Step by step how to reinforce Door Locks

Don’t let the idea of reinforcing your house’s doors intimidate you. Here is step by step instruction on installing new stronger locks.

2HYour House’s Door Parts Inventory

  • Any door without a deadbolt gets a deadbolt, which should be a grade 1 or 2.
  • Are the screws of any existing deadbolts tight?
  • If you open the door and turn the knob, the deadbolt’s throw-bolt will pop out the side of the door. It should be at least one inch and appear secure.
  • The screws in the strike plates and deadbolts should be at least three inches.

Deadbolt Replacement

  • Chances are, your inferior deadbolt is held by four screws total.
  • Take the measurement of the distance between the center of the cylinder hole and the edge of the door. Write these down; you’ll need them for your new deadbolt.
  • Notate the horizontal and vertical center of the new hole.
  • Now drill, and slowly. Then test out the deadbolt. You may have to make refinements to the hole if the deadbolt doesn’t fit perfectly.
  • Before attaching the deadbolt, see if the attached throw-bolt strike plate has a flush fit.
  • Do not use a power drill to put in the screws, as this could strip the wood.

Lockset Strike Plate Replacement

  • Your new strike plate should be attached with three inch screws.
  • If the hole, through which you’re driving the screws, is too small, you’ll need to drill it out for a good fit.
  • The screws should be slightly angled to catch the framing.

Deadbolt Strike Plate Replacement

  • Your new deadbolt, upon purchase, will come with a strike plate. A very sturdy strike plate requires four screws.
  • Mark the old deadbolt strike plate’s center.
  • The new faceplate will be temporarily put in so that you can mark its position.
  • After taking out the plate, make sure that the holes through which you’ll be drilling screws will fit the screws. You may need to make adjustments to enlarge the holes.
  • Using a wood chisel, remove the wood so that the faceplate and strike box fit.
  • You’re now ready to mount the plate and box, using four screws of three inch length.

Installing strong locks is just one step in the process. However, I must say this: Kicking in a typical house door is a lot easier than reinforcing your door to make it kick-in-proof. A burglar needn’t be a karate expert or soccer player to kick open a locked door that’s inadequately secured.  Watch this video “Anti-Kick door reinforcement” on how to secure your doors with door jam reinforcement technology.

Robert Siciliano is a home and personal security expert to DoorDevil.com. Disclosures.

Strengthen your Entry way Security

Did you know that often, burglars gain entry by simply kicking open locked doors? You just would not believe how easy this is. This is why it’s crucial to beef up the strength of your house’s doors. And this can be done several ways.

2BDeadbolt Strike Plate

  • It’s ironic that this piece of hardware is called a strike plate, because an inferior type can be struck by the burglar’s foot and blasted apart.
  • The strike plate is that metal piece that’s on the door frame, where the deadbolt latches into.
  • A low grade strike plate serves the purpose of holding the door shut. Period. It’s no match for a burglar’s foot.
  • In addition to a sturdier strike plate, you need a full metal enclosure and longer screws. The burglar will then worry about breaking his ankle as he continues to try to budge this hardware—which is possible, if he’s persistent, has a decent kick and doesn’t tire easily.

Door and Door Jamb

  • So to stop a persistent burglar who doesn’t mind repeatedly kicking, you must reinforce the door and door jamb.
  • Sturdy door reinforcement can be found at Door Devil.

Solid Wood or Metal Doors

  • A hollow wood construction has no place in an exterior door.
  • A solid wood door would ideally be made of a hardwood variety. It’s not cheap, but it will buy you peace of mind.
  • A steel door is even more secure.
  • The ultimate door may be a hurricane-resistant steel door.

Hinges

  • Burglars have been known to remove the hinge pins and lift the door up and out of the frame.
  • A door that swings out and exposes the hinges is not secure.
  • Safety studs, crimped pins and a setscrew in the hinge will prevent a burglar from removing the hinge pin.

