New Year’s Security

Crime is our country’s number one social issue.  As a local security professional, our objective is to take an active role in crime prevention and reinforce the importance of
securing your home or business.  The following reminders are some of the
New Year’s resolutions that should be on everyone’s mind these days.

*  “Neighborhood Watch” programs work.  Get involved.
Get to know your neighbors.  Report suspicious people to the police.
You can always remain anonymous if you don’t want the police to know your

*  The bad guy looks for the weak home, the one with the open door, a
broken window, the one without the home security system or security locks.

*  It doesn’t cost a dime to take the obvious steps toward securing your
home.  Keep points of entry locked with dead-bolt locks on all your
exterior doors.

*  Draw shades and leave a radio or t.v. on when no one is home.
Install lighting with timers.  Have a neighbor park their car in your

*  Keep tabs on who has keys to your home.  Change locks if keys are
lost or stolen.  If you’ve recently moved in, change all door locks

*  The bad guys don’t all look like Bluto.  Always request ID from
service or utility workers.  They can pass it under the door or up to a
peep hole that you’ve installed.  Check for any alteration on the ID or

*  Be careful at night.  Keep your garage and the path to your home
well-lit.  Motion sensor spot lights work well.  Trim the landscaping
and make sure there are no easy hiding places.

*  The bad guys will sneak up on you.  Before stepping out of your
car, look around and make sure that no one followed you into the garage.
Keep your finger on your car remote with a panic alarm.  Sound it
at any emergency.

*  And don’t forget to lock cars, homes, and businesses 24 hours.
Crime is 24 hours.  Alarms should be used in conjunction with dead-bolt
security locks.

*  Have a safe, secure New Year.

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Spring Security When Out And About

As a locksmith and security consultant, I’m often asked about personal security when out and about.  I can tell you that I’ve heard everything, and am still hearing stories from my clients when they became victims of robberies, rapes, and burglaries.  The few security tips that follow may save you and your loved ones from being another victim.

Always be alert and aware.  Have your vehicle keys in your hand when you are approaching and ready to unlock the the car door without delay.

When approaching your vehicle, look under it and around it.  Before getting in your car look in the back seat and on the floor.

If a suspicious person (s) approach you car, honk your car’s horn.  It’s one of the loudest and fastest ways to scare someone off or let others know that you are in need of help.

If a car approaches you while you are walking, and you are harassed by the occupants, scream and run in the opposite direction, so that the driver will have to turn around to pursue you.

One of the best suggestions I’ve heard is, if you feel that you are being followed, run or walk quickly to a lighted store or where crowds of people can offer help if needed.  Know where to go for help, police station, fire station, gas station, etc.  Do not go home.

Do anything you can to draw attention.  It may be a good idea to keep a police whistle on your key chain (boy scout whistle is fine).  If you feel compromised, follow your instincts.  Don’t ever feel embarrassed.  Scream, yell, or blow your whistle.

My Other Personal Suggestions:

It’s your life.  Do whatever it takes to survive.  Keep your vehicle in top condition to prevent car trouble.  Keep the tank filled with enough gas to get you out of trouble.

Keep your house keys separate from your car keys.  This is a no brainer.

Do not keep your purse on the seat beside you.  Keep it out of sight.  At stop signals, car windows have been broken out by thieves to snatch a purse or lap top. And, KEEP THOSE CAR DOORS LOCKED AT ALL TIMES!  MACHO MEN TOO.

Avoid carrying large sums of money and unnecessary credit cards.  However, police agencies suggest keeping “mugger money” of ten or fifteen dollars in your wallet or purse to satisfy money hungry thieves.  Consider carrying only a small change purse with necessities instead of a handbag.

Avoid becoming the next victim, by taking the right precautions and thinking clearly. 

Be alert in and around your vehicle and environment!

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Several Things That Will Target Your Home For Burglars

locksmithAccording to the FBI, a home is burglarized every 14.6 seconds.  Your dollar loss is, on the average $2,119.  I can understand this, and I can also tell you that a lot of home owners do not lock their doors when they are in them and when they leave them.  I have installed security locks on doors, turned around to leave, and watched the client leave the door unlocked.  They have commented that “we only lock them at night”.  Well let me tell you, Burglary is a crime of convenience.  Crime, especially burglary, is committed 24/7.   Burglary is when they break into your home, burglarize it and leave.  Robbery is when they break into your home, pull a weapon on you, or strong arm you, and then burglarize your home.  This is something you should make clear when calling the police.

Read the following and see what you might be doing to encourage a burglar to burglarize your home.

Are you leaving your empty boxes from the big screen t.v. or computer you just purchased at the curb for the trash pick up?  Break down the boxes, and tie them up so no one can read the content that was purchased.

What about those spare keys that you think you are hiding?  Forget about the decorative fake rock, mailbox, foot mat, or the ledge over the door.  I’ve seen it all, and then some.  Better to give a key to a trusted neighbor or family member close by.  Several companies sell lock boxes, similar to real estate lock boxes, but they have to be bolted to an object to properly secure it. Thru bolting is the recommended installation.  Bolted to a 4X4 or larger will do the job.

