Tag Archives: security advice locksmith

Alarming an Outdoor Area

ALARMING AN OUTDOOR AREA

Over the past few years we have tried alarming outdoor areas with a number of different types of alarm and alert system.  Many of these were inexpensive and the main problem was always far too many false alarms particularly at dawn when the birds became active.

Over the past month we have been trialling this new system which offers a whole new level of reliability if properly installed.

DETECTORS

This particular detector is an outdoor PIR detector packed with tech to help minimise false alarms, this one also has a camera that when it detects movement, takes a short video burst of whatever activated it which can be viewed remotely from anywhere in the world via its accompanying app.

The detector above is a slightly cheaper version of the first one, it has identical tech but just doesn’t have a camera.

In the month we have been putting this system through its paces, it hasn’t given a single false alarm but has reliably detected each test scenario we put it through.

These detectors don’t require a power source as they have a long life battery, they are tamper resistant and will detect and notify all forms of physical tampering including attempts to mask them.

These detectors can be included as part of our bespoke comprehensive internal alarm system as additional detours on the system covering the interior of your premises or they can be installed as a standalone independent outdoor system.

These are ideal for external parts of commercial premises, such as garden centres, secured car parks or to protect particular valuable assets outside any domestic or commercial premises such as overnight protection of your vehicles.  They are also ideally suited to outbuildings where they should minimise false alarms caused by animals.

We can also add magnetic sensors for external doors or gates into these systems.

NOTIFICATIONS

Detections can be handled in a number of flexible ways, the system can dial up to four mobile or landline numbers via traditional phone line or mobile GSM network of your choice.  It can be linked to professional 24 hour alarm monitoring services (currently offered free for the first year).  If connected via a broadband router, it can also be monitored and controlled and send notifications via an app on our phone or tablet.

For more information give us a call or visit our website at www.alarms.safeandsecure247.co.uk

Have a look also at the alarms page of our main website www.safeandsecure247.co.uk

Why It’s Important that All Your Ground Floor Windows Can Be Locked

Why Being Able to Lock Ground Floor Windows is Important

You may not realise why it’s important that all ground floor and easily accessible windows can be locked.

Apart from the added security of course, most insurers, domestic and commercial insist upon it as a minimum condition of your insurance.

This means in the event of a burglary,  no matter how they gained entry to your premises, if you are unable to demonstrate that your windows lock, your insurer may refuse to pay out as you have not met their insurance minimum security requirements.

If you have no locks at all, we can supply them for all window types.  If you have locks but have lost the keys, we can usually replace them same day.  If you have broken locks or locking handles we can replace them too.

If you are unsure whether your premises meet the minimum security standards set by your insurer will will gladly undertake a security survey that will include checking against insurer requirements.

If you live in the Shrewsbury / Shropshire area you might find our piece here of interest – Shrewsbury Burglary Statistics

If you are interesting in finding out more about suitable door and window locks take a look at our locks for the home page.

Take a look at our website for more details http://www.safeandsecure247.co.uk/services.html

Locking Window Handle
Locking Window Handle

Crimestoppers Burglary Advice

Burglary can affect victims in a number of ways; not only do they lose items of value, some of which are personal or irreplaceable, but the emotional shock of having your property invaded can be deeply upsetting. Read Crimestoppers our advice to help keep your property safe: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/keeping-safe/burglary/

Questions To Ask When You Phone A Locksmith

There are a few questions you ought to consider asking when you phone a locksmith;  Why? because it could save you lots of money and some locksmiths are simply better than others.

So,  questions you should ask when you phone a locksmith whether it is an emergency lock out or for some routine work.

WHAT WILL IT COST?

Ask for an estimate of how much the work will cost,  personally, I always give callers an estimate of how much any given job is likely to cost them and will if at all possible give either a fixed price or maximum cost;  always ask if any estimate quoted includes VAT.

I am surprised that the vast majority of people never ask about cost, don’t ever by too shy to ask because any reputable locksmith will provide an estimate based on the average time it takes to do a particular job.

Most locksmiths charge by the hour and will estimate how long the job is likely to take, if you are given the hourly rate check that if they run into a new hour whether they will charge the whole hour or just the actual time taken.

