5 Security Tips for Moving into a New Home

Moving into a new home comes with a lot of new responsibilities, but the first one should be your home’s security. Having a secure home means having a more secure life and not worrying about your family’s safety. You want to protect this investment you’ve made, your valuables inside the home, and the people you share the home with which is why you need to learn a few security tips for the move in.

With burglaries occurring mostly in residential properties more than any other type in the US, it’s important to be ready before anything can happen. Use these five tips for securing your new home.

 Are you Safe in your own home? Simple drawing

Secure your doors and windows

Start by securing doors and windows since many times burglaries happen through these access points. You’ll want to inspect your doors to ensure strong frames and protected hinges. If the wood is hollow or you have a mail slot in the door, you may want to consider a replacement door since it may be easy to break down or reach through and unlock.

Install a latch guard, peephole, or additional deadbolt on your front door and then work on replacing the window latches with locks or key-operated levers. Swapping out tempered or laminated glass to a stronger material will help with home security as well.

Get to know the neighbors

One of the easiest ways to stay safer is to meet your neighbors and build a relationship that will motivate one another to keep an eye out on the neighborhood. Your neighbors can help keep an eye on your home when you’re away to look for suspicious activity, but only if they know you and your routines. You can do the same for them to help keep the neighborhood a little bit safer.

Install a security system

You’ll definitely want to work with a professional in your area to install a security system. They will be able to help you put cameras up and point them in the perfect places to monitor, set you up with a motion sensor, and make suggestions on the type of security measures to have for your home.

Light up landscaping and add signs

Head out to the front and back lawn to work on lighting up the house better at night with landscape lighting. Many times a lit-up home with landscape lighting throughout is not going to be a theft target like a darker home with hiding spots would.

You can install motion sensor lighting if you don’t want to leave it on all night. Then put signs up around the house to show that you have a security system inside so that any burglars trying to break in during the day while you’re away will want to go elsewhere knowing that an alarm may go off.

Attempt to break-in yourself

Lastly, stay safe by trying to break into your home to look for vulnerabilities. You can even ask a friend to try to break in to see if they find places around the home that you may not have thought to secure. It will help you to determine what you can see through the curtains from inside, what valuables you’ve left unattended outside, and what areas are easy to access or hiding spots.

Don’t be a victim of a burglary in your new home due to neglecting some safety precautions. Use these tips to secure up your new home so that you can breathe easier during the day and throughout the night.

Why You Should Consider Adding a Latch Guard to Your Lock

You’ve probably used the old credit card trick before to get into a door or used other tricks to open a door in which you can actually see the lock. These types of doors are lacking a latch guard and this extra little feature is what protects a door from getting broken into using the oldest tricks in the book. This inexpensive addition to a door could mean the difference between a break-in and a close call. Take a look at why you need to add a latch guard to your lock.

What is a latch guard?

A latch guard is intended to protect your latch from someone trying to pry it open. These are pieces of metal that go over your door’s latch to block it from being accessed while locked. When a person comes up to the door and wants to try to access, they can skip over the knobs and lever and go straight to your latch to try to break in.

The door latch is a spring-loaded piece reaching from the door to the door jamb. A burglar will want to try to release the latch from the jamb of the door by prying it open with any tool they may have. A latch guard over the latch will require the burglar to attempt to pry it open further from the latch which will typically leave them locked out, but also standing around long enough to potentially get a good look at them on security footage.

 latchguard protecting door

Why you need one

If you’ve ever worried about someone trying to use a credit card to open your door, it’s because you don’t have a latch guard to give you that extra security. Sometimes locks aren’t properly installed or they simply get worn down and more likely to get bypassed. When you can see the actual latch, that means you are at risk of lock tampering. A latch guard takes that possibility out of the equation now that you can’t see the lock and nothing can access the lock in the event that it’s vulnerable and able to be easily bypassed. This could be a major security risk for your office that has doors that open out.

When a latch guard is applied, a burglar that is trying to move the frame of the door to pop the latch out of the frame can no longer do so. They would normally try to do so with a break bar or a long, narrow object inserted into the exposed crack at the latch, but a guard prevents any access for something to be inserted and forcing the latch to pop out.

It’s the best way to prevent a break-in to your business after hours when you are carrying sensitive data or money that you wouldn’t want accessed by a burglar. In fact if you were to get broken into, it’s possible that the intruder could cut into the wall and gain access to a business next door causing even more damage.

Types of latch guards

Latch guards are typically just a sheet of metal to cover the latch on the door, typically installed on exterior doors of commercial buildings to prevent break-ins to a business at night. While there is typically a one-size-fits-all solution, you can get a custom-made, full-length astragal to run the entire length of your door. These are great if you need even better protection because they will fit your door like a glove.