Still More…

  • A door that’s highlighted with a motion detecting light (out of reach from an adult) will help deter intruders.
  • A fake surveillance camera (again, out of reach) is an effective deterrent.

Robert Siciliano is a home and personal security expert to DoorDevil.com discussing Anti-Kick door reinforcement on YouTube. Disclosures.

Technology and Home Security wed

Gone is the day when, while out on a romantic evening with your special someone, you suddenly realize you forgot to turn on your house alarm. You spend the rest of the long evening fretting about this.

2HNowadays, all you need do is whip out your smartphone and activate the alarm. You can even view the interior and exterior of your property in realtime with smarthome security cameras. And rest assured, if someone breaks in while your eyes are glued to the big movie screen, you’ll get a vibration alert.

We are getting closer and closer to a Jetson’s lifestyle; you know, George Jetson, the cartoon character who lives in the future? The Jetson household includes a female-looking robot dressed as a maid.

Robots

A house robot is no longer the thing of science fiction. Google is working on creating a robot that will help protect the house (and cleaning it is already being done with a Roomba). One of the tasks this robot would be able to do is prevent false alarms with the home security system. “What can be conceived can be achieved,” so the saying goes.

Laser Beams

  • Laser beams have been in existence for a while, that can detect motion and set off an alarm.
  • But this technology has much room for advancement in the security world and is growing.

More Advancements

  • Like an airplane on autopilot, your home’s security system will one day truly be on autopilot, with you at the helm no matter where you are.
  • But remember, robots, laser beams and other forms of technology will never replace common sense. You can have the most state-of-the-art technology working to protect your house, car, boat, even your person (with smartphone apps that can sense an unintentional fall, or with one touch of a button, summon an emergency response and give out your GPS coordinates) – but all this may mean zilch if you’re not wearing a seatbelt or if you’re texting while driving. Or if you’re climbing up on the rails of the cruise ship you’re on.
  • So even though the war against home intruders is closing in on them, sometimes our greatest enemy is oneself.
  • In the meantime, take advantage of what the booming home security market has to offer. Home security companies typically offer free consultations.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Mortgage Scams plague Homeowners and Agents

There are things you should know before you purchase your next house—even if you foresee that being years away. Take note of what’s in this article—and keep the notes where you’ll never forget where they are.

3BA hacker could fool you into thinking he’s your agent and trick you into sending him money—which you’ll never get back. It’s so bad the FTC even sent an alert warning consumers that Real Estate Agents email accounts are getting hacked.

  • Let’s say your Realtor’s name is Bill Baker.
  • Bill Baker’s e-mail account gets hacked.
  • The hacker observes Baker’s correspondences with his clients—including you.
  • Ahhh, the hacker sees you have an upcoming closing.
  • The hacker, posing as Bill Baker, sends you an e-mail, complete with instructions on where to wire your closing funds.
  • You follow these instructions.
  • But there’s one last step: kissing your money goodbye, as it will disappear into an untraceable abyss overseas.
  • This scam can also target your escrow agent.

It’s obvious that one way to prevent this is to arrange a home purchase deal where there are zero closing costs.

The scam is prevalent, perhaps having occurred thousands of times. It was just a matter of time until scammers recognized the opportunity to target real estate agents and their clients.

The lax security defenses of the real estate industry haven’t helped. Unlike the entire financial industry who have encrypted communications, the real estate industry is a hodgepodge of free e-mail accounts and unprotected communications.

In addition:

  • Realtors, so often on the go and in a hurry, frequently use public Wi-Fi like at coffee houses.
  • Anyone involved in a real estate transaction can be hacked, such as lawyers.

