One of the move-in tasks you need to do soon after you get settled into a pre-owned home is to make sure all of the exterior doors defend your home against a possible burglary attempt. This may take little time or require the replacement of entire deadbolts, depending on how conscious the previous homeowners were about security. Here are the critical areas you'll need to addressed to make sure your new home is burglar-proof.
1. Have a locksmith re-key all locks.
This is the minimum you should do if everything else is in good shape. You don't know how many extra house keys are out in the hands of service people and friends of the previous owners. The real estate agent may have given access to maintenance personnel to cleanup, repair and stage the house for the sale. Make sure these people can't just walk into your house with their keys.
2. Check on the security of the deadbolts.
The deadbolt is the first defense against a burglar. If you make it difficult to get through the door, the thief may give up and walk away instead of risk being observed trying to force the door open. Have any lock repaired that needs a minor adjustment, such as a cylinder that is dirty and difficult to turn. Consider replacing a lock that has more serious issues.
If there is enough space between the door and frame to allow a thief to pry the door further away, they may do so to access the bolt and cut through it. Consider replacing the existing lock with a vertical deadbolt. This lock uses a steel bolt which travels vertically up through a series of channels which hide the bolt. A thief can't access the bolt at all with this lock.
3. Check the integrity of the door frames.
If the wooden door frame is weak or shows signs of rot, a thief may try to force the deadbolt through the frame to access the house. Have the door frame rebuilt or reinforced to prevent this from happening. Also consider installing reinforced striker plates.
The striker plate is the rectangular strip that mounts on the door frame. A hole in the plate allows the deadbolt to slip into the door frame. A reinforced plate has a steel box built over the hole. The bolt slips into this metal box instead of the wooden frame, making it more difficult to force the bolt through the frame. These plates are also mounted to the frame using extra-long hardened steel screws which make it hard to pry the plate away from the frame.
For assistance with the locks, contact a professional like Agape 24 Hour Locksmith Columbia.