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Century Lofts - Security

 

Improvements to Fence Security

Century Lofts has a chain link fence around the side and back of the outside parking lot.   In previous years, we have had people cut the fence or unbolt the fence supports to get into the parking area and break into cars.   We have put epoxy on the bolts of the fence supports, and have added supports along the bottom to reduce the chance of people coming through the fence that way.

Century Lofts has a decorative fence on the front of the parking lot with a remote controlled gate.   The gate and part of the fence is about 10' high, but the fence near the building is about 7' high, and we have had people climb over this fence.

In mid-2015 strips of small metal posts 1.5" high and about 2 inches apart were put on the front decorative fence, and this seems to work well.   We were even able to put it on the moving gate, where there was not much clearance on the top where the gate goes through supports for roller guides.   This product is called MAXguard and is available here.   For about $70 you get qty 6 of the four foot sections of the product, along with a tube of construction adhesive.   The product has a strong plastic base and metal posts.   The product is available in 2 versions - one is meant for fences that have a flat or slightly rounded top surface, and the other version goes over the top and sides of a fence that is no more than 3/4" thick - this is more for wooden fences.   This product is available at Home Depot, but is only carried in their online store.

At Century Lofts where the fence is only 7' high, the top of the fence was wide enough that we put 2 sets of spikes, slightly staggered so that there is even more deterrence to climbing the fence.   We have them attached to metal and brick, and the product can be attached to wood as well.   We painted the product either black or a brick color to make the product visually more appealing.   The top of the "spikes" are flat (not pointed), so the spikes hurt when someone tries to climb the fence, but they do not injure people unless they really try to climb the fence.   The product sounds kind of flimsy since it is made of a plastic base and installs with construction adhesive, but it is very strong - we have a slightly bent metal spike where someone apparently learned the hard way about the spikes.   The adhesive held and the plastic did not bend or break.

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MAXguard Strip

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Here is MAXguard installed on gate, and on top of brick posts

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The top of the fence was wide enough that we put 2 staggered rows of MAXguard on the low part of the fence to get more spike coverage

 

Improvements to Residential Door Security

Doors are not always as strong as you might think.   Specifically, doors can be kicked in, or the lock can be broken or moved by hitting it with a hammer.   On doors with wood frames, the latch plate that screws into the frame should have the screws replaced with 4" screws, so they are secured to the wall and door framing, and not just a 1/2" piece of wood trim.

There are better ways to secure a door.   If you search on the Internet, there are 3 products that are recommended:

  1. A strong latch plate.   This website shows good and bad latch plate installations - putting 4" screws into a wooden door frame is a good start, but you can upgrade a latch plate with better products than just putting 4" screws on your existing strike plate.   Some of these replacement latch plates have 4 screws instead of just 2 to make them even stronger.
  2. A good 1" deadbolt.   As far as deadbolts go, you need to have a 1" throw deadbolt, and use all the time - don't leave them unlocked when you go out for a "short time".   Here is a link to why many mass-marketed dead bolts and "smart Key" systems are not very secure.   And this link shows how a hammer can defeat a dead bolt, and why a quality dead bolt (and door plate) is important.
  3. A wrap around door plate.   Details on a wrap around door frame are shown below.

Century Lofts has fire-rated solid wood doors in a metal frame, and originally came with door locks that are very strong.   So the deadbolt and latch plate do not need to be upgraded.   But a "wrap-around door plate" put on the deadbolt latch is highly recommended.

The residential doors at Century Lofts are considered commercial grade.   The doors are 1 3/4" thick, and have a 2 3/4" backset from the vertical door edge to the centerline of the door locks.   The wooden doors have 2 1/8" diameter holes cut for each of the 2 locks, and the spacing is 7 3/4" between the deadbolt and the regular lock.

The Don-Jo company makes a highly-recommended door plate.   Because Century Lofts has a 7 3/4" spacing between the door locks, a single plate is not made that can cover both locks, so a door plate will only cover 1 lock - two plates can be used to cover both locks if desired.   The Don-Jo 81-CW-S (brushed stainless steel finish) fits the doors at Century Lofts.   The plate is 4 1/2" high and 4 1/4" wide, with the correct door width, backset and hole size for the lock, and is 22 gauge (0.031") thick.   It can be found on Amazon.com for under $20.   This door plate will require the door edge to have some wood chiseled away to make clearance for the plate.   There is a template in pdf form here.

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Don-Jo
Part Number 81-CW with "S" Finish


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You get the Plate, 2 screws to hold the deadbolt to the plate, and 4 screws for door

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From the back, the plate protrudes - we have to remove wood from the door to make this fit

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Door with original hardware



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Door with deadbolt removed



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We need to remove wood from the door to let the plate sit flush


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Putting the dead bolt on plate helps get a good fit test


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Wood has been chiseled away to make room for plate, and larger box opening has been marked with chisel

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Here is door with all wood removed



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Door with Don-Jo plate installed



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Door with Don-Jo plate installed



 

Pictures of Burglars

Unfortunately in 2015, there was been a team of 2 burglars that broke into residences at Century Lofts on 4 different occasions.   They typically had one of them stand outside the front door and pretend to text or call on their phones until a resident of Century Lofts enters or exits the building, and they get inside.   They then hang around the lobby until the area is clear, and they let the other burglar in.   Although Century Lofts has solid wood fire rated doors on the residences, they used a sharp screwdriver or something similar to pick away at the wood around the lock, and get the lock to open.   That is why the "Wrap Around Door Plate" is recommended.

Pictures of the 2 burglars are below - they have not been apprehended:

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