Prevent Leaving Your Child in Car

Prevent Leaving Your Child in Car

It can happen to anyone. A child dies in a vehicle after being locked inside. This tragedy typically occurs when a parent or caregiver makes a change in their routine. The parent that normally drives the child to their activities has a schedule change, causing the other parent to take over the chauffeur responsibility. When someone is not accustomed to handling this responsibility, a lapse in memory can occur. Depending on the weather conditions, a child locked in a vehicle may experience hypothermia or heat stroke.

Child locked in car
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Avoid Burglary: Reinforce Your Doors

Avoid Burglary: Reinforce Your Doors

Sometimes, TV talk shows have a panel of guests made up of reformed burglars and thieves who are tasked with informing viewers about how they can prevent burglaries. Guests talk about their crooked pasts and how they entered the homes they burglarized.

Most say they entered through an open window or unlocked door. Some may claim they picked locks. However, picking a lock is not as easy as reformed burglars may make it seem. Instead, the majority of homes are entered by force. Burglars will break, pry, jimmy, kick, or cut open doors and windows to gain access to a home.

Since the majority of illegal entries are by force rather than finesse, homeowners should examine the construction of doors, windows, and their frames of their homes. A sturdy, solid door jamb or window frame can help prevent a forced break-in.

Choose Sturdy Materials

Solid wooden doors without decorative panels or steel and steel-clad doors offer the best protection against forced break-ins. Likewise, door frames constructed of steel or solid wood should be installed securely to the walls or wall studs. Lastly, the door and door frame should fit together snugly. If a homeowner is able to insert a screwdriver between a door and its frame and wiggle the screwdriver more than a quarter-inch, the door needs to be reinforced.

If reinforcing a door’s frame is impractical, use a latch guard to reinforce the area around the latch of the lock. The latch guard will make it nearly impossible for a thief to spread the door and frame apart enough to “pop the lock”.

Additionally, a door’s hinges should be protected to make it difficult to pry the door open from its hinges. Homeowners can use hinge guards or hinges that do not have a removable pin to protect the hinged sides of their doors. Hinges should be on the interior of the building and not on the exterior where thieves can access them.

Don’t Forget the Windows

Windows are more vulnerable to attack than doors. Secure all windows with security screens or decorative grills, especially if the windows are not visible from the street or are not well-lit.

Once you have determined that your doors, windows, and their frames are as secure as possible, choose the best locks you can afford for your doors. Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville can install the lock that best fits your needs and help you upgrade the security of your doors and windows. To get started, give us a call at 904-354-8566.

Duplicate Your High Security Keys is a Good Idea

Duplicate Your High Security Keys is a Good Idea

Many Jacksonville home and vehicle owners can remember a time when a key for a mortise lock could be duplicated for under a quarter. With the high-security keys used in many home and vehicle locks today, that price seems to be long gone. Duplicating high-security keys can cost tens to hundreds of dollars. While high-security keys may look like ordinary keys, the technology within them makes them difficult to duplicate and requires advanced locksmithing tools and expertise.

Why Do Duplicate High-Security Keys Cost So Much?

High-security keys are designed to be difficult to copy without the proper equipment. That is why it costs so much to duplicate the key. Take, for example, automobile keys equipped with VATS (Vehicle Anti-Theft System), a system developed in the 1980s to stem the theft of Chevrolet Corvettes.

VATS-equipped keys have pellets in their blades that have a particular electric resistance value. If an improper key is inserted into a car’s ignition and the onboard computer reads the wrong code in the key, the computer shuts the ignition system down for four minutes.

On the locksmith’s end, the expense incurred for generating a key for one of these vehicles is partially due to the cost of the pellet equipped blanks, the electronic equipment needed for the key to communicate with the on-board computer.

The difficulty of originating a key comes not from obtaining the correct pellet blank, but from the interrogation of the computer. Even with the proper blank and equipment, a locksmith can spend two hours trying to determine the proper resistance of the key. Even when a locksmith has the right “decoder,” every time he “asks the wrong question,” the computer shuts the system down.

Why Making Duplicate Keys Is Worth the Money

Despite the frustrations inherent in duplicating keys, they offer good, difficult-to-compromise security for Jacksonville, FL home and vehicle owners. That’s why the extra costs associated with duplicating the keys are justifiable. For example, insurers often offer discounts for vehicles that are VATS-equipped, since the systems decrease the chance vehicles will be stolen.

