By Frank Fourchalk
Question: I am new to apartment living and want to make my unit more secure. I have looked at other people’s doors and everybody seems to have a different idea on how to secure their apartment. I see metal strips of all shapes and sizes and am thoroughly confused as to what to do. I do have limited funds, however I realize the need for improved security. Would you please inform me on just what I should do?
Fourchalk: There’s no doubt that security can be confusing. Locksmiths quite often have different views, themselves, when it comes to securing an apartment. First of all, in order to secure your apartment you must realize how these low lifes are breaking in.
There are three basic ways of breaking in:
- Kicking the door in
- Prying the door open
- Picking the lock open
I strongly recommend that you arm yourself against all three. Installing an interlocking latchguard between the door and frame will help discourage an intruder from prying the door open. This unit is installed on the door and frame. When the door is closed, the portion of latchguard on the door interlocks with the portion on the frame, eliminating the gap between the door and frame.
Next, install a door reinforcer. This is a metal plate that wraps around the door in the lock area. Once the reinforcer is installed on the door, the lock is installed over top of the reinforcing plate. On a kick-in, the bolt usually comes through the door from the force of the kick. This plate holds the door and bolt together in the event of such an attack.
The third security precaution is to install a high-security cylinder in your existing deadbolt. You could purchase a high-security deadbolt which would give you the utmost protection, however it does come at a cost. You mentioned that money is an issue, so I am recommending the high-security cylinder that could be inserted in your existing deadbolt. If you decide to do it yourself, make sure that you remove your deadbolt and take it to a locksmith for evaluation before purchasing the high-security cylinder. You don’t want to install a high-security cylinder in an inferior lock.