A deadbolt lock is a basic element of home security.
There are many things you can do to boost home security, such as adding an alarm system or getting a guard dog, but unless you have working deadbolt locks and actually use them, your home isn’t secure.
A deadbolt is a type of lock with a steel bolt that extends into the door jamb and strike plate of a door frame. The most common type is the single-cylinder deadbolt, operated by a twist knob on the inside of the door and a key on the outside. Some people prefer the double-cylinder deadbolt, which doesn’t have a twist knob and requires a key for operation both inside and outside the home.
Many burglaries are forced-entry
According to the latest FBI statistics, there were 1.9 million burglaries in the United States in 2013, resulting in $4.5 billion in property loss. Out of all burglaries, 59 percent were the result of forced entry. Residential burglaries accounted for 74 percent of all burglaries, and a majority occurred during the daytime.
For the deadbolt to function properly, the bolt must extend fully into the hole on the door jamb. The hole should be reinforced with a metal strike plate. If the bolt doesn’t extend all the way into the hole or if a strike plate isn’t used, the lock and door frame can be compromised.
Even if you have a deadbolt lock on your door, it won’t make a difference if it’s not used regularly. Many homeowners find it easier to lock the doorknob and often neglect to lock the deadbolt.
Single- and double-cylinder deadbolts
Homeowners should take note that a single-cylinder deadbolt can be breached if an entry door has glass panels, because a burglar can break the glass and reach inside to unlatch the deadbolt. A double-cylinder deadbolt will protect against this. However, the double-cylinder deadbolt can be problematic in the event of a house fire because a key is required to unlock the door from the inside.
Another solution may simply be to replace the door itself. Many exterior doors are designed with security in mind, using reinforced glass or small windows far enough away from the lock to prevent a burglar from reaching in.