A common entry point for burglars is to try and force or compromise the door lock. This is the main access point the property and can sometimes be the weakest point. There is a wide range of door locks on the market with varying prices and levels of security.
If you are looking at various types of home insurance, then a lot of insurers will now enquire what type of door locks are fitted. Sometimes there requirements on different types of standards, or by having a certain type of lock fitted may incur a discount.
Euro Cylinder Multi-Point Locking System
These are normally fitted to UPVC, composite or aluminium doors. This type of lock is sometimes fitted to hinged or sliding patio doors. The euro cylinder door lock will control a multi-point locking system. This bolts the door into the door frame using multiple hold points, providing a solid resistance if the door is forced.
Several years ago a design weakness was identified in the cheaper versions of euro cylinder door locks, this enable the lock to be snapped using a simple tool. Figures for December 2011 showed that 27% of all burglaries across West Yorkshire involved the lock snapping method of entry on euro cylinders door locks. Fortunately this method of burglary has reduced since then, but it is a common method of entry to be aware of.
When choosing a euro cylinder door lock, it is essential to make sure that it is an anti snap lock that meets Sold Secure SS312 Diamond Cylinder or TS007 3-Star Cylinder standard. These standards show that the door lock has been tested against known methods of attack, such as lock picking or drilling and also lock snapping.
Five-Lever Mortice Deadlock
These types of lock are usually fitted to wooden doors. The lock operates by 5 levers that move into positon when the key is turned. These are normally traditional locks that will feature on older buildings and have been slowly replaced as modern doors are usually UPVC or composite based, requiring multi-point locking system and cylinder lock.
There are many different types of mortice locks available to buy, for safety it is advisable to purchase one that conforms to BS 3621 standards. These mortice lock standards ensure that the hardware has the essential 5 lever system, with at least 1000 key differentiations. Also the locks will need to have anti-pick and anti-drill properties to protect them from forced burglary. Finally, there needs to be a minimum of 20mm bolt throw into the door frame to ensure adequate strength.
Rim Automatic Deadlatch with Key-Locking Handle
Commonly fitted to the front door, a rim automatic deadlatch is sometimes referred to as a nightlatch and historically as Yale locks (until other competitors entered the market).
This type of lock will be fitted on the internal side of the door with an external key locking cylinder. It is essential to make sure that this type of lock has an internal locking handle. There has been incidents where burglars can use strong wire to loop over the handle from the letterbox and simply open the door, if it is locked internally that will be unable to do this. It is also essential, as with a mortice lock that the Rim Automatic Deadlatch conforms to BS 3621 standard of safety and security.
Security Standards and Safety
Although a lock with an additional security standard may sometimes cost more, they will have been vigorously tested to make sure that they are as secure as can be from known methods a burglar might use to gain entry.
It is also highly important to consider fire safety. If the door is a main exit point in the event of fire, then all persons in the property must know how to operate the lock or be able to access the keys in the event they need to evacuate.