Thursday, May 26, 2016
Engaged Citizens. Innovative Ideas.

Security Doors

[November, 2007 Update:  These comments were forwarded to the Cleveland Heights City Council, Planning Department, and City Manager's office.]

  On February 5, 2007, Cleveland Heights resident Fran Mentch presented a PowerPoint presentation to City Council about the use of security doors and how their presence might add to the public's perception of crime in a neighborhood as well as detract from the architectural integrity of a home, or neighborhood. During the comment portion of the presentation Councilman Montlack said that he thought the community should weigh in on the issue. 

Please take a look at the PowerPoint, read the Council Meeting transcript  (pdf), and weigh in on the subject .

Are they an issue?  Final tally:

YES= 38

NO= 10


Yes, definitely!!!!   Per Capita crime is low in Cleveland Heights.  Security Doors only exacerbate the perception that some areas are 'ghetto.'

It would great to see them not allowed.  I don't see anything wrong with it.  Their appearance lends to an opinion of an area.

I don't know if I would call it an 'issue' but there is no question that when I see one I automatically think that the homeowner is concerned about security, and they detract from the architectural integrity of the home. The Architectural Review Board should have to weigh in on this one.  They make you jump through a lot of hoops for other things, i.e. fences; this probably falls into the same category.

They are really ugly & make it look as if we live in a high crime area.

Not just security doors, but any storm/screen/security door that is incompatible with the architecture of the building. For example, those 'colonial' doors with glass only in the top half -- I doubt there is more than a handful of houses in the whole city for which those would be appropriate on the front.

Possible future residents equate them with dangerous or 'bad' neighborhoods and could encouage them to look elsewhere for a home

They look terrible and increase the perception that there is high crime in an area. Home depot pushes these doors but there are others that are just as effective and less costly.

As a new homeowner in the city of Cleveland Heights I think that the security doors deter prospective buyers from buying a house in Cleveland Heights communities.  This was one of the warning signs that kept us from looking in certain neighborhoods when we were looking to buy a house.  If there were a lot of the security doors in the neighborhood it made the houses look tacky and it pointed out that the homeowners either had experienced or were extremely worried about crime in their neighborhood.  I really do think that there needs to be guidelines on these doors.  Some of them give the look of a barred window except that in this case it is on a door.  They also give a vibe of a high crime area.  If we want good responsible people to move into our neighborhoods we need to present a positive image for living. The first step would be to make our neighborhoods and schools have a positive and safe environment with a no tolerance policy.

While I understand that people might want the feeling of security, security doors mostly just make an area look unsafe.  If you're that concrened, just leave your door closed and open some windows.  More and more areas of Cleveland Heights are getting branded as 'ghetto' already.  This isn't going to help.

If it is security your worried about mount your security door on the inside of your house. That way you will feel secure and will be able to appreciate your beautiful door even if others don't. If you want ventilation open a window or did you nail them shut? Whats next bars on the windows? Are we keeping the criminals out or the loonie tunes in. If theres a crime problem the police should be concentrating on it rather than sitting in there cars setting up speed traps!Thanks for the forum WAL

While they have not typically been found in Cleveland Heights, if a resident wishes to have them, then it is their choice.  Micromanaging exterior decor is a little much and especially in Cleveland Heights. Next it will be security signs.  We have learned to live with real estate signs.  I believe we can live with wrought iron on windows and doors.  

Having lived in several Cleveland Heights neighborhoods over the past 20 years, my experience is that some of them ARE unsafe and security doors are a wise investment.  Is this really one more thing we need to regulate?  How about putting our energy into stopping crime instead of banning certain doors?

I do not feel the security doors are attractive or worth the cost, plus they do lead to a false impression of being in a high crime area.

I honestly hadn't given it much thought before this.  I do think they are pretty ugly and not in character for most of the houses. I'm sure they are presented by stores and installers that sell them as offereing 'security'.  I agree they don't. I agree that they should be regulated.

They are ugly and detract from the neighborhood.  They definitely give the wrong impression about Cleveland Hts.  I would like to see them outlawed.

