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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

Do Locked Doors Deter Burglars?

by Wesley February 28, 2022

Home burglary is the last thing anybody wants to think about, let alone experience. But the reality of owning a home means there is always the potential threat of security breaches. Luckily, there are specific ways to deter burglars that make your home less welcoming to criminal activity.   

The most effective method of deterring burglars is locking the front door. In this article, we will discuss steps you can take to not only deter burglars by locking the front door but also share other solutions you can use to fortify your home. These strategies have been approved by trusted locksmith technicians and security professionals alike.

Some of the approaches that have proven to be successful in deterring burglars are rudimentary. There is nothing wrong with that. As you will soon learn through industry experts and academic studies, simplicity is often the most effective way to deter burglars. The article will be split into the following sections:

First, let us set the foundation for what can deter burglars by answering some frequently asked questions about basic burglary concepts. 


What attracts burglars to homes?

The psychology behind home break-ins is typically not very complicated. Burglars typically scope out affluent neighborhoods because they know valuable items are more abundant. And therefore, there is more to steal.

Empty houses are also a prime target for an opportunistic burglar, so it is important to think carefully about protecting your home and valuables before you leave the house. If you plan on being out of town for an extended period or need security for a vacation home, here are some considerations to help deter burglars:

  • Use timers on interior and exterior lights 
  • Ask your neighbors to collect your mail and packages
  • Check that all of your doors and windows are properly secured before leaving
  • Check your security system regularly online while you are away
  • Leave your car on the driveway, so it looks like someone is in

These are just a few of the ways you can potentially deter burglars and make your home less appealing. Coming up, we will discuss several other burglar deterrents and even some you might not expect.

How prevalent are burglaries?

In the United States, burglaries are fairly common. And a large percentage of the population has experienced at least one burglary in their lifetime. SafeHome.org is an online home security resource that puts together comprehensive content for people to learn about the latest trends and data in the industry.

According to SafeHome’s 2021 home security statistics, 47.13% of Americans have been a victim of property crime, with 41% of those people being victims of a burglary. That is a substantial number considering how many residents call America home, which the U.S. the Department of Commerce estimates the population currently exceeds 330 million people in 2022.

When do most home burglaries happen? 

One of the industry leaders in home security systems, ADT, reports most home burglaries occur during the day between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm. This might be a surprise to some people because when they picture a burglar, usually the image that pops up in your head is the infamous man in a ski mask dressed in black from head to toe.

It turns out the narrative is misleading in today’s world of burglars. More common sense is applied, and that common sense suggests people are more likely to be out of their house during the day. The thought of having little resistance from someone inside because they’re at work or out running errands is ideal for a burglar.

Where do most burglars choose as their break-in point?

There is no universal method that burglars use to break into homes. They have been known to use doors, windows, garages, basements, sheds, and anywhere else you can think of as entry points. However, ADT’s data indicates the number one entry point for burglars is the front door, citing 34% checking the doorknob and walking right in.

This makes locking the front door, as well as taking extra steps to fortify it, necessary to deter burglars and best protect your home. That is why we are dedicating an entire section of the article to locking the front door and the numerous ways you can make it more secure.  

Locking The Front Door

Sometimes the simplest of measures act as the most effective home security system. Locking the front door is something that has been ingrained into everyone’s subconsciousness. It is repeated over and over again by your parents growing up. And it’s one of the first lessons you teach your children as a parent – Never leave the house without locking the front door.

But everyone has mental lapses and can forget to lock the front door. When that happens, the best thing to do is learn from it, and the chances of it happening again are small because you already know the consequences are drastic.

That is okay. Everyone is entitled to an occasional mistake. The real threat to your home’s security is not being forgetful about locking the front door. The biggest obstacle to overcome is having the wrong lock on your front door or realizing the lock is improperly installed.

Locking your front door is not a successful security measure if the lock is inadequate. Certain front door locks are more effective than others, and it is important to know the features and details of what you are using to lock your front door. Taking the time to invest in secure high-security door locks is one of the best starting points.

It will also allow you to build other security measures with your door locks as the focal point. Installing a lock as strong as a deadbolt should be your first course of action. A quality deadbolt is the best resistance to home burglary because intruders use force to gain entry into a home.

A deadbolt has a steel bolt that extends into the door jamb and strike plate of the frame and makes the door harder to enter with force. When you use a deadbolt properly for locking the front door, it makes your home less of a target and will deter burglars.

The Mul-T-Lock MT5+ Hercular Double Cylinder deadbolt is a great option to start with as you are researching the best ways to lock the front door. Investing in deadbolts of this caliber is a smart move because it can withstand lock picking, lock bumping, lock snapping, lock drilling, and many other bypassing tactics.

If you do not want to invest in brand new locks, you can always reinforce your old locks with some features that will help boost your door lock security. Padlocks are a simple way to do this because it acts as a supplemental security measure to your existing lock. The best padlocks are versatile because they provide that same protection against forced entry, lock picking, and the other aforementioned bypass methods.

Sometimes locking the front door is not enough to deter burglars. So having the appropriate equipment to go along with it is critical. However, locking the front door with a deadbolt and then reinforcing the deadbolt with a padlock is a significant step toward making your home safer. There are several more things you can do to deter burglars as we will get into next.

