As dumb as it might seem, intruders don’t actually try to find discreet ways to enter homes most of the time. Instead, they take the extremely obvious route and try to walk right in the front door.
While that might be somewhat humorous when you think about the logic behind it, it does mean you need to take some extra precautions with your front door’s security, after all, it’s the most likely to face attempted breaches.
How do you do that, though? It’s a door. It’s pretty simple, right? You’ve got a deadbolt and a knob lock. That’s enough, right?
Wrong. There are actually some really good ways to improve your front door security far beyond just the stock locks it came with, and while the majority of doors are pretty strong, every bit of extra security is worthwhile.
We’re going to go over 7 ways to improve your front door security. None of them are overly difficult or expensive, and they should be accessible to most people.
Let’s get started.
1: Get a High-Quality Door
First and foremost, your door will automatically be more secure just by being made to higher quality standards. Regardless of which material you want your door to be, shell out a little extra cash for one that is made well, with quality materials and good features, and you won’t have to worry about someone using extremely basic intrusion methods to get in.
Plus, the door will last longer through everyday use, too. So, you get a better product all around, and it’s not just a security measure. One of the best high-quality doors you can get to improve your front door security are iron doors.
2: Chain Locks
This old security method still works, and it’s highly recommended. These are the little chains that are bolted on the indoor portion of the door while a latch is bolted to the frame. When you attach the chain to the latch, the door can’t be pushed open.
This gives you a couple of benefits. While keeping your door secure, you can still crack the door to communicate with people who are knocking. So, if you’re not sure you want to talk to that person, or you have personal things going on inside of your home and don’t want them peeking around, you can peek outside, tell them to come back later, and the whole time, you’re not at risk of them just pushing past you.
On top of that, it’s another layer of security that can’t be “picked”. No part of a chain lock is accessible from outside. A thief might be able to pick your knob lock or your deadbolt, but that won’t work with a chain.
That’s not to say these locks are invincible. If a particularly strong individual rams the door, it is possible for them to break the chain or rip one of the bolted-on attachment points out of the door. Granted, that would require them to be stronger than your average thief, and even if they could, the chain lock might buy you enough time to secure yourself in another room and call for help.
While not the be-all-end-all of security, this very small, easy-to-install, and cheap addition does add plenty of functionality.
3: Porch Camera
These security cameras attach right to your front door, and they record all the activity going on, on your porch or elsewhere within the camera’s view such as in your front yard. These come in a variety of price ranges. So, there are options available to everyone. However, we recommend getting something that is at least in the mid-range of the pricing spectrum. If you go too cheap, your camera might not be reliable.
These cameras help add security to your front entrance in three ways.
First, just seeing a camera tends to frighten off most thieves. They might walk up on your porch, notice they’re caught on camera, pretend to be at the wrong house, and walk away. The average thief isn’t going to know they’re on camera and still try to break in.
Then, you have to consider the fact that they help you identify people who do try to get in. Maybe they didn’t notice the camera, or maybe they were just so determined they didn’t care. It doesn’t matter, you’ll have caught them on camera, and when it’s time to make a police report, you can use that as evidence to get justice.
Finally, if you buy a good camera, it can notify you or the police instantly if someone tries to break in. Some cameras are set up with a subscription plan to automatically notify your local police if certain parameters are met, such as someone forcing the door open, stealing packages off your porch if a human monitor happens to check in for strange activity when it happens, etc. However, most will notify you directly. If the camera is picking up strange activity, it will typically send a notification to your phone, and you can check the live feed of the camera. At that point, you’re able to make a decision about whether or not to call the police.
There are pros and cons to each of those alert types. For instance, if the camera calls the police, it might end up calling them for things they really don’t need to respond to. Such as an overzealous delivery driver chucking a package at your door and tripping an alarm. However, police response is guaranteed. With systems that you have to check and take responsibility for, you might miss the notification. However, your teen trying to get in late at night won’t end up with a surprise visit from the police department.
Either way, this is one of the top security additions you can add. Besides, you can see who’s at the door without bothering to get up. Who doesn’t like that?
4: Get an Iron Door
This is one a lot of people in the modern world haven’t thought of, but get an iron door. Iron doors have been used for centuries, and they were dominant in the Victorian era. While wood and steel have taken over in the modern day due to how easy they are to produce, iron is still an amazing option that outperforms both of them.
