Reinforce Exterior Doors
One quick and easy home defense upgrade is to reinforce exterior home doors.
Home & Family Defense
A home defense plan should be layered and may comprise several phases to include the 4 Ds:
A strong focus should be placed on deterrence with good exterior lighting, properly trimmed landscaping around windows, signage, and possibly a dog or two. Some homes have good detection with exterior video monitoring and motion detection. These measures are a great start and highly recommended.
The one area I see lacking in most residential homes is the Denial phase of that home defense plan. While many people have an “alarm system” these systems can be circumvented and remember, they only alert you to a possible breach in your home’s perimeter when it’s already happening. That may be too late.
Having to catch up during a forced entry places you in a reactionary state to a criminal’s actions. This is not a good start to the Defend phase of the plan. An alarm combined with robust denial tools such as properly installed deadbolts and door locks is a good start. However, common deadbolts, locks, and doorframe construction are weak points that can be easily exploited.
Most home exterior doors are poorly designed with wooden frames, poorly constructed door jams and cheap deadbolt and lock combinations. These deadbolts and locks are often mounted in the door very close together with strike plates mounted to the wooden door jam utilizing short 2in screws. This results in a weak point on that door jam, easily forced or kicked in.
A stronger more permanent solution involves installing additional deadbolts or removing existing door frames and installing solid metal or steel frames. This “hardening” of the frame itself can be an expensive and daunting endeavor if you aren’t building from the ground up. There are other options available.
One option that I have utilized for several years is to install a #Doordevil.
This is a 48″ long hardened metal strike plate that replaces the deadbolt strike plate and is mounted to the wooden door jam with nine, 3.5in screws. Extra screws are included to replace the hinge mounting screws as well thus reinforcing the hinge side of the door.
This $70 kit now reinforces the doorway and if a kick-in is attempted the force is dispersed along with the length, hardened metal strike plate. Easy to install, cheap, and a little extra reinforcement to home entry points. The door devil or similar device can provide deterrence, temporary denial (it won’t last forever against someone highly determined), and a little more time to initiate the Defend phase. This gives you time to call 911 and prepare for whatever comes next if a forced entry is attempted.
I am not endorsed or paid in any way by door devil, I simply believe this product is a worthwhile investment.