10:48PM | 02/07/06
Member Since: 01/18/06
21 lifetime posts

Ever since the first mechanical wood locks were created some 4,000 years ago in Egypt, we have been on a steady mission to improve lock technology.

In today's world we would no sooner consider installing a 4,000-year-old lock on our home than writing a letter to aunt Martha in hieroglyphics.

So why is it we still install inferior locking devices on our homes? These locking devices, I'm sure, wouldn't even meet the Egyptians' standards of 4,000 years ago.

I'm talking about cheap door chains, the single worst security device you can install on your home.

The door chains are an innovation of the 1950s we can't seem to eradicate from usage. Gone are the Edsels, hi-fis and saddle shoes, but door chains remain. After thousands of warnings from security professionals, consumers still buy these useless devices.

Part of the problem is availability: Just about every hardware store carries this inexpensive item on the same shelf with their home security wares. In fact, cheap chains are not even recognized as home security products by most security professionals.

Don't assume a couple of ½-inch screws and a light-gauge metal chain are going to keep you safe from the bad guys. If you open your door on these links, you will be jeopardizing your safety.

I've been in homes where the owners had every door and window secured properly, installed all the proper lighting and had all the exterior shrubbery trimmed to expose the sight lines, but they failed the ultimate security test because they installed a weak, useless chain on the front door. All it would take is one good shove from a burglar to either pull the hardware away from the wall or snap the chain in two.

Cheap chains are nothing more than an excuse to open your door to a potentially dangerous situation. Why not remove these devices and eliminate the risk of a home invasion. If you inherited a chain from a previous owner, remove it right away, before any bad habits are picked up by your family members.

Replace door chains with door-viewers with a radius of 180 to 200 degrees to give maximum optics. Purchase a door-viewer or peephole with a cover that falls in front of the inside lens to restrict intruders from using a reverse lens to view inside your home from the outside. Simply move the cover to the side and look through the door-viewer.

If you have a thicker pocket book, consider a video entry system for your home's front door area. Video entry systems are audio/visual security systems that use sophisticated infrared technology to give you a clear, wide-angle view of the area around your front door, even in near-total darkness. These video systems enable you to see who is at your front door through a 4-inch color monitor that turns on automatically when the doorbell rings.

Frank Fourchalk

Security Consultant/Columnist
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