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Before choosing a right lock, you need to purchase a secure door first:

If you're buying a door, buy a metal flush door without panels and get an equally strong frame to match it. The cost should be about $500. What makes a good frame: A hollow metal construction, same as the door.

On a metal door, use a Segal lock on the inside and a Medeco on the outside with a Medeco Bodyguard cylinder guard plate. If it's a tubular lock, get a Medeco D-11. It gives you the option of a key on the inside, and you don't need a guard plate.

If your door has panels on it, put a piece of sheet steel on it. If the panels are glass, replace them with lexon, an unbreakable plastic.

If you have a secure door, get a police lock. This is a brace lock with a bar that goes from the lock into the floor about 30 inches away from the base of the door.


Choosing the right lock

There are two major components to a truly thief-resistant lock system: Strong, tamperproof basic hardware and a key that is impossible to duplicate without your knowledge and permission.

Assuming that the main access door to your house is structurally sound and hinged on the outside, the standard mechanism for keeping it securely closed is an interlocking deadbolt latch. What makes the latch burglarproof is the outside lock that controls it and the plate that protects the lock.

The best locks are the 3Ms of Locksmithing: Medeco, Miva and Multilock: These locks are very secure and use high-security, state-of-the-art-cylinders and requires signature cards and presentation of proof of registration before key duplication. All three brands have selected dealers in most areas.

Add-on security devices: Steel gates for windows near fire escapes or at ground level (gates must be approved by the fire department.