Do you know how to pick a door lock? Um, I mean, choose...?
Door locks are essential. Too bad, but that's the way it is. And you get what you pay for.
WHEN YOU CHOOSE A DOOR LOCK, DON'T GO CHEAP!
How do you know what to choose? Go to the hardware store and look around. There is a lot to choose from! Some look very regular, some have great design. But a lock is a lock, right?
Wrong. Locks are rated! They are rated by ANSI-BHMA. There, I said it. Who?
ANSI - the American National Standards Institute - is a non-profit that creates voluntary standards for products, services and processes for American products.
BHMA - the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association - a similar organization that develops standards for builder's hardware.
These two organizations, working together and with the Underwriter's Laboratory, have come up with three grades for locksets. It can be found here: ANSI/BHMA A156.5
Grade 1 - commercial, and the highest grade for security and durability.
Grade 2 - residential, rated "excellent" for security and durability.
Grade 3 - residential, minimum acceptance grade.
The BHMA system for numbering locksets can be read here. It can be found on the packaging.
The BHMA numbering system has a 5-digit number preceded by a prefix letter, e.g. B54132.
FOR LOCKSETS THE LAST NUMBER WOULD BE 1, 2, OR 3.
It is the last number that has relevance for locksets.
Consumer Reports has tested locks and locksets. They picked them, hammered them, pried them, and drilled them. They report the Medeco lock to be the only one they could not drill easily. The other locks could be drilled and accessed. Drilling ruined the Medeco lock, but did not open it. Medeco locks are Grade 1.
In 2002 the Department of Justice did a study and determined that 60% of burglaries happen during the day. And 32% of those through the front door! The locks are drilled, bumped, pried or otherwise opened in plain sight. Interestingly, in 1961 only 16% happened during the day. Why? Because people were home then!
How can they do this? Burglars are opportunists and predators. They often watch neighborhoods and know when people are and are not home. They choose a house based on many things, and go at it.
Here are some suggestions on what to do to better burglar proof your home when you first move in.
My recommendation: be smart! Buy good locks and locksets! Look for the ratings! Oh, the police and locksmiths say we should not be fooled by labeling that says something like, "This lock has many of the same features as a Grade 1 lock!" That is a marketing trick! It's like saying a cheap car has many of the same features as an expensive car. Like seats, a trunk, and a radio. Woohoo! Good locks protect not only your belongings - they protect YOU!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560