Unlocking the Secrets to Home Security - Protecting Your Door against Burglars

Let’s agree here, your home and belongings are precious. And that’s why we’re sharing these must-read tips for securing your doors, keeping burglars out, and safeguarding your apartment or condo. Check out our latest blog for all you need to know about home security!

23.10.20238min8min

Burglar-resistant door that meets all necessary security standards

In the words of a favourite song, many people just want to ‘break free’ - escape the rat race, leave their comfort zone, or reinvent their daily routine. Unfortunately, some people break in as well as break out.

In Switzerland, it happens over 24,000 times a year. Most often via windows and patio doors, but apartment and house doors are also easy targets for burglars. Many then choose to install a thick door and think they’re home and dry. Chance would be a fine thing. Optimal door security depends on having a seamless gap between the frame, lock, and door panel. Learn more in our latest blog post. Our expert, Daniel Moser, Founder and General Manager of Moser Sicherheit AG offers access technology, door compartment planning and burglary protection solutions. He gave us the lowdown on what you as a homeowner should know about burglar-proof doors and locking mechanisms.

What is a burglar-proof door?

Several factors count when it comes to making your door burglar-proof. Protection is only as good as its weakest point - which is why you need to get all door components checked for security. A burglar-proof door has the following features:

  1. A cylinder with security rosettes and fittings
    Daniel Moser advises, «Pay special attention to security rosettes and cylinder fittings. If a cylinder is broken, a screwdriver can be used to unlock the door, no matter how good the lock behind it is».

  2. A multi-point locking system
    Multipoint locking is your way to get a lock that is truly secure, with locking points distributed over the entire height of the door. Like a safe, the pressure is distributed over several points when the door is prised open.

  3. A well-anchored door frame and solidly screwed closing bars
    Daniel Moser explains: «Door or steel frames are often no more than a sliver of metal, akin to an aluminium can. And that’s not enough to stop burglars, even if armed with no more than a humble screwdriver».

  4. Doors made of laminated safety glass
    More often than not, you’ll find that balcony and other side entrance doors are made of standard glass. However, we strongly recommend laminated safety glass here, with a tear-resistant film. The door handle should also be lockable.

  5. Extra tip for sliding doors:
    You can also use a wooden strip to secure sliding doors – even when away. Clamp it at the bottom between the sliding door and the nearest wall. This prevents the door from being opened, even when the handle is turned, because the strip blocks the sliding mechanism. A cheap and efficient solution.

Resistance classes

Those of you reading no doubt already know that a fortress is the safest kind of castle. But needless to say, there are many different kinds. The level of resistance of windows and doors is specified in the form of differing resistance classes. These range between the abbreviations RC 1 (Resistance Class) 1 and RC 6, offering the lowest and highest levels of security respectively.

  • RC 1 N: Protection against vandalism + physical violence, no guaranteed resistance period.

  • RC 2 N: Protection against opportunistic offenders armed with simple tools like screwdrivers or pliers, 3 min resistance time.

  • RC 2: Mechanically identical to RC 2 N but supplemented with attack-resistant glazing.

  • RC 3: Protection against experienced perpetrators or opportunistic offenders, with additional lever tool - resistance duration 5 min.

For private sector residents, our expert recommends installing doors of resistance class RC2 or more. However, the (even slightly) paranoid or justifiably cautious among you should invest in RC3 doors: These protect against perpetrators who use additional lever tools and it will take them longer to break your door open. We recommend this option if you’re living in an upscale spot.

Check and improve the burglar resistance of your own door

So now you know the musts for burglar-proof doors, no doubt you are wondering where your own door ranks on the security scale? Some doors have a security classification sticker that tells you the security class, but displaying the label is not customary or compulsory.

Professional advice is the very best way to be 100% sure about how burglar-proof your door is. A specialist or the manufacturer itself can assess the condition of the door and support your efforts to make it more secure. The Sicheres Wohnen Schweiz (SWS) association trains and educates expert burglary protection advisers and has a website with qualified companies and consultancies.

When push comes to shove, do you get the feeling your door is not as secure as you would like? If you have the budget, Daniel Moser advises replacing it completely: «That’s the only guaranteed way to get a tried and tested front door – something which retrofitting will not allow». Moser bonus tip: Getting an RC-classified door installed will often qualify you for a reduction in insurance premiums if you ask.

If the budget won’t stretch, «pimping» your old door with individual measures is another option. First on your agenda should be replacing the locking elements, which also helps maximise your protection. You may also want to «double up». This is when you reinforce the outside of the door with an additional wooden panel, to prevent any tools from being inserted between the door and the inside of the frame. Whatever you decide, you’re best off consulting specialists.

The best way to avoid break-ins for condo owners

Across Switzerland, police crime statistics suggest that apartment buildings were almost three times as prone to burglaries as detached houses in 2021.

But how can you protect yourself if you live in one? When you have more than three different households in a single block, the front door becomes an increasingly weak point in statistical terms. Either it goes unlocked because there are often ground-floor shops, or neighbours open the door at the drop of a hat when the doorbell rings. All of which means the key protection area you need to focus on is still your own front door – ideally in the RC2 or RC3 category.

Caution! Unlike detached houses, retrofitting a flat door in condominiums is far from easy, because they are often standardised fire doors that you cannot change. Even well-intentioned improvements, like installing special locks or doublings, can render the fire protection certification null and void. Ultimately, the following rule applies - fire protection prevails over anti-burglar measures.

If in any doubt, contact the door manufacturer. They will know which modifications are within the permissibly tested range and which work you may commission.

Burglary protection: Electronic & organisational measures

Types of locks, resistance classes and everything else we’ve described all come into the category of mechanical protective functions. But over and above burglary protection, installing electronic devices is another option. Note the following caveat though: electronic burglary protection or alternative security measures can never substitute mechanical security. A door peephole or a camera is not a replacement for a resistant locking system or similar. That said, electronic measures like alarm systems or surveillance cameras can be seen from outside and help deter burglars. Likewise the automatic lighting in front of the house entrance. Needless to say, thieves tend to thrive in the dark.

And please remember, it doesn’t stop at mechanical and electronic measures either - your behaviour matters too! Moser bonus tip: «Even the best RC class is useless unless you lock the door completely. Accordingly, where possible, always turn the key twice in the lock so that all lock bolts are fully extended.» Keeping your neighbours informed and on side is also part of the organisational measures you should take and one of the best ways to ward off thieves. Inform your neighbours when you’ll be away and if even the slightest bit suspicious of anything you spot in your area, call 117.

Bottom line: Regardless of whether you opt for behavioural, mechanical or electronic protection, the best approach to burglary protection is ultimately working from all sides at the same time. After all, every system is only as good as its weakest link. It’s no use installing even the costliest alarm system if your windows are not burglar-proof. Ergo an expensive door if you don’t lock it properly. «You’re never going to have zero risk, even with a double-locked RC 3 door and camera surveillance», explains Daniel Moser, «so don’t waste money on installations and costly equipment that won’t do the job - always seek professional advice».