Depending on they type of job, they may in some circumstances be able to provide a fixed quote although this could work out slightly more costly than the hourly rate as it is necessary to allow for unknown variables that might lengthen the time taken.

Clearly any estimate is just that, based on a customers’s telephone description it is impossible to determine all the variables that could cause delay but when the locksmith is working on site they regularly update you, explaining any issues and also provide you options based on what they find to enable you to make properly informed decisions.

WHERE IS THE ACTUAL ATTENDING LOCKSMITH BASED?

There are many so called locksmiths that advertise National coverage.  Whilst I can’t comment on their actual coverage they do not cover all areas and some sub-contract to anyone they can get, others might travel large distance which of course adds to the costs. Many of these companies charge considerably more than your local reputable locksmith some considerably more.

If possible check out the website which should have the address from which the locksmith operates.

HOW WILL THEY GO ABOUT THE JOB

If you are telephoning a local reputable locksmith, you are likely to speak to the locksmith that will be attending, if this is not the case then ask to speak to them.  You don’t need to know the full technical details but they ought to be able to reassure you they are not going to just get the drill straight out and cause damage that might not be necessary.  Drilling locks is usually the last resort.

WHAT ASSOCIATIONS DOES THE LOCKSMITH BELONG TO

Anyone can become a locksmith with no training, whilst some very good locksmiths choose not to belong to any of the associations, you have to be wary of potential “cowboys” too.  There are a number of locksmith associations for example the Master Locksmiths Association which ensure a level of good workmanship and reasonable charges etc, check out the association webpages if you have time and the locksmith attending should have identification or certification proving their membership.

IS YOUR LOCKSMITH CRB CHECKED?

As previously stated, anyone can set up as a locksmith, and you are going to trust them with keys to your property, or safe etc etc, if they are CRB checked this ought to prove they have no previous criminal convictions for dishonesty, once agin they ought to be able to show you documentation ort certification proving the CRB check.

WHAT DO OTHER CUSTOMERS SAY

If you are able to do so, have a look at the website, and see if there are any customer testimonials.  (Be slightly wary because some unscrupulous individuals can just make these up)  Have a good look at the website to see if it seems genuine and that your locksmith is a member of the local community if possible

SECURITY ADVICE

Many local reputable locksmiths over time become security experts, some have other previous security expertise to add weight to that expertise an can offer other services for example free no obligation security surveys so that you can be made aware of any security vulnerabilities you may have.

You have to put a lot of of trust in any locksmith you employ so don’t be afraid to ask the necessary questions including price estimates to help build that trust.

If you don’t ask a few questions, you might end up paying far too much or having a door that looks like this:

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Ten Simple Tips To Make your Shed or Outbuilding More Secure

Shed and Outbuilding burglary is a continuing to be a problem in the areas we cover on the whole, they tend to make easy targets and it needn’t cost the earth to make them more secure.

Below are ten simple tips to make your shed or outbuilding more secure. There are a couple of issues with sheds and outdoor buildings that many people may not realise; the total value of everything they contain is likely to be far higher than you might at first think and secondly, it is likely to contain many tools and implements that an opportunist burglar could use to enter your home.

1. Consider the approach to your shed or outbuilding, do you shut/lock access gates?

2. Preventing unwanted visitors entering your property is what you need to achieve, but nobody wants their home looking like a prison surrounded by high walls and barbed wire, and that is not necessary. Mother nature provides an environmentally friendly, attractive and particularly effective alternative – the prickly bush, these can be extremely effective when planted around perimeter areas. Don’t go for height particularly at the front as this could hide unwanted visitors on your property from sight. A high hedge can be great for an opportunist theft as they are confident of not being seen while they are up to no good.

3. There are many forms of driveway alert that sound in the house when someone enters your drive these start from as little as £30.

4. Consider motion sensitive outdoor lighting. During the hours of darkness lighting can not only be a comfort factor for the occupant, it is an excellent deterrent for would be opportunist burglars who clearly do not want to be seen. Be sure to fit them out of reach so they cannot be tampered with and if they are bright halogen lights, not pointing directly at neighbours houses so as to cause a nuisance.