Additional Break-In Deterrents 

When it comes to home security, locking the front door is only the first part of the equation. There are countless other strategies the home security industry has deemed successful at deterring burglars, but here are the five main methods:

  1. Outdoor Lighting
  2. Security Cameras
  3. Alarm System
  4. Good Neighbors
  5. Pets 

1. Outdoor Lighting

Installing more exterior lighting is a good way to deter burglars at night. A majority of home security experts agree that outdoor lighting, whether it be motion detection lights or lights programmed on a timer, is a strong strategy to deter burglars.

As you might remember from earlier, burglars are not looking to interact with the homeowners they steal from. Empty houses are the main target because they offer the least amount of resistance and a quick entry and exit. Outdoor lighting poses a serious challenge to that plan and deters burglars.

ADT data estimates the average burglary lasts no longer than a few minutes, with some taking as little as 90 seconds. The mindset of carrying out a task that quickly can be hampered by a few seconds of doubt creeping into the mind of a burglar.

The doubt comes from a beaming light shining down on them as they are about to knowingly break the law. That kind of internal pressure combined with the thought of being discovered in the night can deter burglars.

2. Security Cameras

Investing in surveillance cameras will help secure your home while reducing the likelihood of a burglar staking out your property. The keys to a successful stakeout involve having space and the time to observe the way someone carries out their daily activities.

Installing security cameras in the appropriate locations will allow you to notice any behavior that is out of the ordinary. Always be aware of strangers being active around your home or unfamiliar vehicles showing up regularly.

These are two major indicators that someone might be scoping your house for weak spots in your security. And in the event someone does steal from you, the camera footage can be used by authorities to track down the perpetrator.

3. Alarm System 

Alarm systems are not the same as having security cameras. Yes, you certainly can have both. But one is a surveillance system, and the other is a means of notifying the outside world that your house has been infiltrated by someone without permission.

Most alarm systems are designed to call law enforcement officers when a breach is detected. A representative from the company that installed your system will typically be on standby 24/7 to facilitate outgoing 911 calls to local authorities. 

The process of an alarm calling the authorities has revolutionized the industry by merging the advancements of technology into home security. But this is an example of active security vs. passive security, meaning it requires someone to respond to prevent theft, even if it is the police.

The effects of this innovation have proved to deter burglars as well. In 2013, a study conducted by Charlotte University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology revealed some convincing evidence.

As part of the study, students surveyed 422 inmates who were serving time in prison for burglary. The key findings of the survey were the following:

  • 83% of the inmates (roughly 350) would try to figure out if a location had an alarm system before proceeding with their plans of stealing from it.
  • 50% of those 350 inmates said they would stop their plans if they saw an alarm system.
  • 72.5% of the inmates (roughly 305) expressed they preferred to rob homes over other venues like businesses, apartments, department stores, etc.

422 inmates do not completely divulge the mindset of all burglars, but it provides some great insight into what burglars are looking for. Knowing those bits of information can be used to the advantage of homeowners, ultimately helping to deter burglars.

4. Good Neighbors

Building relationships with your neighbors can be helpful for more than social occasions. It is about creating a community environment that has each other’s back when things go wrong. A tight-knit neighborhood will act as its own alarm system when it comes to deterring burglars.

Earlier we talked about ways you can deter burglars by having neighbors take care of tasks, like collecting the mail and packages, while you are out of town. It is very important to let some of your neighbors know when you go away for longer periods because it will force them to be more aware.

If one of your neighbors knows that you and your family are gone on vacation for a week, anything that happens to your house in the meantime will be very noticeable to them. After all, you are supposed to be gone, so who would be on your property doing something? Utilizing that neighborly bond can be an effective way to deter burglars.

5. Beware Of Dog

Part of the contract of being dubbed “man’s best friend” is stepping up and springing into action when a crime is being committed in your home. In all seriousness, dogs can be very effective at deterring burglars.

Some dog breeds are better suited to guarding a home, but all dogs possess certain characteristics that uniquely qualify them as excellent home protectors. You can blend a dog and a security system, but your dog can take a bit more time to set up effectively. 

Dogs tend to make a lot of noise when they are in distress, but not all are aggressive. You want a dog that is more prone to barking loudly and alerting everyone in the house that something is wrong. Dogs and other pets also have acute senses of smell and hearing that can be useful to deter burglars.

Hire A Locksmith 

Locksmith Servicing Lock Cylinder

What we talked about above is by no means a complete list of approaches to deter burglars besides locking the front door. But it will get you started in the right direction toward making necessary home security adjustments. 

If you are looking for more information from security professionals with hands-on experience, calling a locksmith can add a lot of value to deter burglars. Nobody understands the benefits of locking the front door to deter burglars on a higher level than a locksmith.

With several years worth of home security experience, locksmiths provide an essential perspective to helping you choose the right locks and then having the ability to install the locks themselves.

Locking the front door is the number method of deterring burglars, which means inspecting that your door is equipped with a secure deadbolt is necessary. Locksmiths are perfect for this task and will even tell you what additional security measures can be taken, such as installing a padlock.

The amount of expertise and knowledge that a locksmith can offer toward improving your home’s security is priceless. When it comes to protecting your home, you want a professional who knows exactly how to deter burglars and implement the hardware that will be used to lock the front door properly every time.

Closing Words 

We have covered a bunch of information in this article about the best ways to deter burglars and make sure they do not choose your house as their next target. Some of those strategies are rooted in simplicity, while others can get more technical. That is why consulting a locksmith is the ideal path. 

All it takes is one phone call, and a locksmith can be at your home the same day. The little amount of effort that requires is definitely worth what you could stand to lose if an unannounced burglar were to break into your home and steal part of your livelihood.

Category: Crime, Residential, Safety & Security

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