Doncaster Locksmith Advice

13th October 2019

The world seems a bit higgledy-piggledy at the moment, the news seems to be moving at the speed of light with newspapers out of date the minute they’re printed. Will the government survive? Will Trump be impeached? Will we all be wiped out by a meteor next Thursday? Who knows the answers to any of these questions? Although I hope the meteor thing doesn’t happen as I was planning to get a takeaway and watch a film on Friday.

But in these times of turmoil it’s easy to take your eye off the big picture. And when I say “the big picture”, I’m clearly referring to “the security of your home.” And if you think this has all been a weird segue in to that subject, you’re right. But let’s face it, with everything else that’s been going on recently, weird is the new normal, so I think I’ll get away with it. Anyway, I thought I’d take this opportunity just to state four tenets of home security that will help you keep your property safe if followed correctly. Think this less like Moses’ sermon on the mount, and more Locksmiths’ advice on the blog. It’s not got QUITE the same ring to it, but, you know, weird times and all that. 

1 – Ask the experts

I know experts have had a kicking lately, with politicians saying we’ve had enough of them. However, I respectfully disagree on this score. When it comes to making your house safe, getting a professional locksmith or security expert to look over your property is worth its weight in gold. Yes, you can do a fair job of assessing your own home for security weaknesses but a fresh pair of eyes often picks up aspects you may have missed. Importantly, this is a locksmith’s bread and butter, and they will know exactly what to look for, having been called to the aftermath of many break-ins, seeing precisely how the burglars gained entry.

Bear in mind that in 2018 there were 669,000 domestic burglaries in England and Wales. Each of those caused much heartache to the home owner. As such it’s crucial to do everything you can to prevent your house being one of those chosen by burglars – it’s very much survival of the fittest, I’m afraid, and a properly protected house will quickly be rejected by house breakers in favour of an easier target. One of the major locksmith groups – the Master Locksmiths Association – advises that all households take advantage of an assessment by a professional so that the residents know exactly where they can make improvements to the security. It is then up to the house owner whether they take up the recommendations, but at least they will be better informed and aware of the risks.

2. Strengthen that front door lock

Now I’m assuming you have a lock on your front door because if you don’t, I’d be most concerned. However, do you know how strong and secure that lock is? I’m afraid I’ve attended countless jobs where someone has gained access through a front door poorly protected by a substandard lock. It’s very frustrating as I know that if a better lock had been fitted, the whole break in could well have been prevented. 

The internet and ebay are great, but they have led to more people ordering cheap copies of locks online to fit themselves, and these locks frequently are of nowhere near the standard of the originals. The saving that people make in this process is cancelled out tenfold when they find themselves the victim of a break in. There is a time and place for saving money – I can often be found browsing the pound shops – but this is not it. Pay those extra few pounds to get a reputable lock – I would recommend Yale or Chubb, and look out for the BSI Kitemark to indicate quality, although there are other standards such as PAS24, Secure by Design and ADQ approval. If in doubt, ask your local locksmith for recommendations. Getting a secure lock on your front door is one of the best actions you can take to improve your home security. 

3 – Check out that locksmith’s credentials

No, not like that! Get your mind out the gutter.  I’m talking about ensuring the locksmith you call is properly accredited and authorised. I do have a vested interest here, being a member of the Association of Accredited Locksmiths, and being Police and Insurance approved, but unfortunately many tradespeople masquerading as locksmiths do not have this assurance. There is no official regulation for locksmiths which unfortunately means anyone can say they are a locksmith even if not fully trained. This means they can come to your house and carry out substandard work or even just come to your house in order to inspect your security arrangements so that they’re better prepared for a subsequent break-in – it does happen. Therefore, you should always seek out proper accreditation – the Association of Accredited Locksmiths and the Master Locksmiths Association are 2 of the main ones – and always request ID.

Ask your neighbours who has done their work – word of mouth is always a good barometer – and choose those companies who have a landline or address rather than merely a mobile phone number, as there’s little way of tracking down the latter if you need redress at a future point. Remember, although you may think you’ll be paying more for a professional, experienced locksmith, they can often save you money in the end as they won’t convince you to have unnecessary work done, and they have the skills to repair locks where other, less scrupulous tradespeople would tell you that a full replacement is necessary. 

4. Change your attitude

Finally, everyone should remember that security is something to take seriously. Too often, we neglect it in favour of other things, meaning we fill our houses with valuable belongings whilst barely spending a tiny percentage of that on protecting them. This leads to heartache after a break-in and, with the benefit of hindsight, much regret that more attention hadn’t been focussed on home security. If I could emphasise just one thing it would be for people to be more vigilant of their own home security arrangements.

This doesn’t just go for security equipment; it goes for people’s own behaviour too. Double-checking that doors and windows are locked when leaving the house, locking the door when you’re in the garden, not leaving car keys or wallets easily accessible in the hall, keeping an alarm system up to date, having internal lights in bedrooms or on the landing on timers that come on when you’re out of the house, not advertising the fact you’re away. These are all small behaviours will lead to a reduction in the chances that you will be targeted by criminals.

Of course, in a perfect world none of the above would be needed, as we would live in a world without burglaries and criminals. Sadly, until we get there, we have to do what we can to keep ourselves and our belongings safe. Until the next time, for advice on anything lock-related, or to enquire about repairs or replacements, call 01302 378067.



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