5. Starting with the outside of each shed or building, ensure the walls are as secure as they can be, mend any holes that someone could crawl through or make bigger etc.

6. Install the best security locking devices possible, ensure that padlocks and fittings are sturdy and function properly, and if an outbuilding leads directly into your home make sure that the connecting door is especially secure. Replace and properly secure any cracked windows, and consider adding wire mesh or grilles.

7. Secure any particularly valuable items with padlocks and chains to ground or wall anchors. If you use high quality security it would necessitate a thief having to use a noisy angle grinder rather than relatively silent bolt croppers.

8. Consider locking other smaller valuable tools items such as chainsaws etc to the same ground or wall anchors at least locking lots of items together to make them very difficult to move.

9. Consider CCTV or if that is beyond your budget, you could consider a high quality dummy CCTV camera.

10. Consider an alarm, these can range from a simple shed alarm which sell for less than £10 through to a properly installed alarm system either as part of or separate to the house alarm.

 

Just in case the worst does happen despite your best efforts, check that you have sufficient insurance cover for your sheds and outbuildings and that tools and equipment of significant value is covered. Ensure you comply with your insurers minimum requirements, such as locking ATVs to ground anchors as otherwise your insurance may not pay out. Make a note of the serial numbers of valuable tools and equipment, Mark them in some way either with a property marketing solution or by putting your postcode in a way that cannot be easily removed. Always consider asking the advice of your local reputable locksmith who should be able to assist with general security advice as well as product specific advice and will offer an installation service should you require it.

Do You Leave Windows Open at Night in the Summer?

Do you leave your windows open at night in the summer?  

If the answer is yes, it might not have crossed your mind that many burglaries take place with burglars entering through open windows whilst the occupants sleep.  Even if they are first floor windows it may be surprisingly easy to climb using drainpipes or items in your or a neighbour’s garden.

Luckily it is an easy problem to resolve and at the same time will alleviate any concerns you might have about the hazard of open windows if you have small children.

Below are a couple of devices available to prevent your windows from being opened wide enough to climb in or fall out.

Child Safety Lock
Child Safety LockCable restrictor

 If you live in Mid Wales or Shropshire, we’ll be happy to advise on the best type of device that suits your window type and specific requirements otherwise your local reputable locksmith should be able to assist.

Letterbox Burglary

LETTERBOX BURGLARY

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Letterbox burglary continues to be a problem in many parts of the UK.

If like most people you have a letterbox,  it could make you more vulnerable to burglary.  My advice would be if you can afford it, or when you replace the door,  loose the letterbox altogether and put an external mailbox on the wall outside.

Letterboxes firstly enable a potential burglar to look into your house and also listen to see if you are at home.  If you keep house or car keys anywhere near the door some burglars will use a rod to steal the keys to either gain entry to your house without damage or more likely just steal your car.

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If you have a UPVC  door or other type with multipoint locking, some  might allow a burglar to open the door simply by using an implement to pull the internal handle down or turn your thumb-turn cylinder.

 

You can prevent the handle being pulled down simply by pushing it up and locking with the key. It has been known for insurance companies to question whether a premises was properly secured when doors have been opened through the letterbox.

 

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So what can you do to make your letterbox more secure?

Luckily there are a few simple steps you can take, you could fit a security cowl to make it harder for a burglar to reach your lock, you can also fit a letter cage or fireproof security letterbox. There are many different types to chose from, your local reputable locksmith will happily advise as to what would work best for your type of door and situation.

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Specific Types of Lock

A lot of people are not aware of some specific types of locks that locksmiths can offer to suit certain situations; in this blog I have explained some of the specific types of lock that can be provided by your local reputable locksmith.

KEYED ALIKE

Most locks are keyed to differ which means you need a different key for each lock. Keyed alike means you can have any number of locks that open with a single key. This could include a combination of euro cylinders, rim cylinders (often referred to as Yale cylinders), screw in cylinders and/or padlocks. This option can reduce a huge bunch of keys to just 1 key that fits all.

