Tag Archives: house hardening

Home Hardening Revisited & A Rant About Criminals

8 Oct

In some areas today, it violates building code to install double cylinder deadbolt locks. These are deadbolts which need a key from each side. I understand the concern for fire safety. It would be horrible to be locked in during a fire. If you have windows near your door or if somebody could smash a pane and reach in and work your lock, a double-keyed deadbolt is nice. Homeowners should have that option. I don’t think state or local governments should dictate whether we put fire safety ahead of burglary and home invasion protection. That should be a personal decision.

If you have double keyed locks, you could have a spare key made and store it just inside the doorway. If you can’t open a locked door from the inside, don’t forget the hinge pins. On most doors these are easily popped up and out with a screwdriver or a pliers. Then pry the door away from the frame from the hinge side. The best locks in the world won’t stop your exit.

If a little burglar crawls through a window (or shimmies down your chimney!), he can let his fat buddy into the house by opening the door from the inside. If he encounters a double cylinder deadbolt, he’ll be stuck. Some say there are two aspects to protecting your home from intruders: Be sure they can’t get in. Be sure they can’t get out with your stuff.

There are security hinges made with a little pin that prevents the hinge from being removed. The pin is only accessible when the door is open. Another option occurred to me for those with a lathe.

This isn’t completely secure, but you could try this: Chuck up a hinge pin in your lathe and drill a smaller hole down the center. Thread this hole for a small bolt. The idea would be to have the small bolt hold in a cap to prevent the hinge pin from being removed. You might need to modify your hinge, in addition to the hinge pin.

To remove the hinge would demand the intruder realize the two halves must be unscrewed. The most secure bolt would have a head that can’t be grabbed with a pliers. It could be a security fastener like a star pattern. It’s unlikely the burglar would have a star drive screwdriver! The star would look like a decoration on the end. Many people wouldn’t realize it was a bolt head.

You could recess the bolt head in the cap you make on a lathe to make use of a pliers impossible. This is the same concept as a deadbolt with a rotating ring on the outside: If a burglar tries to grab the lock with a pipe wrench to twist it off, the outer ring spins and the lock remains fully intact.

I recommend all DIY homeowners look inside the strike-box hole for their deadbolts. You’ll notice a slight gap between the door frame (jamb) and the wood used to frame the door opening. This is common. If that gap is much larger than 1/4,” I suggest carefully removing the trim and installing some wooden strips to bridge the gap. That will make the screws holding the strike box more secure. It has the added benefit that it’s more difficult to jimmy open the door. Theoretically, if you have a one-inch throw deadbolt and even if the gap is 1/2″ the door should be secure. But why not make it even more secure?

I re-read Cobb’s book, Prepper’s Home Defense, and he wrote about how some modern houses can be breached by cutting a hole through the wall! This applies to homes with siding. I’ve never heard of this happening in our area, but I’ve been told in some parts of the country burglars actually do this. Cut a damn hole in your wall.

A hole in an exterior wall would really suck. It would be no small repair job. This is the reason I hate criminals. They don’t care about the costs to other people. They only care about themselves and what they can get. If they leave behind thousands of dollars in repair costs, they don’t care. If they steal money somebody needs to feed their family, they don’t care.

I know people make mistakes. I know people get desperate. I know I should be forgiving and understanding and compassionate, but then a read something like this.  Shavelle Chavez-Nelson was a criminal given chance after chance after chance to straighten out his life.

Charged for drugs. He was released. OK.

He drives a getaway car for an accomplice who snatches a purse. He doesn’t receive prison time. He’s released. These things happen.

He points a gun at a neighbor’s head, steals his car, and threatens, “If you call the police, I know where you live…I’ll kill you.” Prison? Nope. Sentence stayed. He’s put back on the street. What happens next?

One day at a bus stop Shavelle Chavez-Nelson meets a beautiful, intelligent young lady, a honors student in college. Somebody who believes in the good in people. He tells her he’s a stockbroker. They date. He borrows thousands of dollars from her. He has another girlfriend. A guy talks to his other girlfriend. Shavelle Chavez-Nelson murders the guy for talking to his girlfriend. The poor college student who probably witnessed this and got involved with this piece of s***? You know the outcome.

People shouldn’t be frightened of new people. But if you have a daughter who meets a guy who is questionable, give some thought to running a background check on him. You’ll only need his name and address. Look for clues. Outside of New York, how many stockbrokers take busses? How many borrow money from their date?

If you’re in a relationship with somebody new, don’t lend them money. Don’t borrow money from them. If you find out they’re a criminal and they have “borrowed” money from you, you’ll  never get your money back anyway. At that point, I’d write it off and cease any contact with such a person. If they persist, call the police. Despite the goodness in your heart, if somebody lies to you about a criminal history and misrepresents their job, you won’t be able to help them “get their life back on track.”

Charlie Palmer -author, The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning (link to book on Amazon)

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Correction to last article. I wrote that no police officers were present when a SUV driver was assaulted by several bikers. I was wrong. There was at least one police officer riding with the bikers who witnessed the attack. He didn’t intervene. Other reports say anywhere from three to five off-duty police officers witnessed the attack but didn’t intervene! Somehow this is less reassuring to me than not having police present.

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