Preventing the Scam

  • Eliminate e-mail as a correspondence conduit—at least as far as information on closings and other sensitive information.
  • On the other hand, you may value having “everything in writing,” and e-mail provides a permanent record. In that case, use encrypted email or some setup that requires additional login credentials to gain access to the communication.
  • For money-wiring instructions, request a phone call. And make this request over the phone so that the hacker doesn’t try to pose as your Realtor over the phone.
  • Any e-mailed money instructions should be confirmed by phone—with the Realtor and the bank to send the money to.
  • Get verification of the transfer ASAP. If you suspect a scam, have the receiving bank freeze any withdrawal attempt of the newly deposited funds—if you’ve reached the bank in time, that is.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Home Security Cameras 101: the Audio Element

Before buying a security camera, ask yourself:

  • Where do you intend on placing it?
  • How well-hidden can/will the unit be?
  • Are you familiar with laws pertaining to surveillance of people without them knowing about it and the associated audio recordings?

1HLaws vary from state to state regarding the audio element of a surveillance camera, but on a federal level, the requirement is that one person needs to be aware of the recording. Because this is the federal law, it makes it impossible for any state to allow zero people being aware.

So what this means is that it’s illegal to audio record in the form of eavesdropping. It’s prohibited, for instance, to secretly record a conversation that two people, without them being aware, are having across the room at a coffee house that you’re all in.

However, that federal rule that one person needs to be aware of the recording means that you can get away with “secretly” recording those two people—as long as you’re part of their conversation, sitting right with them. So if those two people learn you recorded them, they can gripe all they want, but you’re protected by federal law since you sat and talked with them.

The law for audio recording isn’t the same as for visual, in which the latter is allowable for publically seen environments. This is where “Dual Consent” comes into play for ANY audio recording. Some states require both parties need to consent to audio recording in order for the recording to commence.

These rules apply to phone conversations as well as cameras, which is why you often get an alert that your customer service call “may be recorded for training purposes.”

Loopholes

  • If one of those two people is informed you’re recording them, then all is well, though once at least one of them knows this, it’s sure to influence the conversation (unless it’s dual consent state).
  • What seems to be a contradiction of that aforementioned federal rule is that you CAN secretly record those two people—provided that you don’t intend to use the recording for any illegal purposes (unless it’s dual consent state).
  • So it looks as though you can secretly record a conversation between your wife and the man she’s cheating on you with, then present it to her later as evidence you caught her. Nothing illegal about that (unless it’s dual consent state).
  • But if you covertly record your boss conversing with his secret mistress, then threaten you’ll give the recording to his wife unless he gives you a $1,000 bonus, then that’s illegal.
  • This is NOT legal advice. Consult your attorney and local laws.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Home Security Cameras 101: Filming

Before buying a security camera, ask yourself:

  • Where do you want to place it?
  • How well-hidden can it be or does it need to be?
  • Are you familiar with laws pertaining to filming people with or without their knowledge?

5HWhere is setting up the camera illegal? Bathrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms and residences other than yours (unless you have that other individual’s permission to set it up for their use).

Assume this list is not complete; the bottom line is that video surveillance is prohibited where anyone could be naked or even partially nude. There may be some gray areas, however. In that case, consult with an attorney.

A gray area would be some kind of private room where a person might be undressing, such as a dressing room for a theatre production, a cabana at a country club or beach, or a mock dressing room for a model posing for an oil painting class.

What if you want to set up a camera in the locker room, dressing room or bathroom of a business you own—not to be nosy, but to catch any thieves or other criminal behavior?

Sorry, it’s against the law. The propensity to be partially naked wins out over the possibility of someone stuffing unpaid-for items in their pants or sexually assaulting someone in a bathroom stall.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t place cameras outside the targeted room, to capture entrances and exits on a timeline. Set the camera up so that it can’t capture activity inside the room when the door opens.

