Burglar-resistant security systems protecting against unbidden guests

During public holidays and vacation periods, the number of burglaries usually rises. You can protect your home by following simple rules of conduct and using proper security systems. Up-to-date standards and certified manufacturers make choosing easier.

Optimum protection by proper security systems

Only 30 percent of these crimes are premeditated. The vast majority of burglaries is committed spontaneously when opportunities arise. Tilted windows and terrace doors are almost an invitation for intruders – pros will only need 15 seconds to enter under such conditions. Likewise, doors that are only closed but not locked are hardly an obstacle.

Experts recommend to securely lock all windows and doors as well as to maintain good contact to neighbours and – in case of longer absence – to use timers for lighting rooms temporarily and thereby pretending that somebody is at home.

The most effective protection, however, is provided by proper security systems – after all, one-third of all burglary attempts fail because of adequate burglary prevention systems. The Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, the Austrian Road Safety Board and VVO recommend the preventive installation of burglar-resistant doors in line with ÖNORM B 5338, windows with special locking mechanisms and burglar-resistant locks.

Essential characteristic of "burglar resistance"

The term "security door" alone does not guarantee adequate security. As this designation is not protected any door manufacturer may use it without proving that certain quality criteria are met.

In contrast, door and window systems complying with the requirements of ÖNORM B 5338 bear the conformity mark "ÖNORM ... geprüft" and can be described as being "burglar-resistant". Austrian Standards manages an online certificate database that contains up-to-date information on certified products.

ÖNORM B 5338 defines requirements and tests for burglar-resistant doors, windows and shutters. In addition, it contains specifications on burglar resistance complementing the provisions of the European standards ÖNORM EN 1627 to 1630. Burglar resistance classes are defined in ÖNORM EN 1627, while the other documents (EN 1628, EN 1629, EN 1630) describe the relevant test methods. The characteristics of related burglar-resistant fittings are specified in ÖNORM B 5351.

Six resistance classes

To describe the resistance of burglar-resistant doors, ÖNORM EN 1627 specifies six classes with the highest one – RC 6 – being able to withstand burglary attempts in which electric power tools, such as electric drill, sabre saw and angle grinder, for 20 minutes.

The definition of protection levels, requirements and test methods are orientated to the methods commonly used by burglars. They are either destructive (e.g. levering, drilling, cutting) or manipulative (e.g. attacks based on picking tools or obtaining codes).

The Austrian police recommends that doors of resistance class 2 are used as a minimum for homes. These can at least keep out burglars of opportunity who try to break closed doors or windows by means of simple tools such as screw drivers or pliers. When force is used, however, secure protection can only be provided by resistance classes 4 to 6.

Nevertheless, all the measures described can only resist attacks for a certain time. An aspect that is not covered by the standards in question is the resistance of locks and cylinders against picking attacks and attacks capable of disabling the functions of products actuated electrically, electronically or electromagnetically. The requirements for bullet-proof components are separately defined in ÖNORM EN 1522.

Promoting secure quality

Products that are certified to comply with current standards are demonstrably high-quality products and provide reliable protection against burglaries in line with the state of the art. Moreover, they result in advantages when you take out an insurance contract and their purchase is supported by grants in some regions (e.g. ViennaBurgenland and Lower Austria).