EDITOR’S NOTE: We asked Wess Winn, community services officer and crime prevention coordinator with the Waxahachie Police Department to write a weekly column in an effort to answer many of the law enforcement-related questions posed by our readers. Here’s this week’s column:
Last week I forgot to mention one more commonly overlooked item on the exterior of your house, landscaping and shrubbery. You can plant thick thorny hedges around your house, which will provide a minimum level of security to your home. These need to be used in conjunction with lighting, fences and a security alarm to help “Harden the Target.”
Make sure with landscaping that all the entrances have good visibility from the street or other viewing points. Texas Crime Prevention Institute recommends locating shrubs 18-24 inches away from all entrances. You should also keep shrubs cut at least six inches below the window level and no higher than 18 inches. This is to keep criminals from having a hiding space next to your house.
Moving onto the inside of you home we will start with the doors, which should be solid core and no less than 1-3/8 inches thick and secured by a deadbolt lock. The hinges should be on the inside of the house. Any door, which has glass within 40 inches of the lock, needs to be secured with a double cylinder deadbolt. Make sure if you do not have a thumb throw on the inside of the door you leave the key in an area where it can be retrieved, so the door can be unlocked in case the house needs to be evacuated the house.
Another item often overlooked when constructing a house is the metal strike plate. This is the portion of the door where the deadbolt is secured to the door frame. Many contractors use the screws, included in the lock set, to attach the strike plate to the frame. The screws are usually not more than ˝ inch to and 1 inch long. It is a good practice to replace them with 4-5 inch screws because behind the strike plate there are two, 2x4’s nailed together. You want a screw which will reach into the second 2x4 because it is harder for the strike plate/deadbolt to be defeated.
Your sliding glass doors must be secured with a sliding pin or a security bar to prevent lifting or prying. The inactive door on a set of double doors needs to be secured with header and threshold bolts which strike a metal plate.
Contact your insurance agent to see if you are eligible for a “Reduction in Homeowners Insurance Premium”. If you are eligible you can have an inspection done on your home by the law enforcement agency who serves you. This could possibly reduce you home insurance premium by up to 20 percent.
We will continue next week on interior security.
Wess Winn holds a master peace officer certification. If you have a Police Beat question for Officer Wess Winn, he may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 469-309-4410. Look for your questions to be answered here in the Waxahachie Daily Light every Sunday or listen to officer Winn’s show on KBEC Radio AM 1390 at 9 a.m. every Monday.