Deadbolt Dangers


By Catalina Trivino

How safe are you when you lock your door?
You might think simply having a deadbolt lock will keep burglars out, but you may want to take another look at how the lock was installed and how you're using it. You may want to also think about how you shopped for it in the first place.

Here's something to think about -- there were more than 2,500 home break-ins last year in Montgomery County and another 1,058 this year, which means an aerage of about six break-ins a day. And many times, the deadbolt lock is what criminals target first.




Authorities say this is how it all begins -- tolling through neighborhoods, spotting the right yard, the right home.

"Normally they'll knock on the door. Nobody comes to the door they'll wait around for a while," Said Montgomery County Chief Deputy, Derrick Cunningham.

That's when the burglar breaks in.

Mary Margaret Kyser's home was hit late last month.She says burglars came through the back and stole about $30,000 worth of items.

"Done all gone through the house and then they came out. It appears they left some guns, but they tried to get into the storage house, but they couldn't get in because the storage house has all kinds of equipment... but it had very good locks," Said Kyser.

And It happens more often then you'd think. Montgomery County and city records show there have been 1,058 break-ins so far this year. More frightening than the numbers -- Cunningham says usually the doors are locked and a deadbolt is installed.

Here is the problem -- the door shaft has to be at least an inch and a quarter in length, according to David Burgans, who has been installing locks for more than 40 years.

He recommends framing up your door with a 2 by 6 or putting two 2 by 4's together.

Otherwise, Holly Jeffers with Furlongs Security in Montgomery says a few well-placed kicks or a standard cordless drill is all it'll take to defeat most locks.

While any lock can be compromised, Jeffers says it's all about delay. Still, any dead-bolt lock is better than the common key-in-knob variety.

Burgans showed us just how quickly someone can enter your home -- it took him three seconds using a credit card.

But the key to it all is knowing how to shop for your locks and deadbolts.

Jeffers says it's not always smart to look for the cheapest lock because you may find several people out there who have the same key to your home.

She says box stores will place multiple locks on display and many of them have the same key. We tested it out ourselves by using the same lock with different keys and found three locks that matched.

"Basically what happens is these other department stores that you go to buy locks from they do them in bulk. And what that means is you'll have about 8 to 10 locks that will all be keyed the same," Said Jeffers, who is the Service Coordinator at Furlong's Security. "So when you're going into the store and grabbing a lockset off of the shelf, you don't realize that the five or six behind that is probably also keyed up to your key."

The bottom line? When it comes to locks and deadbolts... wherever they're sold, you get what you pay for.

And when it comes to securing your home, it's one gamble you don't want to take...

"It was like as the days wore on, I had a lot more emotion. I knew to be thankful, but at the same time, I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream," Said Kyser.

"It takes no time. You got to really look at the set up on your door to be able to prevent somebody from being able to see an easy target," Said Cunningham.

But it's a preventable target -- locksmiths we spoke with say the safest solution is to invest in a lock that requires a a custom key that cannot be duplicated.

"You've got about six or seven other locks out there that might possibly have the same key that's keyed up to your house," Said Jeffers.

A possible key to danger when people risk security for convenience.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office recommends using a double-key deadbolt lock, but incase of a fire emergency you should have it somewhere accessible.

Deputies also recommend installing a door that opens to the outside, so burglars can't kick the door in. And when it comes to getting the right lock for your home, you should consult a licensed locksmith to find which on the market will best suit your needs.


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