The $0.20 solution to make your home safer

The 20 cent solution

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Every day, on average, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police investigate 13 home burglaries. In many cases the thieves gain access to the home by kicking in a door.

You might be surprised how easy that is to do. Unless you install the $ 0.20 solution.

We'd heard about it from people who had their homes broken into. They found out too late that a simple purchase from a hardware store might have made it a little tougher for the crooks to get inside.

Not only is it an inexpensive solution but it should take 10 minutes to install.

Here's the secret: typically the latch plates for door knobs comes installed with half inch screws. Those screws only go into the door jamb and can be easily kicked out, releasing the plate and allowing the door to swing wide open.

Instead, experts say, replace just two of the screws in your plate with 3-inch wood screws. Those go through the frame and screw into the 2x4 studs.

"That will make it more solid and the screws we use, the material, they are stronger screws," said contractor Rich Huffman.

Huffman, with JNL Quality Construction, built us two doors so we could put the theory to the test. One with the half inch screws attaching the plate, the other with the three inch screws. Then we asked a set of twins to try to kick the doors open.

It worked.

Our experts did explain to us that homes using deadbolts on their doors don't necessarily need this $ 0.20 solution because the deadbolt goes pretty far into the door jamb, but they add the 3-inch screws certainly wouldn't hurt.

"Anything you can do to frustrate them, make it take longer, and make them make more noise is a good thing.  It may discourage them from trying to come in," Gray Little with Little Hardware in Charlotte explained.

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