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HOW CAN I MAKE MY EXTERIOR DOORS MORE SECURE?

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You might need to upgrade your exterior doors, including back doors, side doors and garage doors, which are just as vulnerable to break-ins as the front door.

Exterior doors should have solid cores, good locks and sturdy hardware. A few tips:

Test every exterior door by pushing a straight pin into the center of it. If the pin goes in easily, that door could be hollow. A burglar won’t have any trouble breaking it down.

  • Consider replacing hollow doors with solid-core fiberglass doors. They look like wood, but they stand up to Arizona’s punishing sun and heat much better than wood.
  • Even the door inside the garage that leads to the house should have a solid core and a deadbolt lock.
  • Replace doors that are rotting, warping or are badly cracked. Those doors are weak, which means they aren’t secure.
  • Remove decorative glass inserts around the door, especially near the knob; a burglar can break that glass, reach through and unlock your door from the inside. An alternative: Replace the panels with impact-resistant glass. 
  • Maintain the door frame as carefully as the door. Rotting and warping can make it easier for someone to pry the frame away from the door. 
  • Install deadbolt locks on all exterior doors, not just the front door.
  • Get rid of your front door’s mail slot. A crafty burglar can rig a device for unlocking your door to slide through even a small mail slot. An alternative: Install a box on the inside of the door to cover the slot, catch the mail and block any effort to slip an unlocking device through.
  • Same goes for a pet door. A small child can crawl through a large pet door, or a burglar can reach into it and try to unlock the door. Your best bet if you must have a pet door: Install an electronic version that will open only if a pet with a programmed collar tries to walk through it.
  • Equip sliding-glass doors with locks on top and bottom. Sliding doors often are on the back or side of the house, hidden from your neighbors’ view, so they’re favorite targets of burglars.
  • Lock your doors. Seems like a no-brainer, but statistics show that 12 percent of burglaries occur in homes with unlocked doors.

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