A home burglar looks for the easiest ways to get into your house. They want a quick and quiet way to enter your house so they won't be noticed. If it takes too much effort to get into the house, they may pass up your home and move onto the next house. When evaluating the security of your home, start with the exterior doors and locks to make it as difficult as possible for a thief to do their job.
The deadbolts on exterior doors are your first defense against a break-in. If these prove difficult to get passed, a thief may give up and move on. The exterior door locks should be constructed of high quality hardened steel. The best locks will be rated ANSI Grade 1. This means that the lock is made of solid steel and not made using a casting process. Locks made by casting can be shattered by a blow from a hammer or pry bar. The high quality locks also have a solid hardened steel bolt which resists being cut or sawed through.
The steel bolt must slip into the door frame at least one inch to give you the best protection. A shorter bolt may be forced out of the frame by a thief by prying the door away from the frame. The most expensive lock won't keep a thief out if they can pry the door far enough away to slip the bolt past the frame.
Reinforcing the Door and Frame
Along with a quality lock and longer bolt, you can reinforce the door frame and door to deter a thief. First, replace the standard strike plate with a reinforced plate. The strike plate is the rectangular metal plate with the cutout in the middle through which the bolt slips into the door frame. Reinforced strike plates have a metal box attached to where the hole is for the bolt. The bolt slips into this metal box making it harder to force the bolt through a wooden door frame.
Attach metal strips along the length of the door frame and on the side of the door. This makes it difficult to pry the door away from the frame so the thief can access the lock and bolt. Use hardened steel extra long wood screws to attach the metal strips so they can't be pried away from the door or frame.