Safes: What You Need to Know

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

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!

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

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:

http://www.popalock.com/key-return-tags

Important Home Security Tips

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

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?

Monday, July 6th, 2015

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.

Helpful Hints for Keeping Your Home Safe Against Burglary

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

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?”

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

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

http://www.11alive.com/story/news/2015/05/13/deadbolt-danger-who-has-the-keys-to-your-house/27169595/

“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!

 

 

Prevent Burglars from Getting In, But Don’t Block Your Way Out

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Deadbolt should prevent burglars, not prevent you from getting out. Simply put: Don’t block your escape route in the event of an emergency.

There are many things you can do to boost home security, such as adding an alarm system or getting a guard dog, but unless you have working deadbolt locks and actually use them, your home isn’t secure, locksmiths say.

Many home intruders use force to gain entry in a majority of home burglaries. Often, deadbolts and locks in general are not functioning properly or they are simply inadequate, so the intruder is able to kick the door in.

A deadbolt is a type of lock with a steel bolt that extends into the door jamb and strike plate of a door frame. The most common type is the single-cylinder deadbolt, operated by a twist knob on the inside of the door and a key on the outside. Some people prefer the double-cylinder deadbolt, which doesn’t have a twist knob and requires a key for operation both inside and outside the home.

Forced Entry

According to the latest FBI statistics, there were 1.9 million burglaries in the United States in 2013, resulting in $4.5 billion in property loss. Out of all burglaries, 59 percent were the result of forced entry. Residential burglaries accounted for 74 percent of all burglaries, and a majority occurred during the daytime.

Quality deadbolts with a hardened steel bolt are suggested. For the deadbolt to function properly, the bolt must extend fully into the hole on the door jamb. The hole should be reinforced with a metal strike plate. If the bolt doesn’t extend all the way into the hole or if a strike plate isn’t used, the lock and door frame can be compromised.

Usually, when someone kicks in a door, it’s not the door that breaks – it’s the door frame. Therefore, you should use 3-inch screws to reinforce the strike plate into the studs of the frame of the house.

Even if you have a deadbolt lock on your door, it won’t make a difference if it’s not used regularly. Typically, many homeowners find it easier to lock the doorknob and often neglect to lock the deadbolt.

Although doorknobs are convenient, it’s deadbolts that make everything more secure.

Single- versus Double-cylinder?

Homeowners should take note that a single-cylinder deadbolt can be breached if an entry door has glass panels, because a burglar can break the glass and reach inside to unlatch the deadbolt. A double-cylinder deadbolt will protect against this, and we recommend homeowners keep a key close by – but out of arm’s reach. However, the double-cylinder deadbolt can be problematic in the event of a house fire because a key is required to unlock the door from the inside.

Another solution may simply be to replace the door itself. Many exterior doors are designed with security in mind, using reinforced glass or small windows far enough away from the lock to prevent a burglar from reaching in.

For additional security, avoid hiding a spare key under the doormat. It’s better to get a secure lockbox for your spare key. It is also recommended new homeowners have their locks changed, because there is no way to know who previously owned keys to your home.

If you need help installing a deadbolt lock in your home, give Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville a call at 904-354-8566.

Learn to Recognize & React to Road Hazards for Your Teen

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

Potential hazards are always on or near the road – other drivers, the environment – and they change moment by moment. Some hazards are so dangerous, we have permanent traffic signs to warn us: sharp curves ahead, flood zones, dead ends. Some are more commonplace: Work zones, a change in the speed limit, one way signs—most of these are easy to identify and there’s usually plenty of time to adjust, even for novice drivers.

Other hazards are more subtle and harder to spot or anticipate: Pedestrians, cyclists, and animals darting into traffic; icy patches on a dark road; emergency vehicles appearing suddenly out of nowhere. Even an experienced driver can have trouble reacting to these hazards.

With years of driving under our belts, we have gotten very good at reacting to these hazards and avoiding them—most of the time. But our newly licensed teens still have a lot to learn. The difference is experience.

In many instances, new teen drivers are unable to identify a potential hazard— they don’t know what to look for, much less how to react.

The science says, they only have about three seconds: One to recognize the hazard, two more to react—but they can’t react to what they don’t see.

This is why your teen must scan the road, constantly. It needs to become second nature, like it is for you. They need use all their mirrors and know what is in front of them, what is behind them, and what is beside them. Most of all, your teen must learn to always be aware and scan the road. It’s helpful to think about What If situations – because on the road, everything is fair game.

Mass-Produced Locks: Who Really Has the Keys to Your House

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

We don’t often think about this: Mass-produced locks could result in keys being duplicated and used to enter your home.

 

How to Keep Your Family Safe

If you have a mass produced deadbolt keeping you safe, it could be pretty easy for thieves to break in your home, just by turning the key.

While you think you’re keeping your family safe the same code is protecting hundreds of other families across the country making it easy for thieves to get the same key.

By taking down the number printed on the front of your key anyone who sees it has the combination to open your front door.

And you don’t even need to go to a locksmith to get it cut. There are companies online that cut you a key just with a code, and they ship it to you.

Having that code printed in your key is not safe.

Anyone who has one of these deadbolts installed have their locks rekeyed and get a non-duplicate key to hide the code. This usually costs around $5 per key. This will hide the code and make it impossible for thieves to tell what combination you have.

If you’re still uneasy, we recommend getting a high security lock specially made for your doors.

Apparently, the companies who make these locks say they don’t keep track of which locks go where, and that there are hundreds of different codes, so the likelihood of someone having your key is very small.

News: Statewide Locksmith Ring Exposed

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

Just in case you missed the news on these locksmith scammers: Statewide locksmith ring exposed

One thing to remember about Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville is that we will never charge you more than originally quoted.  And you can quote us on that!