Owning a property is a significant investment. It requires not only your time and money, but it also forces you to consider all kinds of potential threats. Every property owner wants to protect their investment, and that requires further investments into security. But what should property owners be concerned with? And how should they deal with these risks? The keys to unlocking better security are here.
- Unlocked Doors are an Invitation to Burglars
Many property owners worry about surreptitious entry to their buildings. Most often there is a concern about how easy locks are to pick, but that is rarely how a burglar will attempt to gain entry. They will begin by simply seeing if the doors are locked. Often criminals pose as door-to-door salesmen and commit their burglaries during the day. An overwhelming amount of burglaries are perpetrated against residential homes, and the majority of those happen during the day. During the day many people are away from the home either at work or running errands. A criminal knocks on the door and/or rings the doorbell to check if anyone is there, or if a dog starts barking. If there is no response, they simply turn the knob. If you or your renters forgot to lock the door, the burglar is coming in. They will always take the path of least resistance, so it is important to always lock your doors.
- Double-Sided Deadbolts Can Be an Emergency Hazard
A solution to having glass on or near a door lock is to install a double-sided deadbolt. In order to lock or unlock this device, the key will be needed. This prevents a perpetrator from smashing your glass, reaching in, and unlocking your door. Unfortunately, this type of lock also creates an emergency hazard for anyone inside the structure. These doors cannot be opened quickly, and any lock that must be opened with a key in an emergency is dangerous. The key cannot be stored near the door, as that would defeat the purpose of using a double-sided deadbolt, so you are relying on everyone to have a key to that door on his or her person during an emergency. This is a surefire way to incur injuries and even deaths on your property. Make sure that all emergency plans treat doors with double sided deadbolts as walls. These are not exits during an emergency.
- Front Doors Are a Criminal’s Favorite Entrance
Something about human psychology leaves everyone wanting to enter through the front door. Even burglars are not immune to the urge to enter through the threshold of a building. For that reason, it is important to focus your security on your front door. This should be the most secure part of your home. As mentioned in #1, any criminal will begin by checking to see if you are using your security. When you are, the next step for a burglar is to force their way in. This will always be an attempt to get in as fast as possible. Often the perpetrator will try to kick the door in, which is easy to do in most homes. If there is glass, they will smash the glass and attempt to reach through to open the door. If there is glass around you doors refer to #2. In the case of kicking attack, you can replace the standard screws for your strike plate and door hinges with 3-inch screws. Then add a metal slip cover over your lock hardware, and the door will stand up to enough kicks to send most criminals running for the hills.
- Residents Increase or Decrease Crime
Whether it is your long-term tenants or your neighbors, the people around the property drive crime and disaster risks. Courteous neighbors and renters go a long way towards keeping your property safe. Awareness and pride in your neighborhood make residents take a special interest in uninvited guests and strangers. This increase in suspicion results in a higher chance of third party intervention, and/or if the crime cannot be prevented, identification of the suspect. On the other side of this issue, an ingrained criminal element in the community can create many dangers. Seedy individuals have friends with similar proclivities, and they are not afraid to burn bridges in a neighborhood that they do not live in. Besides bad people, negligence on the part of renters and neighbors can result in man-made fires, floods, etc.
- Loose Spare Keys Create Many Threats
Every key to a property should be known to the owner and accounted for. If you have trusted anyone with a spare key, make sure that they are not making copies. Even if they are making them with good intentions, the more keys that exist, the greater your risk for unauthorized entry. The most obvious concern with spare keys is that they will be used by unscrupulous individuals to commit theft or other crimes inside your property. That is a realistic fear to have, but you should also be concerned with past tenants, and anyone who had a key, which was then taken back. You can duplicate keys no matter what, even if they have a ‘DO NOT DUPLICATE’ engraving. Only patent protected keys cannot be cut at a hardware store. Beyond just a fear of someone gaining access to one property, if you use a master key system across several properties, they are all at risk. With one functioning key and a master keyed lock, the master can be decoded.
- No Property Manager Means No Back Up
A property manager helps with the overall effectiveness of your security. It is like having a good neighbor always watching out for you and your property. A paid worker that is enlisted to make certain that the house is maintained will allow you some peace of mind. It is the property manager’s jobto keep the security, and all other aspects of the property, running smoothly. They will coordinate with renters and handle any type of dispute or issue with security functionality. In order to take some of the weight off your own back, and assure that you have not missed anything potentially threatening or dangerous, it is a smart idea to hire a property manager.
Now that you know the different security concerns, you must take the time to check that you are protected. This may mean talking to renters, roommates, neighbors, and even investing in some better security. Consider what might harm your property, and take the steps to ensure that nothing happens to you or the people around you.
Ralph Goodman is a professional writer and the resident expert on locks and security over at the Lock Blog. The Lock Blog is a great resource to learn about keys, locks and safety. They offer tips, advice and how-to’s for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.
Cardinal Point Property Management is available to help you in all aspects of Property Management & Leasing, and services most areas within 25 miles of Portsmouth, NH (including ME & MA)
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