It is also wise to keep a properly coded and cut duplicate VATS key as an alternative to having a locksmith make new keys from scratch, which can cost upwards of three hundred dollars.

Though security can be expensive, having a backup system, including duplicate high-security keys, is a money saver. Let us know how we can help you by contacting Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville at 904-354-8566.

Pedestrian Safety for Your Kids

Pedestrian Safety for Your Kids


Pedestrian Safety

Teach kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.

Whether your kids are walking to school, the park or a friend’s house, here are a few simple tips to make sure they get there safely.

Unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related death in the United States for children ages 5 to 19. Teenagers are now at greatest risk. Teens have a death rate twice that of younger children and account for half of all child pedestrian deaths.

  • Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Then remind them to continue looking until safely across.
  • Teach kids to put phones, headphones and devices down when crossing the street. It is particularly important to reinforce this message with teenagers.
  • It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Children under 10 need to cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, most kids are unable to judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars until age 10.
  • Be a good role model. Set a good example by putting your phone, headphones and devices down when walking around cars.


Safes: What You Need to Know

Ever consider buying a safe? Below are a few things to consider when you are buying and placing a safe. This information is intended to help you to protect your property and give you some peace of mind.

Safes Aren’t Invincible

The saying in the security industry is that money buys you time. When you are paying for quality all you are really getting is a product that will give the thief more trouble. There is a reason that banks do not have their vaults in the middle of the lobby. A safe is just simply not enough protection. What gives you greater protection actually comes from your discretion and thinking of other layers of precaution- that is, safe placement. Secure your safe so not only is it hard to find, but make sure no one is looking for it.

Buy a Quality Safe

Like almost every aspect of security, the amount you pay is going to relate to the protection you get. For most safes, the doors are stronger than the body, and on cheaper safes the doors are as weak as the body. More expensive safes will have thicker and stronger metal. In very expensive models, the safes are made with materials in the metal that dull drills, blunt cutting tools, and disperse heat in defense of torch attacks. However, every safe can be opened with enough time and the right tools. That being said, time is what thieves do not want to spend. Therefore, the best deterrent is having the safe that is the hardest to break into.

Don’t Talk About Your Safe

Yes, safes are cool and it might be tempting to brag about it. But, mentioning you have a safe means you also have something expensive that you want to protect. That is exactly why you should not talk about your safe. Not a lot of people have safes, so if your home is ever robbed in an act of pure coincidence, there is no reason a person should be able to go straight to your safe. Having that information out there will make you more vulnerable. Word of mouth is a strong force when it comes to this- You cannot control who your friends and family members will tell, who those people will in turn tell, and so on. Break the cycle, and don’t talk about your safe.

Hide Your Safe Well

Do not keep your safe out in the open. Concealing the existence of a safe might even protect you if you slip up and mention you have a safe. If the safe is hidden well, then knowing about it is only going to be a third of the battle. The other two-thirds will come in finding it and getting into it. A great way of making both of these things more difficult is to put the safe in a wall or in the floor. This will help cover the weaker sides of the safe, which is everything but the door, and allow you to hide the safe with a false floor, wall, etc.

Inaccessibility is Good

The best safes are those that are made so you can’t even get to them. This is ideal for a safe that does not get frequent use. A safe behind a picture is hidden, but a safe that is inside a wall is invisible and inaccessible. Something that needs to be exhumed will never be stumbled upon by a common thief. This is a very old method that still has people finding money during home renovations, which is precisely how effective it can be. The people that hid their valuables cannot even remember where to look. This is truly the best way to hide a safe. Again, it is not practical for safes that you want to be able to access periodically because it should ideally be very time-consuming and require a fair amount of destruction. Hiding something that requires destruction of your own property will also be the last suspicion for a burglar.

Get Creative

We’ve all see movies that feature safes. Get creative with your home safe. The movies show all those obvious ways that people can hide their safes: under loose floorboards, behind a picture, etc. But you can think of better ways- because every time we see a framed picture or hear a squeaky floor, we can’t help but wonder. Do the unexpected and your standard criminal will never be able to find your safe, let alone break into it.

Don’t rely on the illusion of security. Learn how criminals are going to approach your valuables, and you set yourself on the path to never being robbed.

Afraid You Misplaced Your Keys? There’s a Solution for That!

Lost your keys? Get them returned for free!

