Burglar Proofing. What does it really mean?

Burglar proofing or ‘hardening of the structure’, as it is known, is a very worthwhile project to perform on your home or business. Executing a meaningful “Burglar Proofing” project starts with knowing the level of security you require and matching your needs with the correct level of security offered by different security products.

Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight is good advice. It’s similar to: don’t try to burglar proof your property with products that a Burglar will smash through in 5 seconds.

You should be careful when you come across products advertising themselves as Burglar Proof, it’s a general term that’s misleading, and therefore dangerous. Impact Resistant is the correct term because it’s what the testing laboratory’s use to describe the ability of a window or door to resist rupture. This article will clear up any problems you may have in your search for Burglar Proof windows and doors.

Burglar Proof Learning

Key Concepts.

Crime analysis reveals there are Three primary types of burglaries:

forcible entry – Break and Enter

unlawful entry without force – Walk in an open door

attempted forcible entry – Break in is not successful

95% of burglaries involve a forceful entry into the home, which means physical damage to your personal property.

Burglars force their way into homes to steal valuable items. “Force” being the important word here. There’s all kinds of force a burglar can use. Here’s a partial list going from light force to extreme force.

1. Throwing their body against a door

2. Throwing rocks or bricks against a glass door or window

3. Smashing glass with a crowbar or hammer

4. Hacking away at a door or window with an axe or pick

5. Using power tools like a drill or Sawsall

6. Trying to blow the lock out of a door by shooting bullets

7. Trying to blow the glass out of a window by shooting bullets

8. Blowing up window or door with explosives

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Why the term “Burglar Proof” isn’t good enough when talking about real security.

Real World example..

So let’s say you apply a layer of ‘burglar proof safety film’ on the glass patio door at the back of your house. And lets say a burglar throws himself at it (or herself, but burglary is mostly a man’s pastime). And because the film is 10mil thick the burglar can’t break the glass and stumbles away with a sore hip and shoulder. You could feasibly say that the film is “Burglar-Proof”.

But let’s say the next night the same intruder shows up, he knows you’re on vacation, because your mail is piling up. And this time he brings an axe. 5 big heavy swings later and he’s grabbing a beer from your fridge and heading up to your master bedroom to claim his ill gotten gains. Would you still say the window film is “Burglarproof”? I wouldn’t either.

Professionals like us in the industry use the term “impact resistant”. (LINK) There are several scientifically measured levels of Impact Resistance. Each level is specific and testable and gathers specific data on things like:

1. What tool is being used

2. How many strikes does it take

3. what is the size of the hole that is made

4. how long did it take

So “Burglar Proof Glass” is a meaningless term unless it’s quantified. Thankfully there are international standards which use similar standards to each other thus creating clear understanding of what level of “Impact Resistance” a particular window or door may have.

The story doesn’t end there, glass isn’t the only part of a building envelope a burglar tries to break,  door and window frames, and the hardware holding them closed are vulnerable targets as well. These locations demand intelligent design and robust materials if they are to  frustrate intruders.

Keep Learning about Burglar Proofing by reading these great articles.