Window Security Strategies

sash_window_lockWindows are the second choice for burglars, but are often more vulnerable than doors. Windows are easily broken and difficult to protect. However, many thefts occur because windows are left unlocked or open. This saves a thief a lot of time and trouble, as well as being less noisy. Second floor windows are also vulnerable if they can be reached by a tree, ladder, or garage roof.

Safety tip: keep ladders locked up, you don't want to help a thief by supplying the tools to help him break in.

Homes and apartments have many types of windows. This Staying Safe article provides a few simple things you can do to increase your home's general window security.

 

Secure Windows That Can Be Crawled Through

I'm going to repeat this: many thefts occur because windows are left unlocked or open. Breaking glass is not an attractive measure for most burglars, they often won't opt for this measure because it makes noise and they could be injured. Therefore, you should secure any window large enough for an intruder to crawl through. Believe it or not, but this simple step will prevent many burglars from entering, and they will often go find an easier place to rip off. (Please note that this is for criminals looking for targets of opportunity and not someone who is specifically targeting a particular dwelling or resident.)

Cover Windows Up

Covering your windows with blinds, shades, or curtains so a potential thief cannot see inside is a simple way to prevent theft. If a burglar can look inside, they might see valuables that would entice them to break in. (Close mini-blinds tightly with slats up so if anyone does try to look inside they can only see the ceiling.)

Make Windows Hard To Get To

Planting thorny shrubs and bushes under your windows can make them less attractive to peer through or enter your dwelling through. Rose bushes won't just make your landscaping more attractive, but they can also be a great deterrent.

Install Window Locks

Key operated locks are probably the best locks. A criminal who doesn't want to break the glass could still cut a small piece with a glass cutter and reach through to unlock windows with more simple locks. Just be sure those inside know where the key is in case of an emergency if the window is a fire exit. I also recommend you have all your window locks keyed the same. In an emergency, you don't want to be trying to figure out which is the right key.

An option to help prevent an intruder using a glass cutter in the above fashion would be to replace the glass with laminated glass, special impact-resistant plastics, or assault-resistant film, like they use for some stores and school windows.

Safety tip: Install 3M Scotchshield, or something similar, on your ground floor windows or at least on your safe room windows.

Please note that locks will only slow a committed thief down. A determined criminal can still bypass these locks in different ways or just shatter the glass.

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Secure Windows With Nails Or Bolts

An easy way to make a window  that slides up and down more secure is to drill a hole through both sashes (The window frames) where they overlap while closed and insert a nail or bolt through them. You can also drill a hole through the sash frame and the track frame. Depending on how secure you want to make the window, you can place these nails all around the frame.

Another option is to drive nails or bolts into the window tracks to prevent the window from being raised high enough to admit an intruder. This may be a better option for those who want to open the window occasionally. It will be more secure if you put the stopping nails or bolts on both sides of the tracks. (You can buy locks that attach to windows to keep them from sliding. This is probably the best option for those who rent. Just costs a bit more than a nail.)

For sliding glass doors or windows, another option is putting a dowel or something similar in the track to prevent the door or window from sliding open.

Window Guards

One option to make your windows more secure is to install window guards or lockable folding metal screens. These can provide excellent security yet still allow residents emergency evacuation of the home. Just be sure to have the keys readily at hand. And as stated above, if you have more than one window guard, have them all keyed to the same key. You want to make is difficult for intruders to get in, but easy for you to get out in an emergency.

I know that window grills and bars are not attractive, and remind us of the dangers in the world. Unfortunately, in some areas they are the only answer. (Some are now made that are more attractive, so you don't have to make your home look like a prison.) There are a variety of accordion and scissor grilles that will provide protection without sealing off your escape route. You can research which types will fit your home or apartment.

Window-Guard

Secure Windows With Nails Or Bolts

An easy way to make a window  that slides up and down more secure is to drill a hole through both sashes (The window frames) where they overlap while closed and insert a nail or bolt through them. You can also drill a hole through the sash frame and the track frame. Depending on how secure you want to make the window, you can place these nails all around the frame.

Another option is to drive nails or bolts into the window tracks to prevent the window from being raised high enough to admit an intruder. This may be a better option for those who want to open the window occasionally. It will be more secure if you put the stopping nails or bolts on both sides of the tracks. (You can buy locks that attach to windows to keep them from sliding. This is probably the best option for those who rent. Just costs a bit more than a nail.)

For sliding glass doors or windows, another option is putting a dowel or something similar in the track to prevent the door or window from sliding open.

Window Guards

One option to make your windows more secure is to install window guards or lockable folding metal screens. These can provide excellent security yet still allow residents emergency evacuation of the home. Just be sure to have the keys readily at hand. And as stated above, if you have more than one window guard, have them all keyed to the same key. You want to make is difficult for intruders to get in, but easy for you to get out in an emergency.

I know that window grills and bars are not attractive, and remind us of the dangers in the world. Unfortunately, in some areas they are the only answer. (Some are now made that are more attractive, so you don't have to make your home look like a prison.) There are a variety of accordion and scissor grilles that will provide protection without sealing off your escape route. You can research which types will fit your home or apartment.

Window Decals

Window decals will deter some criminals. Burglars don't want to test if you have an alarm system or not, especially with so many silent alarms. Place generic window decals in a corner where an intruder will most likely see it. (Hopefully the criminal can read, but even if he can't, most have some kind of symbol or image that conveys the message that the property is protected.) Corners of the house where people pass, near or on the front door, and windows near or on the back door are often good locations. The criminal has to see the sticker for it to deter him.

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Close And Lock Your Windows

It doesn't matter how good your window locks are if you forget to use them. The best window locks in the world are useless if not used. So remember to always use those window locks when securing your home or workplace before leaving or when you want to be more safe inside.

Here are a few resources on Home Security that I use:

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