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How to better secure your home with just $1

WPEC.

How to better secure your home with just $1

By Liz Quirantes

Thieves break into homes on average every 14 minutes.

To help keep you and your family safe, CBC12 has a simple, cheap and effective safety fix.

And it only costs a dollar.

According to Safe Sound Family, 56 percent of the time, the crook breaks through a front or back door. It's a crime that costs Americans $4.8 Billion every year, not to mention the helpless, violated feeling victims describe.

THE $1 FIX

There is a wildly simple and inexpensive fix that begins with throwing away a couple of seemingly-important screws.

Professional locksmith, Patrick Torkelsen, said screws that come with most door strike plates are short, a half inch or less; and that poses an innate security problem.

"This little half-inch screw is only going into the beauty part of the frame which is a half inch piece of wood," he said.

Instead, Torkelsen suggests you install three-inch stainless-steel screws which will dig in five or six times deeper.

THE TEST

We put the screws to the test.

First, we found a home with those standard, short screws and I gave the door a relatively gentle kick.

The door’s frame instantly blew apart and the door swung open.

We ripped the strike plate right out of the frame, which was demolished.

"That's what happens when you're not using the studs,” Torkelsen said.

With that, we went next door where Torkelsen removed the half-inch screws that came with door and installed a pair of three-inch stainless-steel ones.

We kicked and kicked and kicked.

We kicked more than 30 times, but the door didn’t budge.

We did crimp the metal of those strike plates, damaged the handle and cracked the door, but we never got into the house.

THE PROOF

Cutting back the drywall, you can see exactly why it held. The three-inch screws were deep in two 2x4s that Torkelsen said are behind every entry-way door if the home was built to code.

On the other hand, the factory screws that came with the door don't even penetrate the frame.

Locksmiths sell all sorts of things that are designed to make your home more secure ranging from a few dollars to several hundred dollars, but, as I learned, two screws that we paid $1.18 at a hardware store did pretty well.

Story by Matt Gephardt, Sinclair Broadcast Group, INC.

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