Today, we’re talking about home security and the often-overlooked entrance to your home… your window well. Window well security is often overlooked until it’s too late, not something we’d wish on anyone. Below are a few tips from experts on how to burglar proof your home. However, first let me share a quick story about my family’s experience with this.
The Doorbell Rang
Years ago, my daughter had something pretty scary happen. She was in her master bedroom in the basement of their newly moved-in-home. With one child napping and another on the way, she opted to not make the trek up the stairs to see who had just rung the doorbell.
She wasn’t expecting anyone, and it was probably a solicitor she thought. Continuing to go about her business in her room, she all of a sudden heard a thud outside the window. She turned around to see a man had jumped down into her window well. Screaming and immediately searching for a phone to call the police, she was in a panic. Meanwhile, the man quickly climbed out of the well and ran to catch a truck that then quickly sped down the street. Had she not been home or in that particular room the end results could have been even more disastrous.
If not addressed, window well security can be a serious issue. The police never told her if they found the man who dropped into her window well but did mention that there had been a series of break-ins in the area. Window well security can be a serious issue for you and your family if preventative measures aren’t taken. Needless to say, my daughter moved picking up her grates from our shop at the top of her priority list.
Window Well Security
With building code changes since the 1970s, larger window wells are the norm. These large window wells offer significant cover to anyone trying to hide in them. We can’t stress enough the importance of addressing window well security on your home. Many times, homeowners will push window well security behind more aesthetically pleasing improvements to the home, it’s natural to want to see where your money goes. Window well security is an investment in protecting your home and valuables from burglaries. Grates designed to last a lifetime, like Adjust-A-Grates are a one time purchase, there are no recurring fees.
Thankfully in recent years, burglaries have been declining, according to the FBI. Yet there were still over a million and a half burglaries in 2016 across the US. That’s 1 burglary every 21 seconds.
What’s more alarming is that most break-ins occur during the day in broad daylight, between 6 am and 6 pm. With the peak of burglaries in the months of June, July, and August according to the same FBI crime stats. The times that correlate with most people being away from their homes at work. These are also the months that are synonymous with family vacations.
While not all break-ins are through the basement, burglars are often described as opportunistic. They look for a home that displays easy-target characteristics like accessible windows and doors with coverage to hide. In an article by Claire Martin published in the Denver Post in May 2015 two Denver Police Detectives, Fred Ybarra and William P. Monahan Jr. give some advice on burglar-proofing your home.
“The more difficult you make it for a burglar to get in, the likelier they are to look for an easier house,” Ybarra told Claire.
Here are some of the items the two detectives call to Claire’s attention in the article:
- Answer Your Door – let people know you’re home, you don’t have to open your door to tell them to go away.
- Large landscaping features – like bushes and shrubs offer quality hiding places while burglars investigate windows and doors further.
- Keep Keys Out of View – don’t offer the opportunity of a return visit.
- Rear Entrances – entry to your home is more likely to occur at the back of the home, where burglars can hide behind fencing, sheds, and landscape.
- Post “Beware of Dog” Signs – dogs have a built-in alarm system, particularly large protective breeds.
- Use sturdy doors – with deadbolts, both at the front and back of your home.
- Keep your doors locked – and windows too, even when home.
- Use your blinds – tilt them in a manner that doesn’t allow someone to look into your home from the outside.
- Garage – keep your garage door closed, again burglars are opportunistic.
- Make friends with your neighbors – they are often better than an alarm system.
- Use grates on basement window wells – Detective Monahan said, “Grates discourage basement break-ins. One thing to remember with houses that have bigger window wells: You need to put a surface grate on top. It’s easy for a burglar to hide in a deep window well, and be completely out of sight while he’s working on that window.”
- Motion sensing lights –use around the exterior of your home for anyone snooping around in the cover of darkness.
It has been our experience that the sight of an Adjust-A-Grate resting on your well is enough to deter most burglars. The Adjust-A-Grate, to someone unfamiliar with the grate, appears to be bolted to the well. A passerby would not usually take the time to investigate. For added window well security we offer an optional Security Kit with Quick Release that secures your grate to the well. This Security Kit discourages burglars from using this as an entry point to your home and will typically prompt them to find easier pickings. The quick release feature allows someone inside the home the ability to easily release and exit in an emergency.
Note: The optional Security Kit with Quick Release is designed specifically for use with an Adjust-A-Grate. However, we have had several customers modify this product to accommodate their existing grates. This article details the best ways we have found to do this.
Thankfully the incident with my daughter never escalated into anything more than a giant scare, but that’s not to say everyone is so lucky. We take your window well security seriously and if you have any questions about how we can help you secure your window well please visit our product page here or contact us.