Have you seen the “decorative” barred storm doors on the fronts of homes?
These are not just decorative. Practically speaking you cannot kick them in, so they do provide summertime security for people concerned with street crime who want to be able to look out at their children playing and to check on a parked car while securely behind bars. Security experts will tell you that these are not secure doors, and they are not. They are, however, 90% more secure than a normal storm door.
But even this does not matter. All that matters is that the person buying it does so to feel secure. You are looking at houses in order for the homeowner to tell you what he or she thinks about their neighborhood and the people that walk through it. Primarily, what decoratively barred storm doors indicate, is that the homeowners fear the people who walk through their neighborhood.
Below is a graduated list of home owner warnings that you are entering a predation zone. In all cases the more of this you see the worse. Note that bars only go on windows after the property has been broken into.
1. Property is not being maintained
2. For sale sign
3. Decorative, barred storm door
4. Barred or blocked back basement window
5. Property is damaged and unrepaired
6. Barred or blocked windows at ground level on side of house [usually on corner houses]
7. No ground-level window air conditioners in summer
8. A wrought iron or stainless steel cage or fence around porch or yard, usually on corner houses near bus stops
9. Foreclosure signs
10. Vacant house
11. Gutted, vacant house
12. Gutted, vacant house, in front of which residents [and non-residents] congregate as if it is a concrete community park
13. Bars in second story windows above roofed porches, which means that some hoodrat has climbed onto the roof of a porch and entered through an upstairs window on the street front! These are regular features in some Harm City neighborhoods.
14. Barbed or razor wire on top of fences, fenced and caged fire escapes and balconies on the side and rear.
15. Fortified parking pad [Yes, we found one in Baltimore City], basically a Bat Cave or A-Team Headquarters
16. Blocked out windows and doors in a still occupied house
17. Stamped steel security doors and stamped steel enclosed windows
18. Teams of men stationed on porches visited by boys who do not stick around
Note: 16-18 are indications of an ongoing criminal operation at that location—and they are afraid of the dudes on the street, because police only stop by here to pick up bodies, not kick in doors.
The best indication of home invasion-level threats can be had by examining corner row homes where there is an alley or access road behind the row.