Security Inspections Can Save Homeowners Big Bucks

Cpl. Mike Bedrich thinks like a criminal.

"They're going to look for an open door. They're going to look for an open window," he said. "They're easy access in; they're easy access out."

Bedrich, of the Southlake Police Department, gives homes the once-over before the bad guys do, checking windows, doors and deadbolts.

He looks for dual-locking devices on windows and proper deadbolts on exterior doors that will "require a lot of time, trouble and attention."

Passing Bedrich's inspection can save some homeowners hundreds of dollars on their insurance. Policyholders with either State Farm or Farmers Insurance can save 5 percent. Other companies may offer similar discounts.

"In today's economy, we're finding more and more break-ins, more and more thefts," said Dan Sweeny, a State Farm agent. "If people have their windows and doors all fixed up according to this discount we can apply, then it's just better for us, as well as the policy holder."

The free home-security inspection takes less than an hour. Not every city offers them, but many do.

On its Web site, Carrollton provides a list of what police look for:

  • Exterior doors are solid core doors that are 1 3/8 inches thick and are secured by deadbolt locks. Deadbolt locks must lock with a minimum bolt throw of 1 inch that penetrates a metal strike plate. If the door secured by the deadbolt lock has a breakable glass within 40 inches of the lock, the lock must be key-operated from both sides unless prohibited by the life safety codes.
  • Metal doors are secured by deadbolt locks as described above.
  • Double doors meet the specifications for exterior doors as listed above, have the inactive door secured by header and threshold bolts that penetrate metal strike plates, and in case of glass located within 40 inches of header and threshold bolts, have the bolts flush mounted in the edge of the door.
  • Sliding glass doors are secured by secondary locking devices to prevent lifting and prying.
  • Dutch doors have concealed flush-bolt locking devices to interlock upper and lower halves and are secured by a deadbolt lock as described above.
  • Garage doors are equipped with a key-operated locking device. (Garage door openers.)
  • Windows are secured by auxiliary locking devices. An auxiliary locking device required by this section must include screws, wooden dowels, pinning devices, and key-operated locks. In areas which life safety codes permit, metal bars or grating, if mounted to prevent easy removal, may be substituted for auxiliary locking devices. Jalousie or louvered windows do not meet the specifications of this section unless they have metal grating mounted as provided for above.

Bedrich said the benefits go far beyond the money saved.

"You can feel confident that you can go out of town, you can go to dinner and not have to constantly worry that you're going to be the victim of some type of crime," he said.

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