According to Do it Yourself Home Security Systems, windows are the point of entry for thirty percent of residential burglaries. Homeowners often install extra security hardware on doors to discourage all but the most persistent burglars but windows are often ignored.
The security hardware provided on windows is often inadequate and easily defeated. These are good reasons to install additional security hardware, especially on ground floor windows to deter break-ins.
While there are professional burglars who can defeat just about any type of locking device, many burglaries are committed by opportunists who will be turned away by windows that are secured adequately and make entry difficult.
There is a variety of locking mechanisms that can be purchased and easily installed by homeowners.
Consider the Window Type
Evaluate the type of windows installed and consider how the window operates for decisions on what type of security hardware will be most effective. Some windows open by moving them up and down and others slide side to side.
There are double hung windows where both the top and bottom sections move up and down or can in some instances even be tilted in for easier cleaning. Single hung windows where the top section is fixed and only the bottom section can be raised or lowered are also common. There are also casement windows which are louvered and opened by turning a hand crank.
Burglar bars are perhaps the most effective option for window security because where they are installed even breaking the glass will not provide entry. Yet this is an expensive option and one often not chosen for residential installation for aesthetic reasons.
In addition, depending on how burglar bars are locked they can be a safety concern if a window needs to be used as a means of escape during emergencies like a house fire.
If this method is chosen, burglar bars may call for professional installation and care should be taken in selecting a method of securing them so that they can easily be unlatched from the inside and opened in case of an emergency.
Single Hung Window Security
Single hung windows are perhaps the simplest type to secure since only the body section of the window can be opened. Inexpensive thumb screw sash locks can be installed on both side above the top edge of the sash which will prevent the window from being pried up from outside.
There are also expandable, spring-loaded bars that can be purchased that are installed and wedged in a locked position between the top of the sash and bottom of the upper window frame which also render it impossible to pry the window up from the outside.
These expandable bars are also perfect for windows that slide from side to side and can be installed in a similar manner. Both of these choices are simple to install and use and require no tools.
Like many of window security options, it is possible that the locking devices could be accessed and removed from the outside by breaking the window glass but many burglars shy away from breaking glass to gain entry since the sound of breaking glass is so distinctive and noticeable to neighbors and passers by that it could lead to detection.
Double Hung Window Security
Double hung windows are perhaps the more popular type of installation in modern homes. Securing this type of window requires hardware installation that will effectively join the two sections together so that neither can be pried up or down from outside the home.
On simple method for double hung wooden framed windows is to drill holes on each side of the bottom section top sash from the inside that extend completely through the top bottom section sash and about halfway through the lower sash of the top section.
Steel pins or bolts can then be inserted to effectively join the two sashes together and prevent them from being opened from the outside as long as the pins or bolts are in place.
For metal framed windows, installing separate locking hardware on the top and bottom sections or extra hardware to lock the two sections together in the middle may be the best options.
Retail hardware and home improvement store employees are often good sources of advice when it comes to the right type of window security hardware for specific types of windows.
Casement Window Security
Window locking mechanisms designed specifically for casement windows are available that are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. They are installed at the top edge of the window to prevent the window from being pried open from the outside.
While many of the window security hardware types are designed to be manipulated by hand from inside, some are available with locks that require keys.
If this type is chosen, keys should be stored in a readily accessible place near the window so that the windows can be unlocked and opened quickly during an emergency if needed for an exit.
Keeping Windows Locked
The best security hardware is useless if not kept in a locked configuration. Since many homeowners frequently open windows for ventilation which is of course one of the uses windows provide, it is always a good idea to lock the windows as soon as they are closed.
Few people think to check windows before leaving home each time or when retiring to bed in the evening and for that reason they should be normally locked when not open.