Building Barriers: Enhance property security with fences, doors and locks.

Fences are supposed to make good neighbours. This may be open to debate, especially if your tall fence blocks a neighbour’s view, but there is no question that fences, doors and other security features can block the paths of burglars and vandals alike. And each related enhancement contributes to an overall sense of security.

Even a common chain link fence offers room for improvement.

These structures can be enhanced by introducing extended line posts spaced no more than 50 feet apart, additional braces, rails and tension wires, and a top guard which makes the fence tougher to scale. The view through the links might even need to be obscured with a layer of fabric.

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But whether working with a fence or a building’s wall, the biggest weaknesses will come in the form of required entrances and exits.

Choosing the right locks

The selected locks make some of the biggest differences here. While a spring-loaded latch will lock a doorknob itself, a more effective deadbolt slides into the surrounding frame. Deadbolts that move horizontally, and can be forced out of a strike plate, can be further enhanced by adding a vertical deadbolt which slides through metal rings on the door’s frame.

Mechanical locks like these can be operated using several types of keys, such as those which fit into a cylinder tumbler, a warded key (common in uses such as cabinet doors), or a magnetic key card. There are also designs that are controlled with combinations or time locks.

The all-important security is not limited to mechanical designs, either. Electromagnetic locks use a magnetic force to hold locks tight, while their electro-mechanical counterparts rely on electric power to move a bolt or strike.

Regardless of the design, those who are responsible for larger buildings often opt for the convenience of master keys able to open multiple locks. In cases like these, the keys will simply need to be carefully controlled so they are not lost, copied or stolen.

As important as the locks will be, they are not the only pieces of hardware that will play a role in security. Other options include the choice of hinges, fire exit hardware, and exit locks. Each will have its own design considerations.

Consider the structure of the door itself.

Solid wood and solid core wood doors, for example, will always better withstand brute force better than their hollow counterparts. And such access points can be further enhanced with crossbars, gates and screens.

Planters, bollards and jersey barriers in front of windows and doors will further protect against “smash and grab” attacks when burglars try to drive through the glass doors on a retail store.

Even the glazing on a window can offer extra protection. Security glazing created with laminated glass, acrylic or polycarbonate material will transmit light, but can still absorb high-energy impacts without sacrificing structural integrity. Bullet-resisting materials – particularly those used to create enclosures known as bandit barriers — can be another valuable addition for businesses which handle large quantities of cash.

They all contribute to better barriers.