Pass a resolution to outlaw them...but offer a stipend to cover the cost of the purchase and offer financing to install less objectionable security.

Security doors tend to  cause fear and give the appearance that this is a high crime area. I have never seen one that shows good taste and design

I feel that if they are popping up in certain neighborhoods that indicates that the resudents in that neighborhood feel they are needed.  That calls for a neighborhood meeting with the police department and city council.  I do feel that they are unattractive and give the impression that a neighborhood is a high crime area, whether warranted, or not.  But, I don't think we can just ban them outright without getting at the root cause of why people are intstalling them in the first place.  I do not feel that there is enough conversation between residents, council and the police department on this issue and other quality of life issues in Heights such as loud neighbors, barking dogs, etc.  If we are going to maintain our neighborhoods we need to be talking about these things with public officials and they need to do something about them!

Some of these doors are selected by the owner for aesthetic reasons.  Just because one person doesn't like them doesn't mean the government should step in and regulate.  Seems to be a bit of overkill for one individual's personal opinion.  The City should concentrate on reducing crime - not regulating individual's choices on how they feel secure in their own home

 I dislike the security doors and can't think of many other house adornments (bars on windows would be one) that detract more from the desirability of a neighborhood.  The presence of security doors suggests to me that crime is a problem in the neighborhood.  It saddens me that people in our community feel the need for them

Please say NO to security doors!  They detract from a neighborhood aesthetically and by what they represent.

This seems like a non-issue to me.  People should get to choose what door they want on their house.  I recognized several of the houses in the power point, and have never felt as a result of those doors that those neighborhoods therefore are unsafe.  I did voter registration in the Forest Hill neighborhood, including in East Cleveland, where every single door seemed to be one of these, and it did not change my perception, if anything added to it, that Forest Hills is the safest neighborhood in E. Cleveland.
If Cleveland Heights wants to do something about perceptions of safety, how about taking care of graffiti?  The city claims to have a graffiti removal program, but when it became an issue in my neighborhood this summer, and really did lead to a perception of unsafeness, the city took no affirmative action and didn't even respond to citizen requests for help in removing the growing graffiti until finally I contacted councilwoman Evans, who got it taken care of immediately.  Proactive graffiti removal would do a lot more than adding yet another ordinance for citizens to have to follow.  I have heard a lot of people express dislike for Cleveland Heights (and a resulting disinclination to move here) because it is already seen as too much  government interference on citizens with ordinances up to our necks already.

I hate the look of them, they hide many pretty old doors. and
definately give off an impression that 'this is a crime 'filled neighborhood.
Anyway, why would a thief break into a front door in plain view of passersbys
and motorists? I would love it if they were outlawed in Cleveland Hts.

I've read the previous comments and agree with those who mentioned that this seems to have started with only one person's crusade (I heard her speak at the Community Dialogue;I haven't watched the PowerPoint); it's more important to me for City and police to do something about loud neighbors and barking dogs; I think there is a perception that Cleve. Hts. has too many housing ordinances already and that that perception may lead people to avoid looking for a home here.  A further thought of mine -- maybe the security doors of some are not about protecting themselves from others' crimes, but about protecting their own profits from illicit activities.

Security doors give the impression that Cleveland Heights is a high-crime area and they detract from the architectural character of our community.  Banning them would be a positive step.

THe security doors send a wrong signal that CH is a crime-ridden area.  Also these doors are very often a poor match to the hours architecture.

When I see them I think I am in a high crime neighborhood. Unfortunately, it seems that I see them more and more in my own neighborhood. This is not something I am pleased about.  In addition, they are very unatrractive per my own sense of aesthetics.

there are plenty of other ways to secure an entry door from physical attack that don't involve what's basically an ugly screen door.
My house has a solid-core door. I added a reinforcing plate around the lock and deadbolt (basically a piece of stainless steel that wraps around the door), and used extra-long screws to attach a special strike plate, such that it screws all the way through the jamb and into the studs behind it.
The hinges were similarly reinforced with long screws. Kick all you want, but you'd get through faster with a saw.
Ironically, it's the section 8 duplex across the street (you know, the one with the pit bull and the security door) that prompted the 'upgrade', but I won't stoop to their ghetto level.

Security doors definitely send the wrong message to potential home buyers!  If our crime record is as clean as the City wishes us to think, there should be no need for them.  Furthermore, most illegal entries are through windows, not doors.  I believe that the City MUST rule against their installation if we are to compete with other nearby suburbs in the Real Estate arena.  I have observed that people who have moved to Cleveland Heights from WORSE areas want them.  Those who move here from BETTER areas do not consider having them.  

Though I don't think they are generally very aesthetically pleasing, it seems completely unreasonable to legislate what is perceived to be a personal safety feature. We can bear arms but not put up a security door? On the flip side, it seems that we can legislate what they look like via the architectural review board.The real issue is why people feel they need them and what can be done to render them unnecessary...

They give the impression of an unsafe community and almost all of them are not appropriate for the overall architecture of the building. 

Let's THINK for a change and PREVENT problems, these doors make our neighborhoods look ugly and dangerous. If our area is dangerous then people should talk to city council about the police doing their job.

The doors make it seem like there is crime in Cleveland Heights but
this is untrue. Regulating the doors is not micromanaging- it is to a way to
make sure that the impression that Cleveland Heights gives off is one of a
welcoming and safe community. These doors are unwelcoming, cold and downright
detrimental to the city as a whole. First impressions are important and those
individuals driving through our community get the wrong impression of the area
when they see the many security doors.  The city takes pride in how the houses
in the area look. Have you ever seen a house with a security door on the cover
of the Heights magazine Focus? Now why do you think that is?

Aesthetics aside, the protection of my front door is paramount and it ought not to be the subject matter for discussion by those who feel different. Surely a color scheme can be suggested for certain neighborhood streets - to preserve the feel and look. People - let's face it - times are a changing!

Wrong message, wrong look.

Security doors are an issue since people are talking about them. It would be interesting if we viewed some stats relating to where higher crime is. Then we would know if crime is a problem or just a perception. (My guess is it's a problem) My perception is, people who feel vulnerable will do things to feel more secure. (Security system, security doors,dogs, security gates, ect.)The question for me would be how can crime be kept to a minimum? I think the focus should be on lowering crime not fixing perception. As citizens I feel we have a right to feel safe & secure. I hope people chose attractive security doors if they feel they need them.Im my opinion, citys should focus on core services.Police are one of those core services.Lower the crime, help people feel safe.  While I dislike the look and the message that they convey, based on the information presented here I haven't been convinced that the city should regulate them.  Why do people have them?  Do they know that the police don't think that they deter crime?  Do they understand the impression that they are making?

'Security' doors are usually steel and will rust eventually. They also are expensive, unattractive, incompatible for most homes architectural styles and not all that secure. As we know from the newspaper, thieves break in by breaking glass in the rear of a home. All house glass is breakable unless one orders expensive special tempered glass for their windows (which will break like your car glass but requires much more effort and force). Not sure if the security doors use tempered glass...they may not be required due to all the bars in front of the glass. Those bars are especially inappropriate because they really don't do anything except put people off and give a false impression of 'security' to th owner and 'high crime' to the observer. They are heavy (often the hinges break) and they can be removed from the outside with a screwdriver, as thieves have been known to do as the weight gives much scrap value to this item.

At first I thought there are far more important issues for the city.  But after taking a closer 'look' at this issue I do feel they give the impression of cleveland Hts being a high crime area.  If I was a new resident to cleveland, looking to buy a house I could only conclude that if so many residents need these doors, Cleveland hts either high crime or an ineffective police department and therefore an unsafe area to raise a family
However, I also believe limiting these doors infringe on the rights of citizens.but no more than the ordinance preventing residents from parking their car or trucks on their front lawn.  At the least, the city planning department can make an effort to publish prefered alternatives.

It's possible that the security doors are really needed, that crime is increasing rapidly in the areas of the Heights where I ride my bike (all the areas North of Cedar seem to be one security door after another). If this is true, Council needs not only to concern itself with the aesthetics of the issue but also with the reality that the security doors suggest.

Security Door Powerpoint