Sliding-Glass Patio Doors & Windows

Sliding-Glass Patio Doors
Sliding-glass doors are secured by latches not locks. They are vulnerable to being forced open from the outside because of these inherently defective latch mechanisms. This can be easily be prevented by inserting a wooden dowel or stick into the track thus preventing or limiting movement. Other blocking devices available include a metal fold-down blocking device called a 'Charley' bar and various track-blockers that can be screwed down.

The blocking devices described above solve half the equation. Older sliding glass doors can be lifted up and off their track and thereby defeat the latch mechanism. To prevent lifting, you need to keep the door rollers in good condition and properly adjusted. You can also install anti-lift devices such as a pin that extends through both the sliding and fixed portion of the door.

There are also numerous locking and blocking devices available in any good quality hardware store that will prevent a sliding door from being lifted or forced horizontally. Place highly visible decals on the glass door near the latch mechanism that indicates that an alarm system, a dog, or block watch / operation identification is in place. Burglars dislike alarm systems and definitely big barking dogs.

Additional Tips
  • Use a secondary blocking device on all sliding-glass doors
  • Keep the latch mechanism in good condition and properly adjusted
  • Keep sliding door rollers in good condition and properly adjusted
  • Use anti-lift devices such as through-the-door pins or upper track screws
  • Use highly visible alarm decals, beware of dog decals, or block watch decal
Windows
Windows are left unlocked and open at a much higher rate than doors. An open window, visible from the street or alley, may be the sole reason for your home to be selected by a burglar. Ground-floor windows are more susceptible to break-ins for obvious reasons. Upper-floor windows become attractive if they can be accessed from a stairway, tree, fence, or by climbing on balconies. Windows have latches, not locks, and therefore should have secondary blocking devices to prevent sliding them open from the outside.

Inexpensive wooden dowels and sticks work well for horizontal sliding windows and through-the-frame pins work well for vertical-sliding windows. For ventilation, block the window open no more than 6 inches and make sure you can't reach in from the outside and remove the blocking device or reach through and unlock the door.

Windows In Sleeping Rooms
In sleeping rooms, these window blocking devices should be capable of being removed easily from the inside to comply with fire codes. Like sliding-glass doors, anti-lift devices are necessary for ground level and accessible aluminum windows that slide horizontally. The least expensive and easiest method is to install screws half-way into the upper track of the movable glass panel to prevent it from being lifted out in the closed position. As a deterrent, place highly visible decals on the glass door near the latch mechanism that indicates that an alarm system, a dog, or block watch / operation identification system is in place.

Information Recap
  • Secure all accessible windows with secondary blocking devices
  • Block accessible windows open no more than 6 inches for ventilation
  • Make sure someone cannot reach through an open window and unlock the door
  • Make sure someone cannot reach inside the window and remove the blocking device
  • Use anti-lift devices to prevent window from being lifted out
  • Use crime prevention or alarm decals on ground accessible windows