The door kick-in is a commonly used tactic used by opportunistic burglars. It’s quicker than lock picking and helps crooks to get in and out in the fastest time possible. On average, a housebreaker spends no longer than 8-12 minutes inside a residence. Ideally, you want doors that can’t have their locks picked or their doors kicked in. The reality, however, is quite different. So how can strike plates help? Keep reading to find out how this simple, low-tech solution can work for you.
A lot of folks who think they’ve got pretty good security measures in place are in fact quite vulnerable. According to the FBI, there’s a staggering 1.1 million residential burglaries each year. There are probably many more that go unreported. And here’s something you may not know: four out of every five homes broken into have alarms installed. It’s because a housebreaker can easily kick in a weak door, grab some goodies, and escape before the police even arrive. This is why we talk about security layers on this site, and never suggest that one security precaution can protect against all crimes.
It’s the purpose of this article to help you better understand the importance of entrance door defense, as this is the first step in home security. Here we look at how to reinforce your door to help prevent burglars from entering into your private space.
#1 A Strike Plate Defined
A quality strike plate is made of heavy duty metal and attached to a doorjamb. It has a hole or holes to allow for the door’s bolt(s). The doorjamb, or doorpost, is the vertical section of your doorframe that secures the door. Once the door is closed shut, the door’s bolt extends into the strike plate hole(s) and keeps it locked tight. With the right strike plate, you get to strengthen your door thus protecting it against kick-ins. You also need to have a strong deadbolt, one that works in harmony with the strike plate, so be sure to check that.
Not all strike plates are equal, and some offer little to no real protection against a door kicker. A quality strike plate is a low-tech, affordable investment that helps to better secure your entrance doors. Avoid thin strike plates and those made of reinforced plastic as they’re not as good. For the strike plate to be most effective, you need screws that are three inches in length, no shorter.
#2 Why Replace a Strike Plate
Almost all doors, and certainly entrance doors, already have a strike plate, so why upgrade? The answer is simple—better door security. Kick-in burglaries often occur because of weak or poorly fitted strike plates. Like all security measures, this is just another layer. There’s little point to having an excellent deadbolt and the best strike plate if the door jams, hinges, door and door frames are weak. If you’re unsure, get a door technician to assess your doors, especially the main entrance.
#3 How Strike Plates Work
The deadbolt strike plate is your best option. Alas, it’s all too often the forgotten half of a door lock, but it shouldn’t be. The main function of this simple plate is to secure the door and protect you, your loved ones and your possessions against intruders. It functions as an anchor point, a way to reinforce the door frame by engaging the deadbolt and keeping the door locked tight. If your deadbolt lock is high quality and attached to a decent door, there’s very little chance an intruder will get into your home using brute force. If they do get in, the weakness will likely be with the doorframe.
With a traditional strike plate, a simple door latch springs into its hole to keep it closed. The latch, in this case, keeps the door in the shut position; it does not secure the door against home invasion. Therefore, your entrance doors need a good quality deadbolt lock, not a latch. The majority of deadbolts are one inch long (25.4mm). This heavy duty one-inch bolt extends into the door frame, anchored firmly in place by the deadbolt strike plate. Even a heavy duty strike plate is of little use if the screws used are too short. Although installation is pretty straightforward, it does require precision and a little knowhow to get it right. If in doubt, get someone to do it for you. It’s not a long job, and at least you can relax when you know you have a proper fitting.
#4 Doors that Benefit from Deadbolt Strike Plates
Your entrance doors are where most burglars try to get in, so this is where you want to fit heavy duty deadbolt strike plates. If you live in a house, you will likely have two or more entrance points. Make sure you reinforce them all. Burglars will always try the main entrance first, and then move on to side and back doors if they can’t get in at the front. Both door and window security is crucial, but a housebreaker will opt for doors every time given the opportunity. The reason is that breaking glass makes too much noise and therefore potentially attracts too much unwanted attention. Windows are slower than door kick-ins too. They’re also more dangerous as the crook has to navigate around broken glass. You still need to take window security seriously, but make doors your first priority, especially the main entrance.
#5 Why Upgrade to Deadbolt Strike plates
Deadbolt strike plates offer the best protection for your doors. Upgrade to deadbolt strike plates on your all entrance doors if you don’t already have them. If you do have them but they’re too thin or made of reinforced plastic, still replace them with better ones. Be sure to check other areas of door security too, like frame and locks.
#6 Who Benefits from Deadbolt Strike Plates
There are two considerations when it comes to deadbolt strike plates. One is that they offer an extra layer of quality door security for anyone. Even if you live in a low crime area, you’re still vulnerable to a break in, especially if your home security is lax. Complacency is never a good thing in these situations. The other benefit from having heavy duty strike plates is priceless. If you haven’t guessed it yet, it’s the additional peace of mind you get by knowing you have secured your entrance doors as best you can. And finally, to get the full benefit of these impressive low tech solutions, get a qualified door technician to fit them for you if DIY is not your thing.