The Blind Spot

Home Security

We often think of the Blind Spot as a phrase associated with driving automobiles, but the Blind Spot is also used in relation to home security.  Have you ever taken the time to evaluate your home security?  Have you looked for ways to break into your home?  Are there areas around your house invisible to your neighbors and public view?  If you can answer yes to one of these questions, consider your blind spots and how you can get your eye on them.

Residential security is not just about the locks you have on your doors, but you really should consider if the locks you buy at big box retail stores are truly worth your piece of mind.  Let's take into consideration some simple math.  How much are your valuables worth in your home?  How much are the priceless valuables worth to you?  Would you trust a lock set worth $40 to protect over $10K-$50K worth of valuables in your home?  Locks can be a great deterrent from theft of your home, but if they are standard locks, you are vulnerable.  

What can you do?  Ask about security pins which can make locks hard to pick.  Ask your locksmith which locks will provide you with the best security for your money.  Do your own research and compare prices.  Most importantly, do not treat your locks as a low priority when it comes to the security of your home.  Bump Keys and some locksmith hardware are now becoming available to the general public for purchase which means, unless you know these people, you do not know their intent with these tools. 

CCTV Camera

Security cameras are a great way to see those blind spots in and around your home.  High quality, digital, HD, night vision, weatherproof, and vandal proof cameras help to keep your eye on your property.  You do not have to spend a lot of money on these systems, but make sure you understand what you are purchasing. There are many camera systems, styles, and configurations out there.  If you are unsure, call your locksmith and ask about the product line available that may suit your needs and budget.  It is human nature for people to behave differently when they know they are being watched.  Hiding your cameras does not act as a deterrent.  Instead, make sure they are visible so your home is perceived as a harder target for would be burglars.  Of course, you want to make sure that they are mounted out of reach as well.

Smart Locks
Bluetooth Locks
Key Fob Locks

Smart Locks, digital locks, and locks with Bluetooth technology are another great way to harden your home security.  Perception is everything even with security.  The harder it looks, the less likely it will be tampered with.  Residential burglaries are opportunity crimes meaning your home is there at the right time, conveniently easy to get into, and it can be done quickly.  Digital and Smart Locks without the key way take away the option to pick the lock which takes away some of the tools needed to defeat the lock.  

Security

How does this all fit together?  Simple, harden your locks, use cameras to expose the blind spots around your home, and tie it all in with today's software availability via your smartphone.  Most Smart Locks and Bluetooth locks along with cameras can be accessed with your mobile phone giving you constant piece of mind no matter where you are.  Additionally, some of the locks and cameras come with an audible alarm function to surprise potential intruders.  Last, but not least, a great new product out today is the DoorBird.  This product works no matter where you are and when someone rings your door bell, you can see and hear who is at your door.  Even more exciting is that you can talk to who is at your door through your smartphone. 

So, think you have all of your blind spots covered?  Check it out for yourself and see how many vulnerabilities exist in and outside of your home.  By taking care of your blind spots, you can avoid uncertain and unfortunate events from taking place just like when you are driving your car.  Veteran Owned Locksmith can conduct security audits of your home for free!  Over 20 years of law enforcement and military experience goes into our recommendations for a safe and secure home.  Give us a call today and find out how we can secure your piece of mind and your home - 706-550-4485.

Posted by Veteran Owned Locksmith, LLC.  Copyright © 2014-2016.  All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Residential Rekey

Residential Rekey

Moving in to your new home, rental, or you are renting out property?  Rekeying your home is crucial to your security and the contents within your home that you worked hard to enjoy.  Sometimes, rekeying a home is not high on the to do list and could cost you more than you think.  There are so many options that can help you to reduce this important checklist item which we will discuss in later blogs.  For now, let us focus on when, why, and how you should protect your home or property when there is a change.

BUYING A HOME

You purchased a home from a builder or another home owner who sold the home because of a move.  When you purchase a home from a builder, many vendors have access to the home because they must complete the trade work that goes into completing the home building process.  What happens to those keys?  Do you know if they are all collected or on a master key system known as a builder key?  This creates uncertainty and the last thing you want is to come home and find your most precious belongings missing and there is not a single trace of forced entry.  This type of intrusion hits the middle of the core because you can feel violated and unsafe in your home.  Rekeying the home takes care of the worry and in the event someone attempts to take advantage of the situation that you might not have changed the locks, this will surely harden your home.  

You purchased a home from the previous home owner and although there may not be the potential for Builders Keys to be around like a new home, there is still the chance that someone else has the keys besides the home seller.  In Augusta and the surrounding area, we often hear about key copies given to home care assistants, roommates, cleaners, and other vendors for a variety of reasons.  When a seller chooses to put their home on the market, they may not remember who had the keys to their home and that makes you really vulnerable.  There is even the chance that a particular guest of the home with access may be unaware that the home is being sold and inadvertently use the key to access the property putting both you and that once invited guest in a very awkward situation to say the least.