MASTER KEYED

Master keying basically gives different keys different levels of access. The best way to describe this is to think of a hotel with 5 floors; The cleaner for each floor only requires access to rooms on that floor but no other floor. The cleaning supervisors key will access all rooms on all floors but not the offices. The managers key will open all offices and all rooms on all floors.

RESTRICTED PATENTED PROFILES

These types of locks have keys that cannot legally be copied by local key cutters etc, particularly useful for landlords, clubs, bed & breakfast etc when you hand a key to someone they should not be able to get copies

HOW PATENTED KEYS PROTECT

If keys can be borrowed a duplicate can be cut locally, then the borrower becomes an unauthorised master key holder.

Cylinder systems that rely on copyright protection can no longer be legally protected from others manufacturing and selling ‘pirate’ key blanks. Only cylinder systems that offer Patent protection for their keys can truly protect against illegal key blank duplication.

Patent protection prevents unauthorised duplication of the key
● Manufacturer can impose restrictions on key copying
● Manufacturer can control who has access to key cutting
● Keys cannot be cut at any high street shops without legal implications

CLUTCH RELEASE FUNCTION (euro cylinder with thumb turn)

● When the key is inserted into the cylinder, the thumbturn disengages by use of a clutch mechanism
● This allows the door to be unlocked even if the thumbturn is being held in the locked position from the inside – ideal for situations where a non key holder could hold the thumbturn in the locked position to prevent the door being unlocked

CLASSROOM FUNCTION (euro cylinder with thumb turn)

● Provides the same functionality as clutch release plus
● The thumbturn can be rotated in one direction only via a ratchet mechanism in the turn side of the cylinder
● Person can only unlock the door from inside – ensures that somebody inside the room cannot lock anybody out but can always escape in case of emergency

CONSTRUCTION KEYING

● Construction keying allows the contractor of a project full access during the construction period
● On first operation of the building owner’s key, the construction key will be permanently disabled.

The problem with UPVC Doors

Reading this could save you lots of money – I have blogged about The problem with UPVC doors previously but it’s something I come across so often it’s worth repeating.

The locking mechanism of whatever type engages when you push up the handle; when you take the next step of turning the key it locks the mechanism in place.

The action of pushing the handle up usually turns a number of cogs which engage with he top and bottom sliders to slide the locking mechanism into place. This should be an easy smooth operation; if you are having to exert extra force something is not right (usually the door needs adjusting).

The teeth on these cogs are not strong and if you continue to use undue force on the handle the teeth will break off resulting in you being locked in or out and requiring the gearbox or in many cases whole locking mechanism replacing which can be expensive.

UPVC Door alignment problems can be heightened in extremes of cold and heat making the problem worse.

If you have to use extra force to push the handle up then having the door looked at ASAP cold save you lots of trouble and money later on.

10 Simple Things To Help Secure Your Home For Under £100

We were recently challenged to come up with 10 simple things to help secure your home for under £100.  At first it seemed an impossible task, however always up for a challenge we set out with shopping list in hand and were rather surprised myself to spend just £88.14 leaving £11.86 change out of the £100.

Security is like many things, on the whole you tend to get what you are prepared to pay for and sometimes cheap security offers little or no security or may let you down in some way just when it is needed, however with a little knowledge you needn’t pay the earth and most expensive is not always best.

We have assumed that you already have good sufficient locks on all of your ground floor doors.

Always read you insurance company’s minimum requirements for security (Usually they will require at least 5 lever British Standard lock or equivalent on the final exit point for example)

You may not be aware that if someone enters your house using a key, insurers may not pay out. It is always sound advice to change the locks when you move house so you can account for all of the keys.

The vast majority of residential burglaries are opportunist, what I mean by that is a burglar will walk along a street and look at the houses. Their aim is to get in and out as quickly and quietly as possible without being seen and therefore minimise the chance of being caught red handed.

This means that although there is no such thing as 100% security (and anyone that sells you that is wrong), every little thing that you add that will cause a burglar to make more noise, take more time or be more visual getting in will put them off. The chances are that if you have sufficient security they will in all likelihood burgle a house nearby that presents them less of a challenge.

