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Windows are generally a weak link when it comes to residential security. They can be pried or broken with a tool, lifted from their tracks and the panes removed. There are numerous ways to increase the security to windows. All you have to do is conduct a simple survey of the existing windows by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How effective is the window design?
  • What are the weak points?
  • What is the access from the ground, garage, porch, roof, tree, fire escape, ledge or balcony etc…?
  • Is the glass shatter resistant?
  • What is the state of repair of the sash and frame?
  • Are the locking mechanisms functional and are they engaged?
  • Are the sight lines to the windows open or closed to view?
  • Is the surrounding area well lit at night?

Window Security Tips:

  • Any window that is not to be used as a fire exit can simply be secured by nailing or screwing it permanently closed or adding grillwork.
  • Vertical sliding (double hung) or horizontally sliding windows can be pinned with a nail or metal pin that can be removed. Any keyless latches can be secured by drilling a hole through the latch and inserting a removable pin or replacing the existing latch with a keyed latch set.
  • Casement and awning windows can be further secured by simply replacing keyless latches with keyed latches or keyed slide bolt. Install a pin system through the latch mechanism that can be removed when required.
  • Basement windows can also be secured by using grillwork, guards and bar mechanisms. They can be installed with one-way screws, pins or padlocks. Ensure that at least one window has a means of operation so that it can be opened for possible escape and that all basement windows in bedroom areas are operable for safety reasons.
  • For double-hung windows without special locks, use a pin to make them harder to pry open. Drill a downward sloping hole through the top of the bottom window frame and into (but not through) the bottom of the top frame. To secure the window, insert a pin or nail into this hole.
  • Double-hung windows usually have latches; these are NOT locks and keep windows closed against the weather.
  • Crank-open and awning type windows do not offer good security because individual panes can be pried or removed. Consider installing metal bars or grills on the inside of this type of window or replace it with a more secure-type. 
  • If the window is in a bedroom that does not have an exterior door, any security bars on the window must be operable from the inside without the use of any tools or special knowledge.

Note Fire Caution: Before making any alterations to your home to improve security, inspect your home and plan for a variety of exits in case of fire.