Within a matter of minutes on the night of Feb. 19, 2018, three home burglaries occurred in Henderson, Nevada — a suburb just outside of Las Vegas. In each case, the front door had been kicked in and various valuable items were stolen.
One of the victims said he came home from work to find his front door wide open and all of the lights on. He thought the burglars were still inside and reached for a knife as he made his way through the house. (For the record, I do not recommend doing this. If you suspect there is an intruder inside your home, call 911 and wait for law enforcement to arrive.)
Henderson Police were able to piece together a vague description of the suspects. They also had reason to believe a 2000s gold four-door sedan might be linked to these crimes.
A few days later on Feb. 22, Henderson police announced they had arrested three people in connection with the burglaries. Officials identified them as 35-year-old Dominiquie Waynetril Williams, 26-year-old Billy Dee Williams and 28-year-old Regla Milagros Gorra.
It turns out the trio had committed two more similar break-ins. As police were responding to a call about one of these additional crimes, they spotted the suspects in a vehicle matching the description from previous burglaries.
The officers pulled over the vehicle and discovered tons of stolen property. The three thieves were booked into the Henderson Detention Center on home invasion and other related charges.
When Trouble Comes Knocking
Your front door is the most visible entry point to your home. It is also one of the most common ways a criminal breaks in. In fact, about 34% of burglars enter through the front door. Most know exactly where to look for a hidden spare key or — if they know there’s no one home — they will simply kick in the door.
My point is people often overlook the physical security of their front door. An even bigger issue is that even in this day and age, many people still leave their front door unlocked — or simply forget to lock it when they leave.
The bottom line is a good door is your home’s first line of defense against brazen criminals. This is why I want to share some stronger options for your front door:
• Solid wood door — A solid wood door is one of the strongest doors you can buy. It also resists wear and tear better than other materials. Solid wood doors are less likely to dent if someone tries to kick them in and can easily be repainted when needed. However, a solid wood door is more expensive than other door materials. For example, a solid wood door such as this one from Home Depot will cost upward of $1,000. But it’s made from solid wood without any fillers or veneers. When you’re shopping for a new wood door, definitely make sure it’s solid wood — not hollow
• Steel — Steel is one of the most common types of doors you find on homes these days. They are relatively inexpensive compared with solid wood, and they hold up well against weather. Another advantage to steel doors is that they don’t require regular maintenance like a wood door. However, they dent more easily. If someone tries to kick in a steel door, it would most likely need to be replaced — even if the forced entry was unsuccessful — because dents and scratches can easily begin to rust and are difficult to cover up. Depending on the design of the steel door, they cost anywhere from $200–1,000
• Fiberglass — Another common material for front doors is fiberglass, because it can be purchased in different colors and finishes — you can even buy a fiberglass door with a wood finish texture that makes it look like real wood. Another advantage is fiberglass can be painted or stained so you can easily customize your door. Plus, fiberglass holds up well to regular wear and tear, including weather. The problem with these doors is that they tend to crack or break under severe impact. After multiple kicks, a fiberglass door could easily bend or break, allowing the criminal to enter your home. Fiberglass doors typically cost between $400–1,000 depending on the design, so they aren’t cheap by any means.
Your best option when it comes to front-door security is a solid wood door. This will provide the best intruder protection even though it does require a little extra maintenance. Make sure no matter what your door is made of that you have a quality deadbolt — I recommend using locks made by Schlage or Medeco.
Finally, even though doors with windows might be cosmetically appealing, they’re a bad idea. They make a solid door pointless — all someone has to do is break the window and reach their hand in to unlock the door.
Remember, criminals aren’t the most creative of people. Since the majority of break-ins and home invasions occur through the front door, it’s a good idea to invest in a solid one made of sturdy materials.