Leaving your ladders out is a good way to advertise to a burglar that he/she can reach the upper levels of your home.  Better idea is to chain the ladders down with a lock and key.  Not a cheap dime store variety either.  Has to be a brass padlock.  Remember the rain and snow will seep into a cheap lock and rust it out.

Now that Spring has sprung, how about the tall growth of flowers trees, bushes, and plants are ideal places for burglars to hide until you leave the house unguarded.  Trim back the growth on a regular basis.  And trim limbs that may provide an easy way to climb up to a window of your home.  It looks better, and gives you a little peace of mind knowing that no one will jump out of the bushes at you.

I’ll have more on protecting you and your home as we move into the season.

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When You’re Out & About:

If you’re leaving and on your way out, remember to lock the doors and windows.  Doesn’t make any sense making it easy for someone to get in the house when you’re away.  And, if you are going to be away for most of the day/evening, turn on the t.v., stereo, or radio.  Just leaving a few lights turned on, will help to create the impression that you are home.  Alarms are “State of the Art” these days, so look into a good alarm company to install good equipment.

You might also wave to the neighbors before leaving.  If you can, tell them that you’ll be gone for a while.  They just might keep an eye on your home for you.

While were on the subject of neighbors, work out an emergency plan with them, do it soon.  Discuss your work schedules, and exchange phone numbers.  Both should agree to watch each others home while you’re on vacation and pick up the mail, and the newspapers.  You can also work out an emergency plan in case of a fire, or an attack.

So, you can see working together is the best deterrent to crime.  Find out if there is a Crime Watch program in your neighborhood, there is in ours, and if so, get involved.

Planning will result in being properly prepared should an emergency arise.  Again, don’t forget those locks & alarms.

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Many times I’ve been asked about answering the door.  Being a locksmith for over 40 years has given me some insight into this situation.  I’ve heard just about everything, and then some.  

There’s someone knocking or ringing the door bell on your door.  What should you do?  Regardless of whether you are expecting someone, do not automatically unlock the door and open it.  First, do a little investigating.

For example, a simple “Who is it?”is a great way to find out who’s there.  Even if you think you recognize the person’s voice, double check by looking through the peephole in your door. Everybody should have a peephole. If you don’t, have a locksmith install it right away.  

If the person is a stranger, ask what (s) he wants before you open the door.  If it’s a repairman and you didn’t call for one, asked him who called for the repairs.  Check his company credentials, and, if necessary, call the repairman’s office to verify the job order. 

 If you are expecting him, check his company ID card before allowing him to enter.  Once inside, do not allow him free access to the house.  Stay with him, and be available for any questions, or assistance that you can offer.  

Here is a familiar trick that has been used to gain access into homes.  A stranger will approach the house, and knock on the door and then ask to use the phone.  Of course, it’s an emergency.  Instead of letting him/her inside, write down the phone number to be called.  Then have them wait outside while you call the number.  If it is an emergency, you have helped the person; if not, you may have saved yourself from harm.  Think before you react.  

Another useful item is the doorbell/t.v. that electrician’s can install.  It saves you from opening the door in the first place, and you can ID the person on the other side of the door. 

In all cases, be aware of your surroundings.

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Worth Your Security

safety tipsMany times my clients have asked me about personal protection.  A friend who is a receptionist in a church, in a high risk area, was concerned about someone coming into the office on Monday to rob them when they were counting the collection.  She asked the local police department about using pepper spray and they recommended  that she get a can of wasp spray instead. 

The wasp spray, they told her, can shoot up to twenty feet away and is a lot more accurate, while with the pepper spray, they have to get too close to you and could overpower you.  The wasp spray temporarily blinds the attacker until they get to the hospital for an antidote.  She keeps a can on her desk in the office, and it doesn’t attract attention from people like a can of pepper spray would.  She also keeps one nearby at home for home protection.

Please share this with all the people in your life.  Thought this was interesting and might be of use, but don’t use this method around children.

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Locksmith break in The things I hate the most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

*  I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise.  If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait to hear it again.  If doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go back to what he was doing.  It’s human nature.

*  I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

*  I love looking in your windows.  I’m looking for signs that you’re home, and for a nice flat screen TV or gaming system I’d like.  I’ll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets. 

*  Avoid announcing your vacation on your Face book page.  It’s easier than you think to look up your address.

*  To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air.  To me, it’s an invitation.

*  If you don’t answer when I knock, I’ll try the door.  Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in. 

*  An unlocked tool shed in the back makes a great place to hide until you fall asleep or leave the house. 

*  I just love it when you leave the car keys in the unlocked car with the house key attached. 

*  And of course leaving an unlocked garage door is my favorite for gaining entry inside the house, because you forgot to install that deadbolt lock on that door from the garage to the kitchen.  Maybe I’ll use that garage to hide in until you’re fast asleep or have gone to work.    

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