RENTAL PROPERTY

There is a shared responsibility of the property owner to insure that the home they are renting is safe and secure in between each renter.  Some property owners may rekey the home before renting again and others may choose to let the renter perform the rekey.  Regardless, the renter always has a key to access the home because in the end it is their property.  However, you as the renter have rights from unplanned or surprise visits without proper notification (Check your local laws).  In this situation, it is always a good idea to rekey your home to protect you, your family, and your property.  Rental homes may have vendors as well that come to the property to clean the home, make repairs, and in other cases clean up a home from eviction.  Take precautions and give yourself peace of mind by securing your property the right way and always speak with your landlord to make sure they are aware of what you are doing and they have a copy of the key for access to their property.  

CONVENIENCE

Sometimes, homeowners, renters, and property managers just need a better system for their home security.  Having multiple keys like a school janitor may not be beneficial to you and certainly not easy to figure out which one opens the front, back, garage, or side doors in your home.  There is a term that locksmiths use for keying a home more simply which is known as "KEY ALIKE".  This means that the locksmith can rekey the combination of all the locks in the home to match one key.  This becomes a true convenience as there will only need to be one set of keys that work all of the doors in the home.  Additional keys can be made for additional occupants, but you certainly want to control how many keys you have as that can be a security issue as well.  If your locks are worn, oxidized (rusted or corroded), or just falling off the doors, then you may want to consider new locks.

New locks can also be keyed alike and there are many options out there in terms of products, style, color, and level of security (Grade 1 - 3).  Doing your research can help you to make the right choice.  Locksmiths should also be aware of the types of locks being installed in the home.  Using a cheap set of locks to make a profit is not a good way to take care of customers.  However, choosing a lock system that is above the intended need is also unethical to cause the customer to pay more money.  A good locksmith will provide the right product for the right price for the right application.  Again, do your research and know what you are paying for.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Your home is your home no matter which option you took to occupy your comfort space.  Feeling secure is priceless along with having the confidence that when you come home from work or vacation that everything is still there.  Consider the consequences of not only theloss of your property, but how you will feel knowing someone was in your home that was not supposed to be.  Her are some statistics:

  • There was an estimated 8,277,829 property crimes reported by law enforcement causing financial losses of around $14.3 billion.  Now here is where it gets interesting, only 1,553,980 were actually arrested for property crime out of 8,277,829 (FBI, 2015).
  • Your chances of being a property crime victim is 1 in 21 in Augusta per 1,000 residents in the Augusta Area Dietetic Internship - U Hospital / Broad St.  The National Median for property crimes is 26.0, Georgia State 32.81, and Augusta 46.67 (Neighborhood Scout, 2016). 

The team at Veteran Owned Locksmith advises you to always conduct your own research and check your local law enforcement website for crime statistics in your area.  Most importantly, always remember, locks keep the honest people out and the tougher you make it for would be thieves to break into your home, the less likely you will be a victim.  Be proactive, save yourself time and money from being a victim by insuring your home security is complete.  If you are looking for a locksmith to provide rekey service for you, make sure you always research the company you are working with and always ask for a price up front.  Never blindly request any service as you will be left open for charges you may not be aware of.  

Posted by Veteran Owned Locksmith, LLC.  Copyright © 2014-2016.  All Rights Reserved.

   

 

Welcome Home! You were Burglarized!

Do your locks pass the test?  When your home or business is broken into, it will leave you feeling stripped of your sense of security.  Questions come to mind as you think how this could happen to you or what you could have done better.  A little preparation goes a long way in making sure the security of your home or business is passing the test.  Alarm systems help to deter burglaries and police response varies depending on the time of day and what is going on around town.  However, your locks should be as much of a deterrent in addition to an alarm system.

Lets take a look at some facts:

  • 2,000,000 home burglaries are reported each year in the US.
  • Over 65% of burglaries are residential break-ins.
  • A Home intrusion occurs every 13 seconds.
  • 1 out of 3 burglaries result in assault.
  • Police only clear less than 15% of burglary cases due to lack of physical evidence and/or witnesses.

Now, let's take a look at what can help to prevent burglaries from taking place outside of boarding up your windows and setting traps in your house:

  • Use a heavy-duty deadbolt with a 1 inch throw bolt.
  • Use a quality knob-in-lock set with a dead latch mechanism.
  • Use a heavy duty strike plate with 3 inch screws into the frame.
  • WHEN YOU MOVE INTO A NEW HOUSE OR APARTMENT, CHANGE THE LOCKS!

