Back Door Break in Prevention

Harold Fink, Locksmith, CRL CPS
Fri, Feb 19, 2010

Back Door Break in Prevention

 Back door break in prevention is often a difficult situation for store owners. Breaking in back doors, which constitute upwards of 80% of burglaries, has caused retailers, chain stores and restaurant owners to resort to many locking devices (barrier bars, slide bolts, padlocks, etc.) which are not connected to any panic hardware. Use of locking devices which disallow proper egress from a building without a key and without any prior knowledge of how to unlock the door from inside violates basic fire and life safety codes and puts building occupants at risk. There is serious liability on the owner of the establishment, but security is essential for the business to avoid thefts and stay in business.

Why Can’t I Bar A Door When The Building Is Unoccupied?

Any impediment on the door that requires more than one action and special or prior knowledge in order to exit violates basic fire and life safety codes. In an emergency situation, this could have the disastrous consequence of injury or death, and can cause civil liability and public relations nightmares for the owners of the business. As a security professional, you would not want to be trying to explain why an emergency exit door could not be opened and someone died as a result.
When store owners try to increase back door security with locks that do not allow proper egress, they maybe cited for code violations by the fire marshals and building inspectors. “We only use these at night after the store is closed” is not acceptable. You would have to rely on an employee to remember to unlock each and every door every morning. The risk of human error is to great. Firefighters and customers have died because of blocked emergency exits.
Exit devices originally were developed to ensure quick, easy, proper egress from a place of public assembly. Fire and building codes over the years have expanded this definition. Lighting and signage requirements direct people to these doors.  Safe exiting without  any special knowledge is required at any fire exit and can be complied with the proper selection of door locking hardware.

Local alarms provide local notification

In order to prevent the public from exiting through these doors in non emergency situations, local alarms were added to the exit devices to provide notification of personnel. These alarms do not prevent exiting, they notify personnel when the door has been used. This is very common in retail locations to prevent snatch and grab theft of merchandise.

Back door break in prevention requires special locks

Devices employing a single locking mechanism are providing only one security point for professional burglars to defeat. In many cases, a burglar can remove the hinge pins to break in through the door with an alarmed exit device. Many panic exit devices and fire exit devices provide little resistance to the most basic methods of break in and forced entry. The need exists for devices with absolute security that is also life safety code compliant.

Deadbolts that are code compliant

Security Group Inc. of Maspeth, New York, a wellknown manufacturer of innovative high-security locks, has come up with the solution to the problem: the MP Panic Exit Police Lock (490 Series). The MP Panic Lock projects stainless steel deadbolts from the door one inch into four points in the frame, header and threshold. The door is secured like a bank vault lock, yet only one action is required to push  the paddle and retract the bolts to open the door for exiting. This features allows the lock to meet fire and life safety codes, providing both safety and security in a UL-listed exit device.

Force burglars to avoid your door

Locking all four sides of the door defeats both common and professional break in methods. If only one side of the door is secured, the burglar knows that all he has to do is pry past that one edge and he can open the door. With all four sides deadbolted, the would be burglar would have to spread the entire door frame or rip the frame out of the wall to break in. This is too noisy and time consuming, and generally the burglar will be forced to stop his attack on the door and avoid your door completely.
The Securitech MP Panic Exit Police Lock is  surface mounted and therefore makes for a simple retrofit installation. It comes in alarmed and non-alarmed models. The lock can be mounted on a single or pair of doors (with or without a mullion and with or without  outside key entry function) and will fit any height and width of opening. Both the alarm and outside key function accept any standard cylinder, therefore, it is possible to integrate this lock into any existing keyway used at that location.

Delayed egress prevents thefts

An optional delayed egress feature can be incorporated into the device, making it ideal for preventing snatch and grab incidents, while at the same time preventing break ins . Integration with the fire alarm system may be required to allow instant exiting during an alarm situation.

Industry acceptance of the Securitech MP Panic Exit Police Lock

Introduced within the last two years at many retail loss prevention shows, major nationwide chains are now using and specifying multi-point exit devices for renovations and new store construction. Providing exit door security does not need to jeopardize a locksmith’s career or put lives at risk. The MP Panic Police Lock provides cost effective safety, security and reliability all in one panic exit device.