If security is a high priority for your business, be sure to get a latch guard installed to those exterior doors by a professional locksmith today.

How to Find the Right Positioning for Your Security Cameras

If you’ve ever purchased your first home security system and started feeling more secure before realizing that you couldn’t actually see much of the area around your entryways, you are not alone.   The final step in the process is to make sure you’ve got the right position for those security cameras you just spent a great deal of money on, but many people don’t remember to consider the positioning during setup or simply don’t know the best strategy to position these cameras.

The worst thing that could happen is that you’ve equipped your home with protection and extra security just to find out after something happens that you couldn’t see it properly. How do you know if you’ve put the camera in the right position before you actually need something filmed? Take a look below at this very important part of having a property security camera.

Don’t install the system yourself

The best way to avoid poor positioning of your security cameras is to simply not attempt to install the system yourself. Getting a professional to install your cameras that know how to set it up properly, what you’ll need for your property, and finally how to do make sure everything is lined up for the best view is the best way to go about this.

Some things in life can be done yourself without too much trouble, but this is not one of them. A professional installing your security cameras know what to look for to make sure you are in the best position for catching a thief, watching for a package to be delivered or to see what guests have arrived at your door.

 Professional Locksmith employee installing a security system

What could happen with improper positioning?

The problem with improper positioning is that even if you think you’ve covered your line of sight well enough, a criminal could easily bypass your line of sight when they notice your house isn’t properly outfitted.

Since they know so much about how these systems work, they will take the opportunity to attempt a robbery if they can tell that the house doesn’t have an adequate setup. If they can tell a professional has installed the system, they will likely look elsewhere for an easier opportunity.

Another problem that often comes up with someone tries to DIY their home security is that they don’t know how to place a camera based on its specific focus range and the type of camera it is. It should be aimed at a specific area and some cameras should be close, while others can be farther away. When you aren’t an expert in home security, you risk getting the burglar on camera but not being able to see them well enough to have evidence for the police.

Areas of the home that should have cameras

When you attempt to set up home security yourself, you may do everything right but neglect a part of the house. That’s why a professional should do the installation and look for vulnerabilities with the home that you may have missed. You’ll want security cameras at the front and back doors, side doors, and garage, as well as by windows, but a professional notice other opportunities, such as your basement window or upstairs balcony.

Don’t take the chance of installing your own cameras and missing the view of one of these other vulnerable locations or having an unfocused picture if something does happen. You’ll also want to make sure your cameras are following security camera placement laws which a professional may be more informed about than you are.

If home security is a priority for you, don’t take the chance of having your home at risk because you wanted to save some money doing it yourself. Do it right from the start by hiring a professional to install it that knows proper placement, vulnerabilities in your home, and the laws of camera placement.

What to look for in a home safe

Have you been looking for a way to protect some of the most precious items in your home, like old family photos, expensive jewelry, and important documents like birth certificates? A home safe may be the perfect solution for you to keep items that you want to protect from a fire or other disaster, especially when it comes to a priceless heirloom or family photos.

You can use a safe for a more secure location to store things like your will, car titles, sensitive computer data, and passports so that in the event of a flood, fire, or burglary, you can ensure these items will likely go untouched. Take a look at what you should be looking for in a home safe.

What to consider before buying a safe

First, you’ll want to consider a few points before making your safe purchase. Things like size, features, and use are important to know before getting a safe for the home.

Do you want a safe with fire protection, water protection, and theft protection, or are you only concerned with one of these areas? What items will you be keeping in the safe? You’ll need to know this so that you can choose the correct size.

Where in the home will the safe need to go? This will affect the safe type, whether it’s a wall safe or floor safe.  Consider the size you’ll need, the budget you can afford, the location, and the elements of protection you want in a safe.  Then talk to your professional locksmith about safe installation to get it bolted down in the home so that a burglar can’t walk off with it.  

 A home safe

Types of safes

There are a variety of safe types that you’ll want to consider for your needs. Most people like to have a fireproof or water resistant safe in the home in the event of fire or flooding, but there are other specialty safes that could be beneficial to you, like a jewelry safe, data safe, burglary safe, and gun safe. They can range from anywhere as low as $25 to a few hundred dollars.

Since you’ll want to store documents that are easy to grab in an emergency or important enough that they shouldn’t just be left out, you’ll want to get something that can hold everything from your passports to your tax returns. Get one big enough to store the following:

  • “power of attorney” document
  • insurance policies
  • social security cards
  • a copy of your will, deeds
  • emergency cash
  • camera negatives
  • anything of value!

