Seven Tips to Prevent a Burglary at Your Home

As the fall weather sets in and Jacksonville homeowners start to bring in their lawn furniture, the professional locksmiths at Pop-A-Lock encourage all homeowners to take some simple steps to improve the safety of their homes. Here are seven simple tips to prevent burglaries at your home.

1. Make the Home Look Occupied 

Burglars avoid homes that they believe are occupied. That is why it is important to always make a home look occupied even when its owners are away, whether out to dinner or on vacation. Installing outdoor motion-sensor lights is a good first step, as is putting an indoor light on a timer so it goes on and off at regular intervals.

If homeowners are leaving a home unoccupied for a longer period of time, law enforcement officials recommend that they arrange for someone to mow their lawns or clear their sidewalks and driveways of snow so the home looks occupied. Likewise, homeowners leaving for an extended period of time should also get their mail held so there is no back-up at the mailbox, which is a sign to burglars that no one is home.

2. Close and Lock Doors and Windows 

Whenever homeowners leave their houses, even if for a short time, they should close and lock or otherwise secure all windows, exterior doors and garage doors. Garage doors are often overlooked and can be an easy way for burglars to gain access to a home. A professional locksmith can help homeowners install appropriate window, door and garage door locks.

3. Upgrade Flimsy Door and Window Locks 

Burglars are able to breach flimsy, worn-out locks on both doors and windows. Homeowners should upgrade exterior doors with flimsy push-button or switch locks to deadbolt locks that securely bolt doors to their frames. Both double and single-cylinder models are available for doors with and without glass panes, respectively. Professional locksmiths can also upgrade window locks and the locks on sliding glass doors, which are common points of entry for burglars.

4. Invest in an Alarm System 

Another great way to deter burglars is to install a security alarm. These systems include door, window and motion sensors that sound an alarm when triggered and notify the police that a breach has been made. Posting signage about the presence of a security alarm may deter burglars.

5. Block the View into the Home without Providing an Easy Escape Route 

One way to prevent burglaries is to make sure the burglars cannot window shop before breaking in. Use curtains on windows, including garage and basement windows, so burglars cannot case the house and plan their entries.

However, do not use landscaping to block the view of potential burglars, since heavy shrubbery or hedges can be great cover for a thief making his or her escape from a home. Instead, keep dense landscaping away from the house.

6. Avoid Stashing Valuables in the Master Bedroom 

Most families keep their most prized possessions in the master bedroom, including jewelry and cash. Burglars know this and often make the master bedroom their first stop after breaking into a home. One easy way to avoid theft is to keep one’s valuables in a safe in an inconspicuous part of the home or outside the home in a safe deposit box.

7. Hire a Professional Locksmith to Upgrade and Install Locks 

One of the best ways to prevent a break-in is to upgrade the locks on one’s home and change the locks after purchasing a home or after being burgled. We can recommend the best locks for your home and install them while you wait.

To improve security at your home, call Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville today at 904-246-4590 to schedule an appointment or visit us online.

Get the Facts on Biometric Locks

Could your fingerprint be your next key?

Biometric locks (also known as fingerprint locks) are no longer the stuff of science fiction: they’re here, and you can get one installed on your home or business in Jacksonville. Biometric locks vary, but all have some sort of optical or thermal reader that can identify individual fingerprints. Assuming you’re on the authorized list, all you need to do to unlock a door is put your finger on the reader and enter the right PIN. Pretty elegant, right?

In fact, biometric locks come with both pros and cons. It’s a good idea to learn about both before making a decision whether a biometric lock is right for you. If you have specific questions, give Pop-A-Lock of Jacksonville a call at 904-246-4590 or visit our page all about biometric locks.



Pros of biometric locks

  • No more keys! Are you prone to getting locked out? You’ll never be able to forget or lose your key if the key is your fingerprint.
  • Control access for multiple users. Biometric locks can recognize anywhere from 20 – 1000+ different fingerprints, depending on the model. It’s easy to delete or add users. Some of the more sophisticated locks even allow you to control who has access at what time or on what day. If you have guests, you can program them into the system for the duration of their stay and delete them after they leave. No need to get spare keys made.
  • Individuals who have access cannot share codes or keys. Only the people you intend to get in can.
  • Diverse applications. Biometric locks are available on locks, deadbolts, lockboxes, safes, and even computers. The technology is becoming more common every year, as are the number of applications. High security versions are also available.

