- Home Security
With the smash-in described in our earlier blog post, the telephone could be vital. However, it is soon neutralised by cutting the wires, which is frequently done. If the wires enter from outside, as most do, some consideration should be given to protecting them. Just how this is done will depend on the way the cable is rundown the wall from its anchoring point on the eaves, and the type of wall surface. For flat surfaces, it could be easily covered by galvanised metal capping such as used for mains cables, fixed to the wall.
Rough stone surfaces, being uneven, would be more difficult. Alternatively, if the down drop was over a front garden, it could be hidden by a bush, preferably a rose which would present a thorny problem to any would-be tamperers!
As we have seen, many owners make the mistake of fortifying the front of the premises to a high state of impenetrability but have only the most rudimentary protection at the rear. This is in spite of the fact that a break-in at the back of the premises is far more likely. Burglars are well aware of this quirk, which suits them well because they much prefer to enter at the rear. It is usually less public than the front, so they stand far less chance of being observed.
Rear doors should be of substantial construction and fitted with deadlocks plus lockable bolts top and bottom. These should be secured at all times, even when the premises are occupied, unless access is needed for loading or other essential purposes.
To prevent use as an exit route and for removal of bulky items, the rear doors should be secured so that it cannot be opened from the inside without a key. Often, simple draw bolts are fitted and the keys left in the locks in the belief that their only function is to keep burglars out.
The lockable bolts mentioned are commonly known as rack bolts, and the can be either mortice or surface fitting. A common key fits any bolt of the same type and so enables a number of rack bolts to be used without the inconvenience of needing a key for each. This means that they are not by themselves high security devices, and should always be used in conjunction with a deadlock. However, the intruder would only encounter them when he’s inside and it’s unlikely that he would have a suitable key with him. The greater the number of devices securing a door the stronger it is, and the harder and more trouble it is to break open.
Mortice rack bolts require only a small hole in the wood to receive them, so there is little weakening of the door. A version designed for windows is shorter than the door type so that it can be accommodated in a narrow window frame. A second smaller hole intersecting the first at right angles is required for the key.
Surface rack bolts are fitted when it is not possible to use a mortice bolt. All the screws are concealed once the device is fitted, and it has the advantage that it can be bolted manually without a key, although of course the key is necessary to draw it.
Most doors swing inwards, but any exterior door opening outwards is vulnerable to attack to the hinges, as the hinge pin is exposed on the opening side. It is not too difficult to remove the pin, whereupon the door can be simply lifted away. Fire doors and those fitted to some outbuildings are usually outward opening, so that these constitute a major security hazard.
The solution is quite simple, and takes the form of what are known as hinge or dog bolts. These consist of a recess plate and engaging lug which are fitted to the frame and door, respectively, on the hinge side. A set should be fitted to both the top and the bottom of the door. When the door is closed, the log engages with the recess, so that the door cannot be lifted out if the hinge pin is removed. Even with inward opening doors, door bolts can be fitted to reinforce the hinges against a forced entry, especially if there are some doubts as to the strength of the hinges. The beauty of them is that once fitted the need no further attention, and as they engage automatically they do not create inconvenience in use.