You’ll want one that can also store important collections like baseball cards or stamps that are irreplaceable. Valuable items like tape recordings or flash drives, engagement rings, computer data, and family heirlooms here need to go here as well. You’d be smart to keep a photo or video inventory of the home in here.

Look for a low UL rating on the safe since the lower the number, the better protection from fire, and be sure to place items into resealable plastic bags to help prevent water damage. You can choose between a dial lock like a school locker would have or a digital lock like you’d see in hotel safes. A safe on the ground can handle more weight and be bolted down while a wall safe is going to hold less weight.

A jewelry safe may make sense in your bedroom closet but a burglar would probably never look for your jewelry in a basement, so the location of the safe is an important decision. While fire is the most common reason for a loss of assets, burglary and water damage follow, making fire protection the most important element in your decision for a safe.

A burglary safe will have a harder lock to pick and more weight to deter a home invader. Consider where in the home you are most likely to have a burglar invade, where you are likely to see flooding, and where you are likely to still be able to access the items without too much trouble.

If you were to lose everything in your home, what would be the most devastating thing to lose? Consider getting a safe for your home to protect those items that would hurt the most to lose. In the event of an emergency, you can focus on your family’s safety knowing that those irreplaceable items are already stowed away in that home safe.

Essential Locksmith Tools - What the Pros Use

Are you thinking about setting up your own locksmith’s kit for the next time you accidentally lock yourself out of the house or car? You’ve probably tried some of the classic techniques like opening a lock with a credit card or hairpin, but now you’re ready to get some actual locksmith supplies.

Having your own locksmith tools can help you the next time you’re in a jam or you don’t have access to a phone to call a professional locksmith. Take a look at what the professionals use so you can pick up a few of the essentials for your collection.

 Essential Locksmith Tools

A hook

A hook is a handy tool to have next time you need to pick your lock and don’t want to rely on a paperclip. It has many uses, allowing you to use it upside down or use it for a “bitch” pick. It offers a great deal of diversity for single pin picking and other uses.

Scope

Be sure to pick up a hand-held scope to help you when working in tight spaces or handling tiny parts. The scope helps you when you’re adjusting something tiny to make sure you’ve done it right. Keep one at home and in your car.

The Rake

Whether you go with a City rake or a Bogata rake, these are handy locksmith’s tools that are the most popular for a personal collection. The City rake or an L rake looks like a saw blade, giving the look of a city skyline. Since the blade works like a saw, it can be used in a rocking motion in the keyway to act like the bitting on the key.

Many beginners choose the Bogota rake because it’s used the standard way where you’d move the tool in and out of the keyhole quickly. Sometimes the keyhole can’t accommodate a rake, but it’s good to at least have a Bogota on hand.  

Key Extractor

If you end up with a broken piece in your key slot, a key extractor is going to help you get the jammed key out smoothly. You’ll need this to remove a foreign object stuck in your key slot. This can happen by accident or from an attempted theft, but locksmiths always keep this tool on hand.

Installation Templates

When it comes to installing a new lock system, an installation template is the way to go. They help you get the holes for the drilled done correctly instead of trying to guess where to drill. It will save you time and the potential of damage.

Tension Wrench

 A tension wrench is a biggie for locksmiths. While you can technically pick a lock without one, it makes it much easier and faster with a tension wrench. You won’t find yourself worrying about staying steady when doing work or having to start over again, just use the tension wrench to stop any unwanted movement. Much of a locksmith’s work requires a tool that will make things a bit easier to do. The tension wrench is the locksmith’s favorite tool.

Lock Pick Guns

A lock pick gun is another winner that you’ll want in your essentials kit. It goes much faster than manually picking the lock and it’s safe for the lock if you are trained in using it properly. You’ll find them today with features like externally powered electronics parts too.

For the Car

Be sure to stock the car with a few essentials that will help you when you need it with your vehicle. One of the worst things that can happen to a vehicle owner is to lock their keys inside the car, and if you aren’t able to reach a locksmith, it can be a lifesaver to have a few tools on hand to be able to help yourself. 

Locksmiths are going to use tools like Slim Jims, wedges, automotive lock picks, long reach tools, and auto jigglers to help with a variety of vehicles and issues. Be sure to have these on hand to help you get back into your vehicle in an emergency.

What tools does a locksmith use? These are some of the things the pro’s use that you may want to have in your essentials kit. What better way to feel more secure than to buy your own professional locksmith tools and to have on hand the same supplies the professionals use?