Pick up any newspaper with an article about public concerns and the subject of crime usually tops the list. It is therefore surprising that business and building contractors often don’t use the services of professional locksmiths to analyse security needs for their properties. For example, the most common practice in new home construction is to piece meal the security precautions –using one company to set up an alarm system, an electrician to hook up outdoor lighting for crime prevention, and carpenters perhaps to install low-grade locks and door hardware almost as an afterthought. Often critical options such as door frame structure, door reinforcement or floor safes aren’t even thought of in time to incorporate those into the original building process.
There are many professional locksmiths available to builders, business owners and homeowners to ensure the physical safety of their property and, most important, their employees and families. It is puzzling that owners make such substantial investments in their homes and businesses without taking care to secure them intelligently. The issue is more significant than just correct instillation techniques. A qualified locksmith can make recommendations on what physical and electronic systems need to be chosen in the first place.
Today, the security market place is flooded with options unknown to those in fields outside locksmithing. Even a vendor in a related industry who is aware of a new security product is unlikely to have the judgement or qualifications of a highly trained and experienced locksmith. There is also concern about the growing number of companies that are only aware of, and trained in, a narrow portion of security services. More and more, we are seeing companies marketing themselves as security providers who have minimal exposure to the security industry as a whole. Especially with the rapid onset of electronic security in common applications, we are running in to more individuals who have little or no background in deciding whether the product is unlikely that a comprehensive security analysis is going to take place for the customer. Locksmithing professionals possess mechanical and mathematical ability, good vision, spatial perception, eye-hand co-ordination and manual dexterity, all of which ensures a truly professional job!
It is a fact of modern day life that places which endure every day contact with the general public- from newsagents to libraries- need to secure back rooms in which access should be restricted. Whether the need is to guard staff, stock, or to stay on the right side of health and safety regulations, it posses a difficult problem. So how does an organisation keep the public out, but let staff in quickly and easily? A lock and key can often bring more problems than they solve. The same is true for an electronic system that uses a key or card, as these are easily mislaid or stole. Code locks do away with this problem. Staff can be given a numerical code, meaning no code, no entry. Additionally, they are designed to be resilient to attack by vandals, with a digit code allowing thousands of combinations and built in delay functions, which can lock the code after a certain number of wrong attempts, stopping would-be intruders trying their luck. Visitors groups can be allocated different levels of access. For example, one group may be allowed 24-hour access, through all doors. Another group may only be allowed access to one part of the building during a particular shift.
What’s your security risk factor?
Answer these questions to find out:
1) Do you replace or rekey all locks when you move to a new location or someone loses keys.
2) Do you know how many keys to your business are in existence and exactly who has them?
3) Do all the locks in your business operate with a single key?
4) Do all doors with, or located at least 40 inches from windows have high quality double sided deadbolt locks?
5) Are you using high quality deadbolt locks on all of your doors?
6) Do you have reinforced strikes secured to the frame of each exterior door to prevent them from being kicked in?
7) Are your entrance locks on all exterior doors capable of withstanding great force?
8) Are frames tight enough to prevent spreading?
9) Does the entrance gate or grill to your business have an installed lock?
10) Do you have a chain lock, or similar lock that will allow you to open the door slightly?
11) Are your exterior doors solidly constructed, such as wood or metal?
12) Are your exterior doors13/4” thick?
13) Are door hinge pins protected from removal from removal from the outside?
14) Are locks out-of-reach through the mail shot or animal entrance?
15) Do you have a high quality auxiliary lock on sliding glass doors?
16) Are all your windows secured with high quality keyed secondary locks?
17) Are you windows covered with polycarbonate, lexan, Plexiglas, or security film?
18) Do all ground level windows, especially basement windows, have security bars?
19) Do you have a hidden safe installed in your home to protect your valuables?
20) Will your safe protect you valuables from theft, water, and fire?
21) Do you control access records, tools, and materials?
22) Do you have timers and lamps to illuminate the house when unoccupied?
23) Does your security system meet insurance and city codes?
24) Do you have a door viewer that allows 190 degree angle viewing?
If you have answered no to three or more of these questions, your security risk factor is dangerously high, and your business is not as secure or safe as it should be. By having a locksmith come to your business to make an evaluation, you can determine the degree of security that’s needed. You may want to change the locks to operate with a new key if you do not know what how many keys are in existence and exactly who has them. When you have the security survey done, consider having your exterior night lighting evaluated as well as your locks, doors and windows. You might be eligible for an insurance premium reduction when you make a few changes in your home such as adding deadbolts locks, buy the better quality ones. The “ high security” locks have hardened inserts to protect against drilling and are built stronger to resist a greater attack. Protection against lock picking adds little to you overall security since burglars always go the brute force route. Doors should be secured with reinforced strikes and hinge pins. Having deadbolt locks should be the minimum to protect your property. The locksmith can install locks that are decorative and secure. If you are a do-it yourself, ask the locksmith doing your survey to help you with advice, hardware, and certain keying requests. Make sure you have larger strike plates with 3-inch screws going into the frame if the frame allows it. Doors around glass make this difficult, but additional security in your business a priority, and give your staff the gift of safety and yourself peace of mind.
Windows-make it difficult for the burglar!
Most burglaries are committed buy opportunist thieves. In two out of ten burglaries they don’t even have to use force – they get in through an open door or window. Look at your business through the burglar’s eyes – are there places where they could break in unseen? Have you fitted strong locks on your doors and windows? Would they have to make a lot of noise by breaking glass? Reduce the risk of burglary happening to you by making sure you’ve taken theses simple precautions.
1) A third of burglars get through the back window.
2) Easily visible locks may deter some thieves, because a window lock forces the thief to break the glass and risk attracting attention. DIY shops sell inexpensive key-operated locks to fir all kinds of windows.
3) Fit key –operated window locks to all downstairs windows, those which can’t be seen from the street and easily accessible upstairs windows, e.g. Those above a flat roof or by a drainpipe
4) Even small windows such as skylights or bathroom fanlights need locks – a thief can get through any gap larger than a human head.
5) Remember to remove keys from locked windows and keep them out of sight in a safe place.
6) Louver windows are especially vulnerable because the slats can be removed easily from the frame. Glue the slats in place with an epoxy resin, and fit a special louver lock. Better still replace them with fixed glass.
7) If you are replacing windows – consider laminated glass.
8) As a last resort, consider fitting security grilles to vulnerable windows – many DIY shops now sell decorative wrought iron grilles.
9) Casement lock makes it impossible to open windows without the correct key.
For a relatively small outlay you could make your business more secure and buy peace into the bargain.