Home Cameras

  • The general rule is that if a scene is viewable to the public, your camera can be stationed to record it, such as the parking lot smack in front of your front door or the neighbor’s outdoor deck across the parking lot (where it’s not expected anyone will undress).
  • Though it’s legal to point a camera at the neighbors, it can incite them and cause you grief, including legal action against you (people can sue for anything and everything; doesn’t mean they’ll win, but the anticipated defense legal fees and the whole headache of being taken to court often convince the defendant to retract the behavior that triggered the lawsuit).
  • This is NOT legal advice. Consult your attorney and local laws.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Child Predator screws up, gets caught

If you’re a pedophile, you’d be wise not to keep any prescription containers in view of a webcam with your lewd pictures. The information on such a bottle is what helped pedophile Stephen Keating get 110 years in the slammer says a CNN article.

4HBut the amazing thing is that the bottle’s information was extracted from a blurry image of it in the background of a photo that Keating took of one of his 14 victims. Keating posted the photo online, not knowing that that innocent little prescription bottle would get him busted—along with the fingerprints that were extracted off his fingertips in the image.

Yes, this is what forensic technology can do these days. Only some of Keating’s name and the prescription number were actually extracted in a photo lab, but it was enough information for a record check of the pharmacy to get his identity.

Homeland Security Investigations Cyber Crimes Center specialist Jim Cole says his Project Vic teamviews half a million images every week.

How does this technology work?

  • Computers use “Photo DNA” to speedily sift through hundreds of thousands of photos, separating previously viewed ones from new ones, sparing investigators from having to see disturbing images more than necessary.
  • Cole says that what used to take nine months now takes one month.

In another case, an image showed a woman and her victim holding a fish at a campground. The woman was a known offender…but where was this campsite?

The image of the fish was sent to Cornell University for analysis of the species: Where is this type of fish found? The location was narrowed down to a specific area, and then the campsite image, minus the offender and young victim, was sent to all the campsite advertisers in that region. They got a hit, and in fact, the reception room of the particular camping grounds had the same image on display. All of this took place in under four hours.

Even a blurry company logo on a shirt can be extracted for identification. In one case this led to a plumbing business where an offender used to work.

Where are all these images coming from in the first place? The public sends in tips to the CyberTipline. So do giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Cole says that the advanced technology has caused an exponential increase in the number of victims rescued.

Good guys 1. Predators ZERO.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Should you take active Shooter Training?

Gunman Storms Building, Shot Dead by Receptionist

Wouldn’t it be great to see a headline like this for once? More than ever, employees are being trained to react tactically should a gunman go on a rampage.

2BThere has to be a better way, for instance, to protect children in a classroom than the teacher diving between them and the bullets and getting killed. Being hailed a hero is no consolation to the family he or she leaves behind.

In Boston, active shooter training is taking place, says an article at myfoxboston.com. Todd McGhee, a former state trooper, is the instructor. He charges $150 per person for an hour. May sound like a lot, but think of all the ways someone can mindlessly drop $150 over one weekend.

Active shooter training is also offered by some private firms in most metropolitan areas. It’s catching on in this day and cyber-age when every public gunning incident seems to get news.

In a real life scenario, the victim has maybe less than two seconds to make a life altering decision: bolt, dive out a window, hide, put their body between the gunman and children (and often, this results in death), rushing the gunman, playing dead once the bullets start flying (this has actually worked), and who knows what else—like whipping a pistol out of your pocket and shooting back. Reasoning with the gunman has also worked, but these are truly exceptional cases.

In a workplace setting, often the gunman is a former employee. The grievance he has may be towards his boss or someone there he was dating or wanted to date but was rejected.

The myfoxboston.com article notes some risk factors for deviantly violent behavior including divorce, loss of the job, financial woes, being bullied and experiencing child custody issues. However…it stands to reason that anyone who’d bulldoze into a business or public setting and start shooting has at least several of these problems.

Though issues such as being passed up for a promotion, ridicule by coworkers, being recently fired and other workplace problems normally don’t turn employees into killers, these situations are a common thread among such gunmen.

