The doors to your home are the first line of defense when it comes to burglaries and break-ins. If you don’t have effective locks on your door, you’re skipping on a big part of your home’s security checklist. A deadbolt is the best way to keep your home secure and prevent thieves from knocking down your door.

Burglaries of residential properties account for 62.8 percent of all burglary offenses. It might sound silly to mention locking your door as a critical safety tip, but 34 percent of those burglars enter homes through the front door. If the door is unlocked, they can just turn the handle and walk right in! By keeping your door locked, you’re already one step ahead. Having a deadbolt on the entrance to your home will take a standard door knob lock to the next level. Forced entry is involved in 55.7 percent of burglaries, and a deadbolt will make breaking down a door remarkably more challenging.

What is a Deadbolt and How Does it Work?

A deadbolt is a lock used in addition to your regular door knob that is moved by turning a key or thumb without the use of a spring. They’re heavier and more secure than spring bolts, which work by compressing when the key is in the cylinder to unlock the door. Once the door is closed, the spring automatically jumps back. A deadbolt is manually locked when you are inside your home, unless it is a double-cylinder lock.

Deadbolts are made of three main parts: the cylinder, the throw or bolt, and the thumb. The throw is the part that slides in and out of the door jam and can be locked from the inside by turning the thumb.

Most residential deadbolt locks are single cylinders. This means the door can only be locked from within the house. A double cylinder deadbolt has key access on the outside, making it available to lock from either side of the door. Though the double-cylinder deadbolt is technically more secure, single-cylinder deadbolts are the better option for most homeowners. This is because when the double-cylinder deadbolt is locked, a key would be required to exit, which becomes a safety hazard in the event of a fire.

Where Should You Have Deadbolts?

Ideally, you should have a deadbolt on every entrance to your home –  the front door, the back door, and the door to the garage. Unfortunately, having a deadbolt on the door that leads to your garage is often neglected. The garage door is a vulnerable part of your home security system. They can be easily kicked in, and sometimes even lifted manually. If your car is parked in the driveway, avoid keeping your garage clicker in plain sight. However, if a burglar does get a hold of your garage door key, having a deadbolt on the door from the garage to your house will prevent any further danger.

Will a Deadbolt Keep You Safe?

Locksmiths say a quality deadbolt is the best resistance to a home burglary. But is this enough to keep you safe? Research says that when forceable entry is used, burglars prefer kicking down a door over breaking a window. The noise of glass breaking draws more attention and poses a threat to the burglar. This is a good thing – it means you can focus more on the security of your doors than windows, which means a deadbolt will be significantly helpful.

However, since the possibility of breaking down a front door still exists, some additional safety measures that work well in tandem with a deadbolt are having a strong door and secure door frame. Solid wood and steel-clad doors are much better at resisting a break-in. If your door is made from hollow wood, it may not stand a chance against threats.

Though having a strong door is important, it’s typically the door frame that caves in, not the door itself. Strike plates should be reinforced by 3-inch sturdy screws, and secured to the frame of the house. Also, be sure that your door fits snug within the door frame and consider installing weatherstrips if there are any gaps.

By pairing a quality deadbolt with a strong door and secure door frame, you’ll be in good shape for resisting break-ins. A deadbolt makes residential break-ins much more difficult, and will deter away burglars. A single-cylinder deadbolt is best for homeowners and can help you feel safer in your home. And be sure to give your local Pop-A-Lock a call for any and all deadbolt and locksmithing needs!