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The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program statistics reveal that over 1.2 million burglaries were committed in the United States in 2018.1 Of those 1 million plus burglaries, a vast majority, 56.7 percent, involved forcible entry, and an additional 6.6 percent were attempted forcible entries. The estimated dollar loss suffered by the victims was estimated at $3.4 billion, which averaged out to $2,799 per burglary offense.

One of the best defenses against a forcible entry burglary is a properly installed high quality deadbolt door lock.

Is there a way to test and rate deadbolt locks?

Both the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Underwriters Laboratory grading systems should be used when you are considering a deadbolt lock. The ANSI grading system uses the number 1 to indicate the highest grade (used in most commercial applications); 2 for a moderate grade; and 3 as the lowest grade.2 The grades are based on longevity of the lock, toughness and latch length.

The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) provides a rating — the UL 437 — that indicates the security of a keyed lock. The UL 437 deadbolt security test is one of the hardest to pass as it tests against common ways that forced entry occurs during burglaries.3 This includes impressioning, forcing, drilling, sawing, prying, picking and bumping the deadbolt lock. Along with those lock pick tests, the UL 437 also tests for field changeable keys, tight-fitting bolts and the ability to withstand 10,000 opening and closing cycles.

Proper installation by a professional locksmith

Another big factor that determines the effectiveness of a deadbolt lock is how it is installed. If you want the job done right with peace of mind, you should call a trusted professional locksmith. In their testing of locks, Consumer Reports (CR) found that “the cause of failure is more often than not the short screws used to attach the strike plate to the door frame,” said Misha Kollontai, CR’s test engineer for door locks.4

It is relatively inexpensive to replace the strike plate that comes with a door lock with a reinforced strike plate. Attaching a reinforced strike plate to the doorjamb can greatly reduce the failure of the lock when it is subjected to repeated kicks or hammering by a burglar. The screws that you use to attach the strike plate are also important. They should be a minimum of 3-inches long. Even installing 3-inch screws on your existing, non-reinforced strike plate would provide added protection. Don’t forget about the hinges. They should also be secured with a minimum of 3-inch screws.5

Does the type of door matter?

Finally, the door itself has to be strong to resist repeated kicking or ramming. A steel door would provide more protection that a wood door with a hollow core. Remember, too, not to just focus on the front door, as doors leading from the garage to the home, or the home to the backyard, also need to be secure.

Which type of deadbolt lock is better?

Deadbolt locks come single-sided and double-sided. With a single-sided deadbolt you use a key to enter the home but can lock the door without using a key by using a thumb-turn on the inside. A double-sided deadbolt requires that you use a key to unlock the door when you enter the home and also to lock the door behind you when you are in the home. If you need to exit your home in an emergency, the double-sided door lock would require a key, so many fire officials advise against double-sided deadbolt locks.

Having a high-quality deadbolt lock installed on an exterior door by a professional locksmith service costs between $300 and $500 dollars depending on the lock and the amount of work needed to reinforce the door. Considering that the average home burglary victim loses over $2,500 in televisions, computer equipment, jewelry and other items, that small one-time investment can really pay off over the long run.

Another thing to consider is that a burglary victim loses something much harder to replace than the items in the home. They lose their sense of privacy and security in their home — a place which was their sanctuary from the outside world prior to the burglary. Having deadbolt locks properly installed on all your exterior doors can go a long way in ensuring your security and protecting your peace of mind.

If you live in Michigan Action Locksmith is happy to help. As a family owned and operated locksmith business for over 30 years, our hard work and dedication ensures the highest quality work and skill in the business. We have vast experience in virtually all aspects of locksmithing from re-keying and keyless entry to camera system installation, door repair and door entry systems, card access, 24-hour lockout service and more! Call us today and find out how we can help your home or business and find out about our Special Offers!

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1 2018 Crime in the United States: Burglary, Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation
Link: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2018/crime-in-the-u.s.-2018/topic-pages/burglary

2,3 How to Choose a Deadbolt: The Deadbolt Guide
Link: https://www.doorware.com/specials/help-center/deadbolt-guide.cfm

4 Best and Worst Door Locks from Consumer Reports’ Tests by Daniel Wroclawski, 12/19/2019
Link: https://www.consumerreports.org/door-locks/best-and-worst-door-locks/

5 Door Lock Buying Guide, Consumer Reports, 12/28/2019
Link: https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/door-locks/buying-guide/index.htm