Added Door Security

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posted on March 3, 2015
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Many people who reside in big cities choose to live in high-rise apartment buildings for reasons of convenience and economic necessity. I never thought I would say this, but I am now included in this population. While I’m probably happier living in the middle of nowhere America with my nearest neighbor miles away, I have grown to love the convenience of city life.

With the high-rise, there is one way in and one way out of my place unless someone decides to risk everything and climb in from the outside hundreds of feet above the pavement. I’m pretty sure that sort of thing is left to Tom Cruise in “Mission Impossible” sequels. Millions of others around the country can say the same thing about strictly limited access. There are certainly advantages to this in many ways related to personal security, but the apartment building life has its disadvantages, too. 

One of the most troubling for me is that others always have immediate access to my place through the single door. The maintenance and security people have keys, and those are just the people I know about. Who are they? What is their history? What are their motivations? Who is certain that they can be trusted with the lives and wellbeing of every person in the building?

The situation is not much different than staying in hotels, other than the fact that most hotels have internal safety bars that occupants can engage in order to generally disallow all access from the outside. The importance of using these religiously while staying at hotels cannot be overstated.

There was one time many years ago in Tucson that I wished a particular woman had engaged her safety bar. I had gotten in late at night and was staying at a fairly nice national hotel chain. The guy at the front desk handed me my keycard, and I marched toward what was going to be my first sleep in far too long. As I walked to within sight of the nearest bed, a woman who was under the covers sat straight up with a horrified look on her face.When I got to the room, all of the lights were off. I struggled with my bags, got them inside the door and proceeded to walk toward the sleeping area without turning on any of the lights.

As I walked to within sight of the nearest bed, a woman who was under the covers sat straight up with a horrified look on her face. I’m pretty sure that she could say the same about the look on mine. We each sat there for a stunned second before I began to stammer a bit about there being some sort of mistake. I raised my hands in the international “no threat” gesture and backed my way out of the room. If she had been armed, things could have gotten much uglier. I was angry as hell with the hotel staff for the mix-up and with her for not taking her security seriously by using the internal safety bar.

Nearly every time I enter a new hotel room, I think of that instance. I always have my safety bar engaged while in the room. When I moved into my apartment building, I immediately questioned why units would not have safety bars like the ones found in virtually all hotels. I got some mumbled response about fire safety and maintenance staff access. Many apartment complexes around the country prohibit modifications to the doors and locking mechanisms of individual units. This is the case where I live, and it’s always caused me concern.

I recently bought a device that gives me some additional peace of mind. It’s called the DoorJammer, and based upon the company website it’s one of the few useful products, other than insanely expensive luxury cars, that England offers to the rest of the world. It fits to the bottom of just about any door within seconds and uses a clever method of transferring horizontal force to vertical force in order to prevent an inward-opening door from opening.

The video that is front and center on the website is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in England. It says that 60 percent of all burglaries are “hot” in that someone is at home during the intrusion. The actual percentage is probably higher, though, and the reason for this is that intruders across The Pond do not have to fear armed resistance. Their chosen means of income is safe due to the government’s systematic disarming of the civilian population.

In the U.S., on the other hand, this rate is closer to 10 percent because too many bad guys hear of their buddies who end up staring down the barrel of a homeowner’s 12-gauge or AR-15 when they are doing bad things. Most of them employ tactics to determine to the extent possible that a home is unoccupied before they burgle it.

Intended for English subjects, the video says that the DoorJammer will allow home occupants more time to call the unarmed police during an attempted break-in. If I were producing the same piece for the American market, I would mention that it offers more time to take up arms, find a good defensive place for yourself and the family and then to call the police only when it is safe to do so. The best-case scenario is that the bad guy never makes it past the threshold, but most doors will break if an assaulter is persistent enough.

Most SHARP readers keep firearms at home for self-defense. They are our last line of security. Extra seconds to prepare for a threat, especially in the haze that exists when you get rocked out of a deep sleep, are invaluable. At a mere $30, the DoorJammer seems like a no-brainer, especially in those living arrangements where key access is not always limited to the resident. 

LaSorte has been shooting regularly since he was four years old and has grown into a competitive shooter, adventure hunter and NRA Certified Instructor. There is nothing he enjoys more than acquiring and sharing knowledge associated with shooting and self-defense. Empowering others, especially women, through an introduction to what he calls the “beautiful world” of shooting is his passion.   

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