Cleaning up your condo security

All too often burglars take advantage of poor maintenance habits to make their grand entry.

Condo security doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes the fix is nothing more than maintaining a clean building.

All too often burglars take advantage of poor cleaning or maintenance habits to make their grand entry.

“Random door pulling” has always been a popular way for thieves to gain entry. Crooks find the most success in buildings where regular maintenance checks on doors and frames are few and far between.

For instance, door sweeps need to be checked. These weather guards slide on the bottom of the door and are fastened on the inside with metal screws.

Sometimes, hurried builders don’t complete the job – they often slide the sweep on the door and leave it unfastened.

If the sweep shifts, the door will no longer latch properly because it creates a barrier between the bottom of the door and the threshold.

And owners who try to replace or upgrade weather stripping themselves could be jeopardizing their buildings security as well.

Frank FourchalkIf they’re not familiar with the correct amount of space required for a smooth-closing door, they may be leaving the door vulnerable to an unwanted entry.

Are your building thresholds free from debris? These areas are key to your buildings security. Often neglected thresholds are a breeding ground for small stones and dirt.

Once an accumulation of debris starts, so do the unauthorized entries. So make sure your cleaning crew is cleaning any dirt and debris away from your exterior door threshold plates.

Keep the walkways free from stones and debris as well. This will eliminate the possibility of dirt and stones being transported to thresholds via people’s shoes.

Latch plates need to be inspected, as well. The latch plates are installed on the frame side of the door.

This is the metal plate accepts the latch to assure the door is secured. There are basically two important things to check for in this area. The first is debris in the hole of the latch plate.

Owners or tenants who may have forgotten their keys, or don’t have the right keys, sometimes insert paper or cardboard into the latch plate in order to prevent the door from latching – thus guaranteeing entry back into the building. The danger lies in pieces of debris being left behind, inside the latch plate rendering the lock useless.

Thieves also like to plug latches and latch plates so they can move throughout the building with ease without a key. Always check latches and latch plates after a break-in, and make sure all the locking hardware is functioning properly.

Also check the position of the latch plates. Make sure these plates are set securely into the frame to ensure no movement.

If there’s movement in your latch plates, make sure you position them properly and install longer screws into the frame side to assure there is no movement.

The “latch” is the part of the lock that extends out from the door and goes into the latch plate on the door frame.

You will also need to check these on a regular basis. All too often, worn out latches are the reason a bad guy enters your condo.

Worn latches don’t always spring out the way they’re supposed to. If this is the case, the latch will stick inside the door and make no contact with the latch plate in the frame. The result is an unsecured door.

Another area of concern are the door closers. These are the hydraulic cylinders located at the top of the door to assure it closes and latches every time.

Because weather conditions affect the speed of the door closers, they need to be adjusted on a regular basis to assure they are latching correctly.

Regular maintenance checks of door closer, latches, latch plates and thresholds will definitely help prevent a burglar from sneaking into your condo and ruining your day.

Frank Fourchalk is a security professional with 26 years in the business. You can visit his website at www.yourhomesecurity.ca. You can also e-mail frank at Fourchalk@shaw.ca

 

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