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Home Security: Cheap (sorta) burglar discouragement

Argh!A fine young locksmith I met a few weeks ago came up with an idea that might help protect my priceless valuables from the wave of burglaries the neighborhood is enjoying. I’d asked him if he felt installing (ugg-leeee!) steel security doors was worth the extravagant cost, and he said all a burglar needs is a crowbar to bust through one of the things. He suggested instead that you install a sturdy solid-core door on your home office or a bedroom and put a good strong deadbolt on the thing. Put your computers and whatever else you cherish in the room, and then treat its door like any exterior door: lock it before you leave the house.

He also recommended bolting a fireproof, burglar-proof safe to the floor in the same room, to keep your papers, jewelry, and pistols. You should, of course, have a gun safe for any long guns you choose to keep. 

Lowe’s sells solid-core interior doors for under $200. A double security door to protect even one of the three sliding doors in back would run me over $1,000. Truth to tell, I own little of value; the only thing I’d rather not have stolen is the computer, which contains my entire life. A few negotiable instruments and my father’s Ruger also could stay, if the burglar wouldn’t mind too much.

The Lowe’s door guy pointed out that even a solid-core door is vulnerable a vigorous kicking job. The locksmith extraordinaire counter-pointed out that to break through a solid-core door with a heavy-duty deadbolt and a heavy-duty strike with extra-long bolts extending into the studs would at least give the burglar a sprained ankle. 

So this morning I ordered the door; this afternoon the Lowe’s guy came by to measure; tomorrow morning I’ll run past the locksmith’s to buy his version of a killer deadbolt. For less than a fourth of what one double security door would cost, I’ll get some modest protection for the office. The room fronts to the street, and a fiercely thorny rose bush grows under the window, so it’s unlikely the burglar will try to get in that way. The window has some serious security on it, anyhow.

Of late, our burglars have been a real squat-and-run set. They watch until they see someone leave, then they jump the back wall and break in a back door, race through the place in ten or fifteen minutes, and are outta there. Because they know it takes the cops about that long to get here, they move very fast. So there’s a good chance that a tough lock and a reasonably resistant solid-core door will discourage them. 

Hope so, anyway.

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