using the air pillows while then using the spade or chisel to wedge the door until it pops open.

Increasing Security on your front Door

Double Locking – This is by far the easiest and cheapest way to dramatically increase the security of your door. Double locking means simply locking your door with your key and not relying on the latch. 

On UPVC and Composite doors this involves inserting your key into the Euro Cylinder, lifting the handle and locking the lock initiating the bolts and hooks. By double locking you dramatically enhance the doors force resistance, and making it impossible to use a hook to open the door from within while also making it impossible to pop open the door. 

On a wooden door to double lock you can do two things, the first is to lock the latch by either pressing the button or pushing the little switch usually placed on the side of the latch. The second way to double lock your wooden door is to lock your mortice lock with your key. By locking the mortise lock you greatly reduce the  chance of success of  lock picking, bumping and strengthening the door against a brute force attack.

Upgrading your Locks – High quality locks is one of the best ways to increase the security on any door. High quality and high security locks such as ABS locks by Avocet, Banham Locks, or Ultion locks by Bristan will do wonders for your doors security. High security locks meet BS 3621 in addition to having the best security rating which is 3 stars which are both recommended by both Insurance companies and the Police. 

High Quality locks are designed to counter any attempt to bypass them. 

They do this by 

  • Security Pins & Magnets – Anti Bump And Anti Pick Pins are located within the lock. These pins make it much harder to pick and almost impossible to bump. 
  • Stronger Materials and Anti Drill Pins – Using stronger materials such as Molybdenum and anti drill plates and pins to withstand drilling for longer. 
  • Sacrificial Section – A sacrificial section of a lock  can be seen on the external section and will easily break off in the event of a lock snapping attempt, leaving the remainder of the lock safely within the door. 

Simple Door Additions – Small simple additions to your such as a letterbox cage, door chains, peep hole can make a big difference to your security. The vast majority of burglars are opportunists and it’s not uncommon for a burglar to actually knock on the person’s door before commiting a crime.  Letter box cages act to prevent burglars from tampering with your locks through the letterbox using hooks.Door chains allow you to talk to people without actually opening the door exposing yourself and your home

London & Birmingham bars – For Wooden Doors –  Wooden doors in particular are vulnerable to foreful attacks, one way to enhance the force resistance of your door is to install a London and Birmingham bar to your door frame.