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A personal lesson from a smash and grab

It’s ironic that I so often blog about proper security at properties, when I can’t even follow my own advice. Last Thursday at 5:30pm I had to rush out of the office for a quick appointment. Normally, I close my laptop when I head out as it can easily be seen through the window from the street, but I was in a rush. Upon my return about 20 minutes later, I was shocked to find my office door kicked in and my laptop gone. Along with a good many of unbacked-up files.

I have since purchased a new computer and managed to recover some of what I lost and, in reality, I was lucky they only touched my computer. Other than getting a good reminder that you need to backup your computer a lot, the biggest fact I am faced with is that a traditional door is no match for a determined thief. From the looks of the door, it only took one or two good kicks to bust through. When you get down to it, even with the deadbolt thrown, there is only about an inch of pinewood stopping a would-be intruder from getting inside.

To truly protect your properties, you need to either have a metal door jamb or reinforce the jamb with aftermarket strike plates. The flimsy wood jambs found in today’s doors are clearly not tough enough to take a beating. When reinforcing jambs with new strike plates, there are variety of options out there. Some models are as long as the door itself, while others are just thicker versions of the standard size with longer screws. Regardless of what additional measures you put in place, any added effort should help. Just remember, there is really nothing stopping someone from entering your property anytime they want, if you are using traditional methods.

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Matt Kastner

Matt Kastner is an Investment Real Estate Consultant at St. Louis Real Estate Society in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also develops properties on the side through Threshold Properties. When he isn’t representing investors in the purchase or sale of multifamily properties, rehabs, foreclosures and other income producing properties, he is often taking on rehab projects himself. He lives in South St. Louis and has been in the real estate business since 2004.

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