Not only that, but they’re far more secure.
Steel doors are often hollow. While they are incredibly strong, it’s fairly easy to bust holes in them with the right tools if you need to. Only the most determined intruders with serious motives are going to attempt that, but it’s possible. Wood doors are more susceptible than that. Let’s say you live in a rural area where noise isn’t a concern, and the intruder knows you’re leaving. With the right battery-operated power tool, they don’t have to worry about your locks at all.
With iron, that’s in no way the case. They’re not using power tools on it without burning their tools out, they aren’t going to use brute force against it without hurting themselves, and at the end of the day, you get a really elegant door.
Just make sure you buy the best iron front doors to make sure you get something you can rely on.
5: Get High-Security Locks
Lock salesmen won’t typically tell you this, but the majority of standard locks are useless on most doors. Thieves, without any experience at all, can go on Amazon, but a lockpicking kit perfectly legally rakes one of the picks through your door lock, and within seconds. They don’t even have to be experienced or use the lockpick properly. Most doors have deadbolts to prevent this, but even those can be easy to bypass for thieves with a little bit of experience.
To prevent this, you really need to invest in some high-quality locks. High-security locks have far more complex tumblers, and they’re meant specifically to not only counter the “easy pick” lockpicks but to also delay experienced lockpickers for so long that they get up and walk away.
When it comes down to it, that’s actually a lock’s job, to make thieves waste time until they give up. Given plenty of time, an experienced lockpicker can pick almost anything, but when they’re committing crimes, they don’t have the time to do that.
When looking for high-security locks, don’t just fall for marketing hype. Find a few good options, and then look online to see what locksmiths and hobbyist lockpickers think. Hobbyist lockpickers are people who enjoy the challenge of picking locks, but they don’t break into people’s property or break the law. They often make YouTube videos to help educate the public and hopefully help them keep malicious criminals out.
If a lock is suggested by one of those guys, you know you can trust it.
6: Door Alarm
We covered porch cameras that sometimes have this function already, but it’s still worth talking about traditional, yet modernized, door alarms.
Let’s say you don’t have a porch camera, or the camera you do have doesn’t contact the police, and it instead sends you a notification. You’re at work, and you have your phone turned off. You don’t get the notification until hours after the person has gotten into your home and pillaged the place.
In that situation, a door alarm can be perfect. See, a door alarm is basically always going to be part of a home security service, and when the alarm is tripped, without a code being put in within a brief period, the police are notified. The sound of the alarm by itself is typically enough to send thieves running before they can take anything, and if it doesn’t, the police will put a stop to them thanks to automatic notifications.
You might be wondering why you wouldn’t just get a porch camera with that built-in then, right? Well, keep in mind that the porch camera can be triggered by a number of things. A door alarm is only going to go off if you set it when you want it active, and then only if the connection between the door and the alarm is broken by the door opening. Someone knocking aggressively, or your teen banging into the door while getting rough on the porch won’t notify the police.
So, if you combine a porch camera to catch the person’s image and notify you when they’re there, with a door alarm that contacts the police if your door is actually opened, you’ll have a pretty reliable security system without all the annoying side effects we’ve talked about.
7: Ensure Your Locks are Installed Properly
Finally, this one is completely free, and it just takes a moment to check. Did you know that something as little as installing a lock pin backward can give thieves instant access to your home without any special tools? The inside of a lock pin is curved, and if that curved side is aiming outside, slipping a credit card between the door and the frame can push the lock open. That works on knob locks that are installed improperly.
Improperly installed deadbolts can also have their lock pin pushed back in with ease.
Speak to a qualified locksmith to have them check your locks and ensure that they’re properly installed. If not, they could be making your home vulnerable.
If you have other sorts of locks, they need to be installed properly, too. Chain locks should only be bolted to solid doors, high-security locks and extra deadbolts both have height requirements, and all of the electronic options listed, while not actually locks, have their own requirements.
Not to mention, if you get too out of hand with your door’s security, such as adding a bunch of random locks, you don’t really make it harder for thieves to get in, but you make it extremely dangerous for you to get out in the case of a fire or an intruder getting in from another entryway with malicious intent.
Call a Locksmith
Finally, if you really want to secure your front entrance, start by getting a strong door like an iron door, use our 7 ways to improve your front door security, and then call a locksmith to have them provide ample security that is backed by their experience and knowledge of locking mechanisms.