How you can help prevent your home from being broken into for less than $10

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — FOX13 investigates is working to keep you safe. We discovered a simple fix to better protect either your home or apartment from a burglary.

The cost to you is less than a soda from a vending machine and involves the type of screws used in the door frame and lock.

It can prevent a knock on the door from a stranger’s foot or shoulder trying to break in.

The problem is often the metal plate attached to the door frame for the lock is not as secure as you might think.

For example, FOX13's investigative reporter Greg Coy put all his weight into and kicked open a door at a home under renovation in Whitehaven.

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He kicked the door a couple of times – it popped open.

"Anybody can do that. If you are 125 pounds, a 130 pounds, you can put your foot on the door and you kick it right off the door frame. You are inside," said Billy Irby who owns Irby Enterprises.

Irby renovates homes.

Home burglary is a common crime, but the cost to the victims can average $2,300, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

The price of security violated is unimaginable.

According to the Memphis Police Department Cyber watch website, FOX13 found 1,060 burglaries to homes or apartments from April 10, 2019 through July 6, 2019.

It means on average, 12 homes are robbed every day in Memphis, although recent data from MPD indicates burglaries are actually down.

Irby knows how it feels when someone tries to break into a home. Crooks broke into a home he is renovating.

“Someone kicked in the door. They didn't take anything. The house was vacant," said Irby.

The fix Irby used, and you can as well, to secure a door is simple.

He recommends swapping out those small screws that often come with the door locks because “it is an easy blow out with these small screws.”

Irby's advice is to replace them with longer three-inch screws that can go deeper inside the door frame.

A quick change makes it harder to kick in the door.

“So, by simply replacing quarter inch screws, with three and a half inch coarse screws can be the difference in your door being kicked in and it remains solid," said Irby.

The price to replace those screws would fit in any budget.

"You will get plenty for about $5.96 plus tax. It will get you a box," said Irby.

But don't stop at just replacing the screws Irby suggests.

If you are home owner, he recommends replacing the old door frame with a PVC type of material.

“An exterior door jam kit will run you about $36 to $54 at a local hardware store," said Irby.

Drill in about three or four of those long screws to secure the new door frame, and you've made it difficult for anyone kick in the door.

Make those changes and Irby insisted the crook “will have to keep kicking.”