Now there’s a simple, convenient way for you to get your lost keys returned to you – the Pop-A-Lock® FREE Key Return program.

We all know how easy (and frustrating) it can be to lose your keys – and it can also be expensive if you have to replace your keys or change the locks. Our key return program can save you time, trouble and money – and it only takes two simple steps to join the program:

  1. Place our special “Key Return Tag” on your key chain.
  2. Register by entering your tag number and contact information in the form below.

That’s it! If you lose your keys in the future, the finder can simply drop your keys in the mail (as instructed on the tag). Pop-A-Lock® will pay the postage and your keys will be mailed to whatever address you have provided. It’s safe, it’s convenient – and best of all – it’s free!

Simply sign up with your information here:

Important Home Security Tips

If your home is your castle, you need to keep it fortified and secure at all times. No need for a drawbridge, moats or crocodiles, however. You simply need to abide by these important home security tips, and your home will keep you and your valuables safe and sound.

Know Who has Keys to Your Home

When you first move into your home, you need to be aware that anyone who has ever had a key to your front door could still have access to your home. This can mean that quite a few people could simply enter your home without you even being aware, so you need to update your security pronto.

Have your locks rekeyed or replaced entirely, so you know that you’re the only one who has access to your home.

Get Sturdy Doors

A sturdy exterior door and sturdy door frame can mean the difference between being a target for thieves and actually being robbed. Sturdy doors that can’t be force easily make it more difficult for thieves to get in and out quickly, making your home a less attractive target. Make sure the door hinges are located on the inside, because this makes it harder for thieves to pry them loose and gain entry.

Install a Deadbolt

A properly installed deadbolt is one of the most effective locks available for homes. It’s much harder for thieves to break in when the deadbolt is set; firmly connecting the door to the frame every time you lock it.

Keep Entrances Well Lit

This makes any intruder highly visible from the street, and makes your house less attractive because of it. Also, leave lights on inside your house when you go out. Put them on a timer to give the illusion that someone is home at all times.

Get an Alarm

An alarm can be an effective deterrent, and the louder, the better. Thieves don’t want any attention drawn to them, and an alarm does just that.

Keep a Good Rapport with Your Neighbors

It’s always good to have your neighbors around to watch out for your home when you’re not there. Just be sure to return the favor, and you’ll make your street a safer place to live.

Does your car key have a twin?

Many of us wouldn’t think of leaving our car unlocked on a city street or a parking lot or even in our own driveway. But that lock may not be as secure as we think. Have you wondered if maybe someone else could have the exact same key as you?

In this informative video from Fox4 TV, you will learn about different people discovering this situation for themselves.

Have you ever wondered if someone has the exact same key to your car?

Does Your Car Key Have a Twin?

One takeway: ..”[J]ust because the key will open the door doesn’t mean it will necessarily start the engine.”

And remember, if you need Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville to rekey your locks or provide your home with deadbolts or high security keys, call us at 904-354-8566 and we will be happy to assist you.

Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe From Burglary

Whether or not we’re home, we all want that peace of mind that everything is all right. Here are some helpful tips on being vigilant:

  • Use the locks on all doors and windows.
  • Make sure that your security systems are working and that they have batteries and that installed light bulbs are working.
  • Be cautious of who you give your keys to, since keys can be easily copied.
  • Don’t leave a  spare key outside your home. Instead, give it to a neighbor.
  • Don’t publicize your vacations (your absence from your home!) on social media.
  • Don’t advertise valuables- break up packaging for expensive new gear before throwing it into the trash or recycling.
  • Take a look at your house from the outside and put yourself in the shoes of the thief: What can you see that you’d like the steal?
  • Don’t let your mail pile up in your mailbox or the front of the house while away on vacation. Plan for a neighbor or friend to collect it for you.
  • Store valuables, such as money and jewelery, in a locked safe.
  • Mark valuable items inside with an engraver or ultra-violet pen. In case they’re stolen, they could be returned to you.

“Deadbolt Danger: Who has the keys to your house?”

This is a very insightful vlog from a news station. It introduces the idea that mass-produced locks may be a very dangerous item:

“Mass-produced locks could result in keys being duplicated and used to enter your home. Here’s how to keep your family safe.”

The article says to bring your coded key to a locksmith like us to be rekeyed. Another option is to get high security locks for your home or office. Whatever service you need, Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville has you covered!