According to police reports, 1/3 of all 'break-in and entry' crimes involve entry through windows. This article discusses methods that will increase the security level of your windows.
One of the key concepts in home security is keeping all possible entry points at a consistent security level. Never leave weak points around your home perimeter, a burglar will know how to recognize and exploit them easily. Most homeowners invest large sums of money in protecting their doors, but often fail to properly protect the windows.
If you don't want to invest large sums of money in special security windows here are some easy to do and inexpensive methods that will help you protect your windows.
Window Film: Inexpensive Window Security
The first method is adding film to your windows. Films are transparent polyester strips (PET) placed one on top the other. The strips are glued to each other and to the window using strong transparent acrylic glue. These structure qualities enable the window film, when glued properly, to be a remarkably effective protection device. Any attempt to shatter a glass protected by window film will be difficult.
Window film can easily bear the pressure of a series of intensive strikes by rods, hammers and rocks. Since window film is a very efficient method for window protection, we advise using it on all the ground floor perimeter windows. Use window film to protect doors designed with glass, especially glass placed in proximity to locks. Window films also have the added environmental benefit of reducing the UV level in your home.
Window Locks for Better Window Protection
Ensuring that your window locks are visible from the outside is another simple and common sense method of preventing burglars from breaking in. A locked window indicates to the burglar that he will not be able to enter the house easily. He will have to smash the window and cause a racket in the neighborhood, increasing his chances of getting caught. If the visibility of a window lock is blocked by a curtain or a 'bric-a-brac' decoration make sure to move them away from the lock.
Do not leave the key in its keyhole under any circumstance. If you do not have a multi-point locking system protecting your perimeter windows, including skylights, balconies and basement windows or any other accessible areas install a window lock. Do not install locks in windows designed to be fire escapes.
Window Types and Tips for Improving Protection
Any good home security should be tailored to meet your specific needs. Below you'll find tips for how to better protect your windows depending on the type of windows you have.
Patio doors that lack a multipoint locking system can be protected with other means. You can simply install two sliding door locks on the top and bottom sides of the window. This will yield a security effect similar to that of a multipoint system. This method will also insure that the window is not lifted out of its frame. Make sure that the frame is tightly fixed in its place.
French windows with exposed hinges on the outside are easily breached, as the exposed hinges can be removed with a screwdriver. To secure exposed hinges it is necessary to mount the tenon into its mortise in a manner that the joint hinge cannot be easily removed.
Louvers are difficult to secure. The slates tend to be light and thin and they are easily broken or pulled out. Most louvers, especially those that can spin horizontally, have weak connections. Our advice is to glue them to the frame or better yet - attach them to the base with another screw. Louvers used in technical floors should be kept intact and alternative security solutions must be considered.
To prevent the windows from being lifted out of their track simply install a screw into the upper window track above the window. Make sure that the window has enough space to slide freely. Do not insert the screw on the side of the window facing the yard. Drill two holes, one on each side of the track so that the window is safely covered above at both sides.
Use screws shorter than the tracks width. Old windows without multipoint lock systems can be improved by installing two external sliding locks on the top and bottom frames.
Laminated glass is a good solution for protecting ground floor windows. Similar to window film it prevents the window from shattering to pieces. Laminated glass is durable and can resist attacks caused by baseballs, rocks, etc. If you're considering new windows, order them with lamination in advance. Make sure the laminated side is on the windows inner surface.
Windows with hinges, or casement windows, lock with a simple latch, are easy to improve. Once the window and latch are closed you can drill a hole through the handle and frame. Insert a metal pin with a hole fitting a small padlock on one side and a small bolt on the other.
Double Hung Windows
Double hung windows are protected easily. By drilling a hole that penetrates both frames when closed. You create a small cavity big enough for a screw or nail. This prevents burglars from lifting the window from the outside. For ventilation you can simply drill another cavity above the first one.
Doors with Windows
Doors with windows should be treated as regular windows. Consider using window film or special laminated glass for protection. If you are using a single cylinder deadbolt lock, replace it with a double cylinder. You do not want burglars breaking your door window and simply opening the door from the outside.
Once replaced, never leave the key hanging in its keyhole. For fire safety reasons, hang the key on a wall near by so that it is accessible in case of emergency, but make sure it is still out of reach from the outside.