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Last updated: 1 October, 2023

Door and window alarms are an excellent way to prevent you from becoming a victim of burglary.

An intruder is probably going to enter your home through a door or a window. You’ve got lots of them and they’re relatively easy to get open using a screwdriver or a well-aimed kick in the case of the front door. So it makes sense to make it as hard as possible for a thief to use these entry points to get into your home.

The good news is that an intruder is not going to spend hours trying to get into your home. He’s hoping to find an unlocked door or a window not fully closed or latched.

They will cruise a street and look for homes that have easy access to the side windows or doors at the back of the house – homes that don’t have a solid fence or a locked gate that prevent access to the side of the house or backyard.

Knock Knock…

After knocking on the front door and confirming no one is home,  they will head around to the side of your home.

After checking that a neighbor can’t see them, they will use a screwdriver or some pry bar and try to force a window or door open. It’s surprisingly simple to do as our apprentice, Tara demonstrates in this short video

The standard locks and latches on doors and windows are not really designed to withstand any sort of attack.

I’ve attended many homes after a break-in has occurred. It’s not unusual to find evidence an intruder trying to force several windows or doors before he succeeds. If you can make it as hard as you possibly can you stand an excellent chance of him moving down the road to an easier target.

So it makes sense to electronically protect our doors and windows.

If an intruder opens or smashes a door or window the alarm will be triggered immediately. By having the alarm trigger at the point of entry you stand a much better chance or preventing a break in. The goal of this article is to demonstrate how to do this reliable, whether the home is occupied or not.

False Sense of Security

Magnetic reed switches have been used for years to protect doors and windows.

When installed correctly they are reliable and will rarely give a false alarm.

But they can only detect an intruder if the window is opened. But what if the window is not opened? In the videos above, the window had a reed switch installed, so if the alarm had been switched on (it wasn’t for this demo) the sirens would have sounded as soon as Tara opened the window.

So it makes sense to have an alarm that detects a break-in through a door or window.

By having the loud inside and outside sirens trigger at the very moment a breach occurs, you will very likely deter the intruder from entering your home.
However, had the window been smashed instead of forced open (it happens), no alarm would have occurred and the intruder would have entered the home, and headed for the master bedroom to search for jewellery and other items that could readily be sold for cash

So if we’re serious about detecting an intruder at the point of entry we need to not only detect if the door or window is forced but also smashed.

A degree of force is required to smash a window or break through a door.

A vibration sensor responds to this force and triggers the alarm immediately, achieving our aim of detecting the intruder at the point of entry.

With careful installation and set-up, these devices are also very reliable and won’t cause false alarms.

So by installing a reed switch and a vibration sensor on every door and window, we have created a viable perimeter alarm system.
When installed and set up correctly it would be very difficult for an intruder to get into the home without triggering the alarm.

Problem solved…….almost!!

This set-up all works fine when everyone has left the house for the day. But what if you want to have the doors and windows protected when you’re home?

When you and your family are sleeping for example?

Think about it for a minute: Everyone is in bed. You’ve turned the perimeter system on and you can sleep soundly knowing that you’ll be alerted to a break-in. But what if our intruder forces open a window at 3 o’clock in the morning?

Of course, the alarm will sound and most likely scare the intruder away – the same as in the previous scenario.

But think what that experience is like for you, the homeowner.

You were in a deep sleep but you are suddenly jolted awake by the piercing sound of 2 super-loud sirens.

What would you do?

Rush to turn the alarm off?

Run to the nearest window to see what was going on?

Hide under the covers?

Other members of the household would also awaken and be confused. Not to get too dramatic about it but… with all that going on, would you even stop to consider that a burglar had ignored the siren and was now inside your home?

The point here is that a perimeter system that protects doors and windows is perfect for when the home is unoccupied but isn’t the best solution for when you’re sleeping.

Early Warning Detection

To be completely thorough in designing a perimeter alarm system we need to consider an early warning perimeter system that alerts you with a persistent, yet not ear-shattering tone that lets you know someone is on your property: not inside, not almost inside, but perhaps on the front path leading to your door, or approaching the back yard or side of the house or even at the carport or garage.
New technology wireless perimeter systems provide an early warning giving you a chance to investigate a breach of your home’s perimeter and deter an intruder before he gets anywhere near your vulnerable entry points.
These systems are relatively cheap and can be installed by a competent handyman. Read more about these systems here
And if you’re interested in learning more about securing your doors and windows give our experts a call for expert advice you can count on.

The Safest House in the Street

Here are some suggestions that I’ve implemented myself and to many of our customers that will help make your home the safest house in the street


Window security is pretty straightforward. The first thing is to make the windows hard to get to. You can do this by making it difficult or impossible for an intruder to get to the windows and doors at the side or back of your home.

If you have a side gate make sure it’s locked when you leave the house. If you don’t have a gate consider having one installed. If the gate is low enough to climb over, think about adding a piece or trellis or a decorative arbor above the gate to make it more difficult to get around. Of course, this is easier on some properties than on others. It’s a worthwhile first step though.

Remember, every element you add stacks the odds in your favor.

You can also add lattice above your back and side fences too. This makes it almost impossible for an intruder to climb over the fence from your neighbor’s house or a park or laneway at the back because the lattice will not support his weight as he attempts to climb over.

And even if and the burglar was persistent enough to climb over your gate or fence, the lattice will slow him down if he needs to escape quickly so it’s definitely worth considering.

Front Door Security

Front door security is also simple, however to you probably have to spend a bit of money if you’re serious.

If your front door is the original door that the builder fitted it’s not going to take much force to get through it. Most doors especially on homes built over the last 30 tears or so have a hollow core.

The standard builder’s door lock is designed to keep the door closed but not to withstand the force of a determined intruder.

The door frame in a modern home is made from MDF (medium density fibreboard). While it’s cheap and moisture resistant it offers virtually no resistance to forced entry.  The frame will splinter and the door will pop open. Putting a high-security pick-proof triple-throw deadlock on a standard door is not the answer – the door will simply fall apart with a kick or two.

The best way to prevent entry through the front door is fitting a steel security door over the front door. A security door is far more resistant to being forced open by kicking because they are installed to open outward.


Window locks provide protection against the window being forced open. But you have to use them. If you have window locks that require a key to lock and unlock them it’s only a matter of time before you stop locking them before you go out.

It’s so fiddly and time-consuming!

They also offer no protection if the window is smashed.

Bunnings have a keyless window lock for aluminum sliding windows that take seconds to lock or unlock. There are also keyless locks for timber sash and casement windows.


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