DIY Personal Security: Locks and Deadbolts

It should go without saying that your door and window locks should be the first thing you think of when you make the decision to do some DIY personal security improvements. As your first line of defense, they are going to greatly determine how easy or difficult your home is to break into. crime-89679921According to studies, it only takes burglars under 60 seconds on average to break into a home. How do you think they do that? Do you think it’s through an elaborate scheme of cutting wires and breaking windows? In truth, it’s actually usually through the front door. With a few simple tools, a little wiggling, and a click! they’re inside in no time.

One of the best things you can do for your home’s defenses is to update and improve your locks. Old-fashioned  handle locks are some of the easiest to pick out there, so if that’s all you have, it may be time to think about making some improvements. Here will give you a quick overview of some of the DIY options you have for improving your locks.


Because of the frailty of most handle locks, most outside doors in a home come equipped with one-cylinder thumb-turn deadbolts attached to them. These deadbolts have a thumb turn on the inside that locks or unlocks the deadbolt, which when locked is thrust into a hole in the doorframe, making it difficult to force the door open. The main fault of this kind of deadbolt is that the thumb turn makes the deadbolt so easy to lock and unlock from the inside. A burglar could get the door open by, say, breaking the door window, slipping his hand inside, and turning the thumb turn to unlock the door. This is why there are two-cylinder and lockable thumb-turn deadbolts available. Two-cylinder deadbolts require a key in order to lock or unlock the bolt from either inside or outside, but this can unfortunately pose a problem in the event of an emergency. Lockable thumb-turn deadbolts come equipped with a thumb turn on the inside but also have the ability to lock the thumb turn from the inside with a key.890771_56902558 This way, the thumb turn can remain unlocked while people are in the house and can be locked while away. Deadbolts are certainly a great start to strengthening your locks.

Jimmy Proof Deadbolts

These kinds of deadbolts tend to be a bit heavier  duty than regular thumb-turn deadbolts, and they come with the convenience of being quite easy to install. Unlike traditional deadbolts, these kinds are simply installed to the surface of the door. They come with a thumb turn or key option and the cylinders slide vertically through the rings attached to the doorframe. Because this kind of deadbolt is installed to the inside surface of the door, it’s impossible to pick from the outside, and its jamb bracket makes it difficult to force. The disadvantage to this kind of deadbolt is that it can’t be locked or unlocked from the outside.

Slide Bolts

Slide bolts may seem as old-fashioned as your handle locks, but in this case, old-fashioned  works. Believe it or not, a good heavy duty slide bolt can be an extremely effective defense when your other locks fail. The trick is not to install them to the side of the door, but rather to the base of the door. If installed on the side of the door, the jamb bracket can be more easily forced out of the door frame. If you install a heavy duty slide bolt to the base of your door, you don’t need a jamb bracket – all you need is a drilled hole for the bolt to slide into, and you’ve made your door completely not worth it for any criminal trying to force his way in. The other great advantage to slide bolts is that you can install them onto sliding doors as well. With your sliding door closed, install one on the top to engage into a hole drilled in the top slide, and install one on the bottom to engage into a hole in the bottom slide. This also prevents your door from being easily pulled out of its slide. The main disadvantage to slide bolts is that they must all be manually engaged.