Cons of Biometric Locks

  • Reader problems. Biometric locks are newer technology and can still be prone to reader failure, especially in wet weather or bright sunshine. If you have a cut or scar on your finger, it may not recognize your fingerprint.
  • User error. People who are unfamiliar with how to use a biometric lock may experience problems when they present their finger.
  • Expense. A biometric lock often costs a little more than a comparable mechanical or electronic lock.

Still have questions about how a biometric lock would work for you? Call Pop-A-Lock of Jacksonville, FL today at 904-246-4590 to get some honest answers and a free upfront quote on installation.

Photo by: Stefano Mortellaro

10 Must-Do Things to Protect Your House Over the Holidays

Must-Do-Things-Pop-A-Lock-JacksonvilleThe real Grinch who steals Christmas isn’t a sneering, green book character: it’s the burglar who targets your home around the holidays. According to the FBI, every year there are over 400,000 burglaries in November and December alone. Why are thieves so active over the holidays? Two reasons: 1) many people travel during these months, leaving behind empty houses, and 2) the high value gifts you bought for your friends and family can be stolen and resold.

If you’re away from home for the holidays, here are 10 must-do things to keep your celebrations Grinch-free and your home safe from burglars. And if you’re staying put this winter, keep in mind that all of these tips are great any time you leave your house for more than a day or two.

  1. Keep valuables out of sight. Be careful where you put your collectibles, gadgets and wrapped presents. If they can easily be seen from a window, move them out of sight. Not only are they targets, but they also tell burglars that your house contains more valuables. On the same note, be careful disposing of boxes from expensive items like plasma TVs and other gadgets. Don’t just leave them out on the curb for anyone to see. Break them down and turn them inside out.
  2. Fix your outdoor lighting and trim your hedges before leaving. Both increase visibility, which burglars hate. Replace any burned out lightbulbs and tidy hedges and low tree limbs to reduce access and cover.
  3. Activate your burglar alarm. Monitored alarms that are alert authorities — not just make noise — are effective deterrents and a good investment.
  4. Beef up your window security. Your windows are one of the most vulnerable parts of your house. Unlike doors, windows typically do not have strong locks. A residential locksmith can give you an idea of what options are available for securing your windows.
  5. Stop your mail and newspaper delivery. Nothing screams ‘empty house’ like a bunch of newspapers piled up on the driveway.
  6. Arrange for your driveway to be plowed regularly if you live in a snowy area. Here in Florida, snow doesn’t tend to be an issue. But if you’re in a colder climate, a snowy driveway is a dead giveaway that no one’s home.
  7. Keep quiet on Facebook or Twitter. It’s tempting to post about your upcoming trip, but unless your security settings are high, your posts are visible to the public. Don’t make assumptions about who might or might not be reading. A burglar who knows that your whole family will be in another state for Christmas is much more likely to target your house.
  8. Put your appliances on timers to make it appear like someone is at home — or better yet, ask a housesitter or friend to stay over part or all of the time. At minimum, get a neighbor to put out your garbage cans on garbage day (and take them back in). The more occupied your house looks, the less attractive it is to a burglar.
  9. Remove your spare key if you keep one outside. It’s really not a good idea to have a spare key under the door mat or a conspicuously fake rock by the front door. Burglars know where to look. However, if you do have a spare key lying around outside, put it away before you leave. And find a better place for it when you come back! Leaving your spare with a trusted neighbor or friend is a much better bet than the door mat.
  10. Lock all your windows and doors before leaving. Obvious, but worth mentioning. Check everything — side doors, sliding doors, garage doors. And leave your phone number with your neighbors if they see anything suspicious in your absence.

Does your home security need a boost for the holidays? Call Pop-A-Lock today at 904-246-4590 for reliable, honest 
residential locksmith services in Jacksonville. Here’s to a happy and safe holiday season!