If you think that you do not need to change the locks on a new home or apartment, read my previous blog, "Congratulations on your new Home!  Who else has a copy of your keys".  Now, technology has enhanced our way of life greatly and we will look for those new gadgets that we all love and enjoy and then leave them in a home with old locks.  Does this make sense to you?  Are you aware of the condition of your lock other than the key works to turn it?  I have taken apart a few locks and found rust and worn parts that comprise the locks condition and compromises your security.

So, let us cover the difference between the Grades of locks real quick:

GRADE 3 - Lowest level of security locks allowed and certified to be used on doors of any kind.  They do not need to offer pick resistance, fire resistance, or resistance against physical contact.  These locks are found mostly on residential homes and buildings considered to be low risk and because they lack specific features, they are the least expensive. 

GRADE 2 - These locks are tested two times as much as the Grade 3 locks.  They offer some resistance to physical contact and fire.  They require a higher tolerance of various parts and are more expensive to manufacture.  The Grade 2 locks are not required to offer professional manipulation resistance and are found on residential and commercial properties where security risks are higher and consumers demand a higher level of security.

GRADE 1 - One of the highest levels of locks you can get.  They are tested two times as much as the Grade 2 locks, have little to no plastic parts, they have features to resist manipulation/physical contact, and are more expensive. 

Wow!  That is a lot of information!  I am sure each and every one of you have plenty of time to make an informed decision about your level of security and can do it by yourself.  OH WAIT!  There is only one problem, most of the Grade 3 Locks are sold at your local hardware store and some of the packages do not tell you the grade level of the lock according to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  Additionally, when you buy a new home, rent an apartment, or set up your new business, there are no tags on the locks to tell you what grade they are.  Finally, you cannot upgrade to Grade 1 Locks and leave the standard strike plate in the door frame.

At Veteran Owned Locksmith, we provide a free estimate on how to improve the security level of the locks on your home or business.  We can save you time and money by providing you with the best security solution and preserve your confidence that what you work for is safe and secure.  Call us today for your free estimate!

Posted by Veteran Owned Locksmith, LLC.  Copyright © 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

      

 

It only took one day to pay the price!

It is a warm spring morning in the River Valley of Afghanistan and the day seemed like every other day.  Wake up, eat breakfast, prepare the vehicles / equipment for the days mission, and random conversation about being one day closer to home.  The mission is to drive up the  River Valley to a summer forward operating base and conduct patrols.  There are no alerts or warnings to signal that there would be any trouble, but a professional takes no chances.  The weapons are lubricated and ready for action, the men are dressed in battle gear and armor plated vests.  As they begin to pull out of the base, the mission begins.  All eyes are open, the gunner's head is on a swivel looking for danger and watching the mountain tops, roadways, and people walking on the side of the streets.

They enter the River Valley Road which is a narrow bumpy dirt road littered with trash and objects along the side adding to the gunner's responsibility to make sure they do not drive by a roadside bomb.  They come to a switchback, which is a road joined by a hairpin turn, and all three vehicles attempt to make the transition safely when a shot rings out and the first gunner falls.  The second gunner jumps out of the vehicle to assist the first gunner and is also shot.  The convoy is now taking fire from a sniper in the distance shooting between a gap in the mountains.  

During the assault, the enemy close by steps out and fires a rocket propelled grenade at the first vehicle and it is a devastating hit.  The assault seems to last for hours, but it was very short and the damage was done.  Men lost their lives and a nation lost its heroes, fathers, brothers, and sons.  No words can describe the heroism and love of a fellow man helping another under fire.  It is this intensity that only the few can understand and have experienced.  It is not a thought or hesitation, just a reaction to preserve what was whole only a few hours ago.  

Veterans Day was yesterday and is one of the few days our nation expresses its gratitude publicly for those who payed the price for our nations calling.  Is one, two, or three days a year enough to tell our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters that their sacrifice was greatly appreciated?  As more and more Service members leave the military, they are realizing new challenges that do not reflect the support of their nation.  They are fighting a different war for employment, disability, and the stigma of conditions that are found in everyday society, but somehow are attached to every military Service member who served their country in her time of need.  

It only took one day to pay the price, the ultimate price for serving the nation, and their loss feeds Americas way of life to continue to come and go as we please, buy that latte at Starbucks, watch television in the comfort of warm homes, and buy nice things for ourselves and loved ones.  In return, their pictures are put on walls and buildings are named after them to immortalize their sacrifice for this country.  Let us not forget the men and women to the left and right that still live and carry their sacrifice with them every day for the rest of their lives.  

No one gets left behind!  It has been the motto of the military services for decades and should carry on when they come back to society after their service.  They are the first and last line of defense for our freedoms when all diplomacy fails putting all others before themselves.  Let us not make them last place when they come back to society.

Posted by Veteran Owned Locksmith, LLC.  Copyright © 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

Just another snake in the grass!

