For much of my life I’ve been involved in law enforcement, security, K-9 security, private investigations, and security consulting in one form or another. It’s been a fairly diverse and exciting career, to be sure. I’m hardly ever bored on most days. I still do some security consulting these days and training, mainly in the firearms field, as time permits. For a guy who is supposed to be at the very least semi-retired, I find myself busier than I care to be most days. I don’t know what happened to my retirement dreams of hunting, fishing, and sitting on the front deck of my home watching the world pass by, but thus far that part of my retirement dream hasn’t materialized.
For whatever reason, when I lived in Portland, Oregon, back in 1979-1981 doing private investigations with one of the few PI companies around, there were a lot of people coming to us with security concerns. Many people came to us wanting us to “sweep” their homes for listening devices, which we did. One time we actually found one. Go figure? When I lived back in the Chicago, Illinois area, I did a lot of security consulting. Much of this consisted of helping make businesses more secure or safe by installing burglar and silent alarms in their businesses, and on the night shift I actually answered alarms and honestly caught a lot of bad guys who had broken into businesses.
Security covers a lot of different topics. Some involve packing a handgun so you’ll feel more secure when you are out and about, and these days you can’t feel too safe on the mean streets if you ask me. So, that is but one layer of security. Your home is your castle, and you should always feel safe there. However, depending on where you live, you may not feel secure and safe at all. I’ve seen many homes in some big cities in the “bad” part of town with steel bars on the doors and windows. You shouldn’t have to live like that, and I wouldn’t. I’d find a way to move to a safer area, somehow. That isn’t living; that is urban survival, hardcore!
When I was tasked with doing a security analysis on a home or business, one of the first things I would point out to the customer was the weakness of their doors and windows. Let’s be honest here; there is only so much you can do to make your windows stronger. Face facts; glass breaks, easily! Then we have doors, and most builders install some really cheap wooden doors, as directed by the designer of the house. Then we have the door locks, and once again they are a weak source. Most locks can easily be broken with a few kicks or a large hammer. There are no 100% solutions to all your security needs, no matter what you may do to make your home safer.
At my digs, in rural Oregon, I have a fairly good secondary line of security in my German Shepherds. They can hear when someone comes into our driveway long before I hear it, and they go on alert. These days, I’m down to only three German Shepherds. I’ve had a lot more than that at one time. I had to put down my main, prize winning male last summer, and it was hard to do, but his hips gave out, and he had a good life. He was almost 14-years old. That’s a long time for big breed dogs to live. However, I still have one of his sons and two more German Shepherds to help protect our digs. A big dog barking usually sends people away, if they have evil deeds on their minds. So, I often recommend a large breed dog to folks, as one layer of home security.
Our windows are all high enough off the ground that it would require a ladder to reach them, and even during the summer months we only open a few windows just far enough to get some fresh air circulating or have an a/c unit installed in a window. During the winter months, all windows are closed and locked. Then we have the doors in our home. We actually have three doors leading to the outside. Our small backyard is completely fenced in, making it difficult but not impossible for someone to come in through the two backdoors. We do not have gates leading to the backyard. Then there is the front door, and it is an older wooden door with a door knob lock and a dead bolt.
As much as I’d like to believe our home is pretty secure, there is always more than can be done, always. I do count on my dogs protecting my home, even when we are away. One dog travels with me whenever I leave the house, and two stay home to protect the place, and there is no doubt that they will do their job. As an example, our youngest daughter hadn’t been around for a visit for quite a few months. She is now in Rwanda, Africa in the Peace Corps, but that’s another story! Well, the youngest daughter came home for a visit, and she was next door at our small guest house, where our oldest daughter lives, and they both came over for lunch. We didn’t know the youngest was there and coming over. Well, when the oldest daughter walked in, the dogs barked at her, like they always do. It wasn’t vicious; they just barked at her as I trained them to do when anyone comes in. The youngest daughter was right behind our oldest, and our little female German Shepherd couldn’t see who was behind our oldest daughter. Fearing it was someone who wasn’t supposed to come in the house, she went after the youngest and nipped her in the leg, before she realized who she bit. So, I know our dogs will protect our home!
Still, we are always tasked with trying to find a way to make our homes more secure, and as I mentioned, there is always something more you can do. Enter www.beyondlocks.com – a company that specializes in making the doors, all the doors in your home, more secure against break-in. They have a number of different devices that can be added to your doors and door frames, even your overhead garage door to make you more secure, when you are home and even when you are away from your home.
Beyond Locks sent me three of their devices for making the doors of your home more secure. Quite honestly, I’m one of these people who said, “Now, why didn’t I think of that?” These devices are so simple in design, but they’re designed to keep your doors more secure. I’ll tell you right up front that I did not install any of the samples they sent me because I will be replacing my outside doors this coming summer. There isn’t anything wrong with them, but they are getting old. So, I didn’t want to install any of the hardware sent to me only to have to remove it when the doors get replaced.
Now, with the above disclaimer stated, you can watch several videos on the Beyond Locks website to see how effective these various, and simple devices can be to help keep the bad guys out of your house. What I viewed on the videos was very impressive, very! First up is the Door Reinforcer– a simple two-piece product that installs over the dead bolt of your door. Believe it or not, it isn’t that difficult to take a large hammer or even start kicking on the dead bolt area of your door, before it gives way. It’s not a good thing! The Door Reinforcer simply “cuddles” your dead bolt on the inside and outside of the door, reinforcing all that much more, and this device can be installed in five minutes with a drill and screw driver. The price is $36.97!
Next up we have the Security Strike, and this massive striker installs in the door frame. This is a huge, 8-inch long striker that your door dead bolt or door knob lock locks into, and it is secured with eight, 4-inch long screws. When someone is trying to kick-in your door or pry it open, the strike plate will probably be one of the first things to go. Again, we have a simple installation– a screw driver and a drill – which will take you all of about five minutes to install. The price is $17.97-$19.97, depending on which model you pick.
Last up is the Security Hook, and this is a massive Aluminum hook that when installed goes over the door knob inside the house. It is secured into the stud in the door frame with a massive lag bolt. Once again, a drill is used to drill a pilot hole, and the lag bolt also comes with the “Spax” Torx adaptor to use with a ratchet set to install it. It’s another five minute job, if it takes that long to install. You simple lift up on the Security Hook to place it over the door knob when you want to secure the door. Then, it takes about two seconds to “arm” it. The price is $24.97, which is nice!
When I install the new doors in my home, I will be installing all three of these products and will probably order a few more to double the security on each door. Even though I live out in the boonies, one never knows when a bad guy might come along and, seeing no cars in the driveway, want to attempt to break into my home. You can’t be too safe. Can I say it any clearer than that? For a small amount of money, you can easily install any or all of these products from Beyond Locks on your exterior doors to give you a little more peace of mind.
Be sure to check out the very impressive videos on the Beyond Locks website. You’ll see some serious attempts by actors trying to break into a house. Some targets are regular doors with no added security, and the others are doors that have the various Beyond Locks devices installed. While nothing is fool proof, any one of these simple-to-install devices on your doors will give you a little more peace of mind when you are home or away. It just makes it that much harder for a bad guy to get into you place, and in short order they will move on to the next house– one that will be easier to kick the door in. Peace of mind, that’s what it’s all about– peace of mind in your own home!
– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio