Security Screens

Reporter: Gavin Alder

Thieves found it easy pickings at the brand new home of Frank and Michelle Dance, despite so called security screens installed by their builder.

"We asked for security screens and we got charged for security screens, it was written on our invoice as security screens so to me security screens you can't pull off with your hands", Frank said.

But that's exactly what happened. The grill was not welded, riveted or screwed into the frame. It did not meet Australian standards and Frank and Michelle were outraged to learn in Queensland, it didn't have to.

"There's no a problem with the standard. The problem is with the number of doors that don't adhere to the standard", said Christopher Zinn from Choice.

The reason for that says Christopher is the only state to make the Australian standard mandatory is Western Australia. In all other states the term security screen is meaningless.

Michael Siwek from the National Security Screens Association says he gets called to two to three homes a week where thieves have entered through a so-called security screen -- and we're just coming into the worst time of year for break-ins. "It's in the summer months, when people are leaving their glass doors or their main doors or their glass windows open and relying on their security screens, that it becomes more prevalent".

To prevent it here's a checklist for consumers:

· Make sure the screen complies with the Australian standard

· Check that the company you buy from is reputable

· Make sure the installer is a member of the National Security Screens Association and meets Australian standards

· Check the grills are screwed, welded or riveted into the frame

· Look for triple hinges on the doors.

The National Security Screens Association has lobbied state governments for years to make the Australian standard mandatory. It led to a story we did almost 10 years ago. Helen Wellings lifted the lid on dodgy doors that offer no deterrent, despite being sold as top of the line security.

The ACC chairman at the time, Allan Fells, admitted there was a major problem. A decade later and Choice Magazine still puts out warnings on its website.

It's cost Frank and Michelle $4000 to replace the original $3000 screens with ones that meet the standard, but to avoid the same problems, it's up to the rest of us to make sure we get screens that offer the best protection.