A burglary occurs in the U.S. every 15 seconds. Roughly 25% of burglars enter through a first-floor window, which means window security is absolutely something you should take seriously.
Not only do windows give criminals easy access but they also make it easier for them to carry out their crimes unnoticed. For example, over the last couple of years police in California have seen an increase in a break-in method commonly referred to as “knock knock burglaries.”
Window of Opportunity
In Los Angeles County, where these types of break-ins are common, police officials say that many of the thieves committing these crimes are gang members who are handpicked by their leaders to execute these burglaries.
According to law enforcement, these gang members will ditch their regular clothes, dress in expensive attire and drive luxury cars such as Audis into affluent areas. They’ll choose a home and knock on the front door to see if anyone is there. If no one answers, they’ll usually go around back and smash a window or try to kick in a door.
These criminals do their homework and typically avoid homes with security cameras. However, they don’t appear to be deterred by alarm systems because they can quickly grab what they want and flee before anyone arrives.
According to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Michael Maher, a member of the agency’s specialized burglary task force, “Typically, it’s a hunt for cash, jewelry and weapons. They don’t take televisions or laptops or iPads.”
Additional Security Needed
These days, gangs are becoming more sophisticated and evolving from street crimes to residential burglaries. Obviously, installing security cameras and an alarm system is critical to any home security plan, but folks often overlook the physical security of their windows.
Today, I want to go over some security options for your windows that will hopefully thwart someone trying to gain entry into your home.
- Reinforced glass — You have several options when replacing the windows in your home. One of the more popular choices for security is tempered glass, which is similar to the type of glass you see on cars. It’s designed for safety because if it does break. It will simply crumble instead of splintering into shards like plate glass. Tempered glass isn’t impossible to break, but it’s much stronger than the glass typically used for home windows
- Roller shutters — Another option is shutters that roll down and completely cover the windows. Often, these shutters can be integrated with an alarm system so they roll down whenever the alarm is set. Obviously, this is one of the most expensive window security options, but it’s also one of the most secure. In a similar vein, if you’ve ever lived in a city such as Baltimore (where I used to live), you’ve probably seen some people put bars on their windows. This isn’t the best-looking option, but again, they are incredibly secure at keeping people from breaking your window and entering your house
- Security screens — These are window screens made from stainless steel mesh wire and they are incredibly durable. Not only do they serve a security purpose but they can also protect your windows from flying objects in high winds such as during a tornado or hurricane. Make sure to choose a reputable company that uses a quality steel to install them. Most of screens of this type can withstand multiple hits with a baseball bat and cannot be cut through — which makes them a great choice for home security
- Window film — Adding security film to your windows is one of the most cost-effective options when it comes to making your windows stronger. Window film is designed to hold the window together and prevent it from breaking. You can purchase security film from companies such as 3M. However, I recommend contacting a professional window company and asking them what type of film they recommend for your area. Security film must be applied correctly to be effective, so it’s well worth paying a professional to install it.
I realize most of these window security options aren’t cheap, but they are worth considering to keep your family safe. If you happen to be replacing the windows in your home, consider these alternatives, since that would be a great time to make changes.