In the story of The Three Pigs, the Big Bad Wolf is able to enter the Straw and Stick Houses, as they were flimsy and easy to access. The Brick House, however, was strong and steadfast against the Wolf.

Let this be a lesson to all of us to reinforce those doors!

As a matter of fact, recent data suggests that burglars aren’t so much breaking and entering, as they are kicking and entering. Nowadays, burglars are simply kicking in doors to get into the house or garage.

During a kick-in attack, it's not the door itself that breaks. Instead, it's the doorjamb, which absorbs the force of the kick. Protecting your doorway means strengthening all of these pieces - and more.

According to experts, the least expensive - and most effective - way to strengthen your door is to replace the screws that secure the strike plate in your doorjamb. The strike plate is the metal piece that reinforces your doorjamb where it connects with your deadbolt.

The strike plate is attached to the doorjamb with several screws that are designed to connect it with the 2-by-4s that frame your home, says Tim Zehring, executive director of the International Crime Free Association, a nonprofit that trains police officers in crime prevention. Zehring says that some homes, and some new lock sets, come with screws that are just 1 inch long, making them too short to reach the frame — and making the homeowner vulnerable to a kick-in.

Instead, screws should be at least 31/2 inches long. If you don't know how long yours are, unscrew them from the doorjamb. If they are shorter than 31/2 inches, replace them. This longer screws cost an average of 35 cents -- and can be all the difference during a break-in attempt.

These longer screws will withstand kick-in attempts for a minute or more," say Zehring. "Most people kick it two or three or four times, then they move on."

You can pick up door jamb reinforcement kits at your local hardware store.

Photo credit: Tim Samoff, Break-In 2005

Sources: Dallas News, Thwart kick-in burglaries with reinforced doors, frames  | Safety.com, 8 Burglar Deterrents that Work

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