The holiday season is coming upon us fast!  As you prepare and consolidate the list of gifts to buy your family and friends this year, do not forget to be prepared for the unexpected.  Most people do not think to have a locksmith on speed dial because they never think it will happen to them.  What do you do when you lock your keys in the car?  What about when you are locked out of your home?  It only takes a moment to forget and everything stops until you can get back in.

A few tips to help you out this holiday season will insure that you are not delayed in carrying out your to do list.  Make sure you are mindful of just who you are choosing to come out and assist you with getting back into your vehicle or home.  A little preparation can go along way in making sure you are getting the right service from the right locksmith.

1)  Research - perform a Google search and take a look at all of your options for a locksmith.  You want to insure that what they are advertising is the truth.  You can look at the website to find a few things that will reveal a locksmith's validity.  If they say they are licensed, bonded, and insured, ask for proof.  Also, you can check with the Secretary of State that you reside in to insure that who you are dealing with is a legitimate registered business.  

2)  Statements - if a locksmith says they are part of the Associated Locksmith's of America, go to http://www.aloa.org and look them up.  If they are not on the list, this is your first clue that something may be wrong.  Look for websites that display local phone numbers and then tab through their website.  If they have multiple phone numbers from a different area and do not advertise for multiple service areas, be mindful of whether they are truly local.  Also, look for pictures that would not be endorsed by local / state government or vehicle brand names.  It is not lawful for a business to use any picture associated with government or vehicle brand names without the expressed rights to do so.  

3)  Security - a good honest locksmith always checks for identification of the customer to insure that they are performing services to the right property owner.  A legitimate business does not put itself in a liability situation.  Every locksmith should accept multiple forms of payment such as cash and credit cards.  They should also provide you with a written receipt and electronic receipt if the payment is made by credit card over the phone.  

4)  Relationship - a great locksmith has a face to its name.  Develop a relationship with a local locksmith and you always know who to talk to if you have a discrepancy.  Hopefully, you would not need a locksmith frequently, but if you do use one often, loyalty discounts can be found for return customers.  

Just remember, you do not always need the police, but you know the number to call when you need help.  The same idea applies with a locksmith and can save you time and money.  As long as there are locks, at some point in your lifetime, you will need a locksmith to help you when you are locked out or in need of other services.  

At Veteran Owned Locksmith, we value our customers.  Our experienced technicians always have your security in mind and our company policy is to insure that your security is never compromised.  Do not get bit by the snake in the grass when you need a professional you can trust.  Call us and experience for yourself why Veteran Owned Locksmith, LLC should always be your first dependable locksmith to call.  

Posted by Veteran Owned Locksmith, LLC.  Copyright © 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

Congratulations on your new home! Who else has a copy of your keys?

Today is the day that you received the keys to your new home!  Everything is planned chaos as you try to settle in and get comfortable.  There are a few things on the checklist to get done such us unpacking, painting, setting up the utilities, and applying that perfect final touch to make it all feel like home.  However, did you think about the locks on your entry doors?  Do you know who else has a copy of the keys you were given at the closing table?  

Ask your real estate agent, local law enforcement, and any industry subject matter expert in security and they will tell you the same thing, either change your locks or rekey the locks.  So, what is the difference between changing the locks or rekeying the locks?  The answer is simply going to your local Home Depot or Lowe's and purchasing a new set of locks.  However, do you know which ones are good quality or just plain cheap?  We all like to save money, but you should never sacrifice security to save a dollar.

Calling a locksmith to rekey the locks on your new home can save you time and money in the long run.  Rekeying a lock is simply changing the combination of the interior of the lock to fit a new key.  Thus, whoever has the old set of keys to your new home, will no longer have access and provides you with a true feeling of security.  How does rekeying a lock save money over buying new locks?  I will not bore you with the math, but I am sure the equation is something like Time + Fuel + Product Purchase + Labor = $$$.

Rekeying the locks saves you time as a locksmith will come to you and we all value our time.  Like they say in the business world, time is money and for some of us time is invaluable.  The cost of travel is consumed by the locksmith and if you have a V8, this might be a valuable point for you.  Locks and lock sets can be found within various price ranges, but be careful, buying a cheap lock is not like buying generic cereal versus General Mills.  There is a difference in the level of security that you will receive from buying locks at each price range.  Labor is the time it takes you to install the locks yourself and if you have items on your checklist that still need to be completed, you may not be thinking about those locks.  It only takes a brief moment of absence from your home to have your vulnerability taken advantage of.  

Veteran Owned Locksmith, LLC provides highly skilled technicians to rekey your home and provide other Residential Services.  We provide fast service and a quality finished product that is completed right the first time every time.  Do not stop what you are doing to settle into your new home, call Veteran Owned Locksmith, LLC today to rekey your locks and have confidence that your new home is secure.  

Posted by Veteran Owned Locksmith, LLC.  Copyright © 2014.  All Rights Reserved.