Sometimes the most meek employee turns out to be the shooter, and employees need to learn how to respond with tactics, strategy and proven methods rather than with panic and screams.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Remove your Home from Google maps

If it unsettles you to see your home displayed on Google Maps, there’s something you can do about this. Why might this be a concern? Information is “intelligence”. Information to some is power. The logistics of your home may empower certain people, like burglars. Example; if you’re in a residentially cluttered area vs. a remote area with nearby woods, these details can mean something to a would-be intruder.

3BIn additional to aerial shots, did you know that Google Maps also shows street level views? Uh ohhh…Ya. That can include cars parked outside, people, etc.

Visit Google Maps and type in your address. In the lower left of the screen you will see a thumbnail image called “Satellite.” Click to reveal the satellite image of your area, and see if your street is in view. Look for your dwelling.

How do these images get into the Google Maps system in the first place? Someone from Google actually drives around in a funky car with a crazy 360’ camera strapped to it taking photos. The camera doesn’t discriminate if your young daughters just happen to be sunbathing in the yard at that time.

Play around with the site’s interactive features to see just how much about your home a snooping stranger could learn. The Google Maps site allows zoom-ins that can pick up pretty clear views of what’s inside your garage (if it was opened the day the Google driver was taking pictures) or inside your home (yes, the images are that close-up).

Note, however, that the license plates of vehicles are blurred out. Google claims they also blur out people, but this tactic doesn’t always work, as at least one person claims he saw his license plate very clearly.

We can’t delete our address from Google Maps. But we can get this behemoth to blur out your house.

  • Locate your property to street view level.
  • In the bottom right-hand corner, click the icon called “Report a problem.”
  • This will take you to “Report inappropriate street view.”
  • Tweak the page to get your home inside the red box and fill out the form.
  • Type the verification code and submit.
  • Wait a few days then check to see if your home is blurred out.

You can even make requests for specific things to be blurred, like the $3,000 water fountain in your front yard.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

You need a Home Security Safe

You don’t have to be wealthy or live in a big house to need a home security safe. If you don’t think you need one, ask yourself why. Ask yourself if you don’t have any valuables—not necessarily something that would be valuable to a burglar, but something very dear and special to you, such as a vintage photo of your great-grandfather.

5HA crook will grab a small safe, not knowing that it contains sentimental items to the owner, and hoping it contains jewelry items he could resell.

So the ideal home safe should be large enough to deter a burglar from grabbing. It should also be fireproof: You wouldn’t want your sentimental belongings to go up in smoke, would you? A safe is also a good place for emergency cash.

An article on community.homeclick.com provides information on choosing a home safe, beginning with the three kinds of locking mechanisms: keypad combination, cylinder dial and keyed lock.

Keypad Combination

This type, which uses batteries, provides fast access and can be customized. The downside, other than having to replace the batteries, is that it’s small enough for a burglar to grab. But if you prefer this system, then bolt this little safe to the floor.

Manual Dial

The manufacturer of this type of lock provides a preset combination, but if you have skill with tools, you can change the combination.

Keyed Lock

The downfall is that these can be picked with a paperclip. Thieves know how easy this is, so if this is your preferred lock, then bolt this safe to the floor—but that won’t stop the burglar from picking the lock. However, it’s fireproof and waterproof, so once the thief sees it’s filled with your children’s birthday cards to you of years ago and old photos of your great aunt Mollie, he’ll leave it alone, I’m sure.

The best safe is a big heavy one. A burglar doesn’t want to hassle with the chore of lifting it and carrying it out of the house. At the same time, it should have a locking mechanism that will stump a burglar. A large, heavy safe is ideal even if you have only a small quantity of valuables; you don’t have to fill it up.

The third feature is the ability to withstand heat. Safes are rated, such as being able to tolerate 350 degrees for one hour. This will surely protect photos, keepsakes and the like, but probably not sensitive electronic equipment. The safe should also have a good rating for resistance to water damage.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.