With regards the items we have selected below, some are very good purchases that will do what they are meant to do but others may not to withstand the test of time and could let you down just when you need them therefore some examples below we would usually recommend something of better quality but our challenge was to find ten things for less than £100.

Our advice is to find a local trustworthy locksmith who will undertake a security survey for you. They will offer sound advice some of which you can undertake yourself and some are best left to a professional to undertake.

We have not used anything found on auction sites such as EBay as that might be dammed as cheating all of the products were found from normal retailers that are easily found.

There are many things that can be done at no cost whatsoever which I will cover in another blog in the near future.

Padlock and Hasp – Approx £11

There are a couple of issues with sheds; you probably don’t realize the total value of everything it contains if it were to be broken into and secondly it is likely to contain many tools and implements that an opportunist burglar could use to enter your home.

Motion sensor shed alarm – £6.73

The cheapest I could find on the internet.  Following on from the link above this will add an additional layer of protection to you shed or garage.  Noisy alarms will often cause the opportunist burglar to leave rather quickly.

Window locks – £7.29 

Window locks are not normally this cheap but I struck lucky and found some in a sale. Most insurers insist as part of minimum security requirements that you have window locks on all ground floor windows and any accessible from the ground floor outside. If you do not have these and you are burgled, even if the window was not a point of entry, if an insurance assessor comes out they may refuse the claim.

 Crimestoppers Property Protector – £19.99

One of my more expensive purchases but nevertheless worthwhile, this enables you to mark about 200 of your valued possessions with a unique coded fingerprint registered to you.  Property coming into possession of police is scanned using special scanners.  This means if items of value to you are marked there is a much greater chance of you being reunited with them if they are ever stolen.

Outdoor Motion detector light – £10.34

During the hours of darkness lighting can not only be a comfort factor for the occupant, it is an excellent deterrent for would be opportunist burglars who clearly do not want to be seen. Be sure to fit them out of reach so they cannot be tampered with and if they are bright halogen lights, not pointing directly at neighbors houses so as to cause a nuisance.

7 Day digital plug in timer – £7.33

During the hours of darkness at night time most opportunist burglars will move on to another premises rather than risk being caught where a home owner is indoors. Having one or two lights programmed to came on an off during the hours of darkness for instance the lounge during the evening followed by the bedroom a little later, can help to give the appearance that someone is at home,.  Some timers are able to vary the times slightly each day to increase the randomness a little.

Low Energy 15w Sensor Bulb – £10.34

If you have outdoor lights, these bulbs are not only energy saving, they automatically come on at dusk and go off at dawn so you don’t have to remember to switch them on and off all of the time.  They will always come on at dusk and go off at dawn whether you are home or away.  The light in itself can be a deterrent during darkness and the fact that they always come on at night makes it harder for a would be opportunist burglar to determine whether you are home or not.

Hawthorn Shrub – £1.29  

Preventing unwanted visitors entering your property is what one needs to achieve, but nobody wants their home looking like a prison surrounded by high walls and barbed wire, and that is not necessary. Mother nature provides an environmentally friendly, attractive and particularly effective alternative – the prickly bush.

Pricky plants make very effective deterrent hedges. Don’t go for height particularly at the front of the house as this could hide unwanted visitors on your property from sight.  A high hedge can be great for an opportunist theft as they are confident of not being seen while they are up to no good.

Suitable plants can also be positioned strategically in order to deter people climbing drainpipes or to protect vulnerable (e.g. ground floor) windows. Prickly plants act as a psychological and physical barrier intended to make your property a less suitable target to the opportunistic thief.

 Draper Hand operated Shredder – £6.84

Identity fraud has been well publicised in theUKand appears to still be growing.  I am extremely careful with my banking documents and just today have discovered someone has correctly entered all of my credit card details to make a purchase from a Chinese website.  Putting any financial or personal documents into the waste un-shredded is just inviting potential problems, therefore a shredder is on my absolute must list.

Basic Magnetic door/window alarm – 6.99

This very basic magnetic alarm can be fitted to doors or windows that may be vulnerable and has it’s own inbuilt siren when the contact is broken.  These devices might be a good idea to take on holiday if you are at all worried about hotel or villa security as they can be fixed in seconds with double sided tape.