Door chains hold weak link to home security

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By Frank Fourchalk

Ever since the first mechanical wood locks were born some 4000 years ago in Egypt, we have been on a steady mission to improve lock technology. In to-day’s world we would no sooner consider installing a 4000 year old lock on our home than writing a letter to aunt Martha in Hieroglyphics.

So why is it we still install inferior locking devices on our homes? Locking devices I’m sure wouldn’t meet the Egyptian’s standards of 4000 years ago. I’m talking about cheap door chains, the single worst security device you could install on your home.

There’s something about this 1950′s mindset we can’t seem to eradicate from our minds. Gone are the Edsels, hi fi’s and saddle shoes, but door chains have stood the test of time. After thousands of warnings from security professionals and police officers, consumers still toss these useless blister packs in their shopping carts.

Part of the problem is availability with just about every hardware store carrying this inexpensive item on the same shelf as their home security wares. In fact, cheap chains are not even recognized as home security products by most security professionals.

Don’t assume a couple of 1/2 inch screws and a light gauge metal chain are going to come between you and the bad guys. If you open your door on these inferior links, you will not only be jeopardizing your safety, but will be placing your family’s safety in harms way as well.

I’ve been in homes where the owners had every door and window secured properly, installed all the proper lighting and had all the exterior shrubbery trimmed to expose the sight lines, but failed the test because they installed a weak, useless chain on the front door. All it would take is one good shove from a burglar to either pull the hardware away from the wall or snap the chain in two.

Cheap chains are nothing more than an excuse to open your door to a potentially dangerous situation. Why not remove these inadequate devices and eliminate the risk of a home invasion. If you inherited a chain from a previous owner, remove it right away, before any bad habits are picked up from your family members.

Replace door chains with door viewers with a radius of 180 to 200 degrees to give maximum optics. Try and purchase a door viewer or peep hole with a cover that falls in front of the inside lenses to restrict intruders from using a reverse lenses to view inside your home from the outside. When you want to view who’s at your door, simply move the cover to the side and look through the door viewer.

If you have a thicker pocket book, consider a Video entry system for your home’s front door area. Video entry systems are audio/visual security systems that use sophisticated infrared technology to give you a clear, wide-angle view of the area around your front door, even in near-total darkness. These video systems enable you to see who is at your front door through a four-inch color monitor that turns on automatically when the door bell rings.