According to FBI Uniform Crime Reports, there are more than 2.3 million burglaries across the nation - one every 14 seconds -- costing Americans more than $3 billion annually. Burglars love to enter homes through backyard or side-yard basement windows because of the low visibility to outsiders. If you haven’t taken measures to install or increase security of the basement windows in your home, you may be easy prey.
Make a quick inspection of your basement. If your existing basement windows are not made of shatter-resistant glass, consider replacing them with polycarbonate or acrylic windows. If the sashes and frames are cracked and old, or if you haven’t installed simple locks or latches, your basement windows are not adequately secured against break-ins. Simple measures can reduce your vulnerability.
Bars, Locks, and Latches Keep the Burglars Out
To keep your basement window sashes secure, install locks in the window channels, but be sure that anyone using the basement window can leave in emergency. Place a key in an obvious, fire-resistant location. You can easily wedge the lower sash shut with a short length of scrap wood. Many people install Charley bars to prevent the window from opening more than a crack for ventilation. The bars can be removed when you want to open the window. Charley bars are readily available at your home improvement center.
Some people prefer to add heavy-duty steel or iron security bars or grilles across the exteriors of basement windows. These can be expensive, but they’re secure. If you chose this alternative, make sure the bars contain quick-release latches that operate from the inside in case of fire or other emergencies.