12 Investigates: Is your home secure?

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Thieves broke into nearly 4,000 homes last year in just Richmond, Henrico and Chesterfield Counties alone. That's, on average, 11 burglaries a day.

Many home burglaries happen because thieves are able to kick your door in. Experts tell us a better lock may be the key to keeping burglars from stealing your stuff.

Gone are the days of leaving your doors unlocked and your windows and garage doors wide open.

There were nearly 1500 homes burglarized in the city of Richmond last year. More than 1100 in Henrico County and nearly 1400 in Chesterfield.

Like one door in Wyndham - the wood is split and the dead bolt loose after it was kicked in.

"It made me feel violated. I was scared too," the owner of the house told us.

More often than not, it's forced entry. Many break-ins stem from faulty deadbolts when the pocket carved into the door isn't deep enough to hold the bolt. And the frame of the door isn't secured by a steel plate.

"My goodness, do your homework. Put a good lock on your house," said Glen Peifer, a locksmith who has met quite a few clients after they've been robbed. "I've seen doors that are kicked in and it didn't even damage the door. I mean, the bolt just snapped off."

Peifer recommends a deadbolt with a steel pin, a strike plate that won't collapse under pressure and a casing that can't be penetrated by a drill.

"Putting a good lock on your house, it needs to be pretty high on your priority list," said Peifer. He's an authorized dealer for Medeco brand locks. They're considered the grand daddy of the deadbolts. The top of the line option is solid steel.

"This is actually the locks that are on the white house," said Peifer.

If the $100 to $300 price range isn't in your budget, experts also recommend the Schlage deadbolt. Solid and reliable with an anti pick shield. They retails for around $54.

And if you live in a newer home, don't think you're in the clear. The American Locksmiths Association says 1 in 10 new homes have locks that are improperly installed.

Experts say you get what you pay for and you can't put a price on safety.

"I don't think a person has a more important decision to make than the locks that they put on their home," added Peifer.

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