By Candie Terry
Locks are a significant part of protecting your home, your loved ones and possessions. There was a time when most felt safe leaving their doors unlocked. Times have changed, and so has the need to use locks for protection and to seek better locking technology for homes and businesses. According to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), burglars look for homes that are easy targets. More than ever, locks are the most critical element in protecting your home.
Not all locks are created equally. As you shop at your local hardware store, you may be overwhelmed with the options. Here are some things you should consider when buying a lock:
Key Control: If you give your keys to anyone else, even for a short time, will they be able to make a copy without your knowledge or permission? Be sure to understand how easily this can happen and protect yourself by using locks and keys that are protected by a patent and carry the appropriate certifications. How often do you give your keys to other people? Consider the babysitter, the gardener, neighbors, friends, family and how easily they might duplicate a key for convenience and forget to tell you. Keep a list of everyone you give a copy of your keys to.
Physical Strength: How well will the lock withstand abuse such as kicking or jimmying? In addition to strong locks, the strike plate needs to have reinforcement to the door frame with 2 to 3-inch screws. When searching for a truly secure lock, always look for locks that provide protection against drilling or picking. Some locks have bolts made of hardened material or have hardened inserts to protect against sawing the bolt.
Durability: Will the lock stand up to years of use without failing or becoming difficult to operate? Locks are categorized as Grade 1 to 3, with Grade 1 being the highest in terms of function and material integrity.
Be sure to put a deadbolt on the door between your garage and home. Windows and sliding glass doors should also be secured with locking hardware.
No lock is 100 percent guaranteed, but you can reduce the likelihood of a break-in by fitting all exterior doors with deadbolt locks and strike plates. Also, make sure you're using these locks while you’re at home and away.