The thing about security threats is that it’s much harder to react to them, rather than preparing for them beforehand. That’s why home and business owners are best served by addressing their security issues now, when there’s still time to prepare for the worst. Fortunately, property owners don’t have to commit heavily to get those security upgrades, as there are plenty of deadbolt and keying options that can make dramatic improvements while remaining affordable. The key, so to speak, to finding the proper upgrades is finding a reputable locksmith that has experience with high security products.
Keep Burglars at Bay
Most residential doors and locks, unfortunately, only offer the illusion of protection. In reality, homes are almost always built with substandard deadbolts and fragile strike plates, neither of which will hold up long when a burglar tries breaking in. And burglars know this. They know that it only takes a couple solid kicks to crumple a basic deadbolt, and that means they are inside in a matter of seconds. So, what can a locksmith do about this?
- Install high security locks – This is the obvious, but effective, first option in enhancing home and business security. High security locks are built with a number of features that make them harder to force, harder to manipulate and harder to defeat with a cloned key. For example, high security locks are usually made with a restrictive keyway that makes it much tougher to insert tools. Another feature of most high security locks are security pins, which are designed to trigger when anything other than a key is used in the lock. When engaged, they sit at the shear line and make turning the deadbolt impossible. The most respected name in testing locks is the American National Standards Institute, or ANSI. The ANSI rates locks from Grade 3 to Grade 1, with Grade 1 locks offering the best protection. Grade 3 locks are standard for most residential properties, so when a home or business owner wants an instant boost in security, switching out those deadbolts for a higher grade is the smart choice. Grade 1 deadbolts, for example, are capable of withstanding 10 strikes using at least 75 pounds of force. That may not sound like a lot, but summoning up the strength to pound a door that hard takes a lot of effort, and many burglars would move on from a hard target like that.
- Install durable strike plates – The other part of the lock equation, and the part that gets less attention, is the strike plate. However, it deserves just as much attention because the strike plate is usually what gives when the door is kicked in. Standard strike plates are anchored to the door jamb, but the door jamb is notoriously weak at taking a hit. When police respond to instances of forced entry, it’s the jamb and frame that has usually failed. Improved strike plates are made with more durable metals and don’t rely on the door jamb to remain in place. Many are instead anchored with longer, thicker screws into the wall studs sitting behind the jamb. This means the burglar is not just fighting the door’s frame, but several layers of sturdy wood. When upgrading door locks, it doesn’t make sense to pick a better deadbolt and leave the original strike plate in place, and vice versa. Both must be upgraded in unison to get the most effective results.
- Rekeying to prevent cross-keying burglars – Some criminals take a more subtle approach to gaining entry where they don’t belong. Instead of forcing their way in, they figure out a way to steal or borrow a key from the owner, and use it to produce a clone. These burglars may take the guise of handymen or neighbors, and prey on the owner’s good intentions. Fortunately, high security locks are compatible with a greater number of key differences, so some really complicated keys can be produced by locksmiths with the right equipment. These keys can’t just be cloned by some amateur, so there is little chance that cross-keying will be a concern. And, of course, if a key goes missing or is stolen, locksmiths can rekey the locks to render the lost key ineffective.
- Offering alarm systems and remote surveillance – Alarms produce a strong deterrent effect and can give home and business owners precious moments when an intruder is detected. Alarm systems can be triggered by motion or occupancy sensors, by using heat signatures or by responding to open doors or windows. They can emit piercing sounds that will alert anyone in the building and they can send an alert to a security company that immediately contacts the authorities. Surveillance systems are another formidable component in a comprehensive security solution, as they can provide home and business owners with eyes around the property. Surveillance cameras are capable of Infrared (IR) and low light vision, so they are always looking, day or night. Some cameras are designed to be nearly invisible, which means they are less likely to be tampered with. Surveillance cameras can output a feed to any device the owner chooses, including their smartphone. No matter where the home or business owner goes, they will have eyes on the property.
- Help choose burglary and fire-resistant safes for their clients – Underwirters Laboratory (UL) certified safes provide a last line of defense for valuable assets, firearms, documents, jewelry, or anything else that needs protecting. There are hundreds and hundreds of safes on the market, and they vary considerably in their ability to withstand attack by burglars and fire. Poorly built safes, for instance, can be pried open in seconds using a pry bar, or cut open with a simple fire ax. A highly rated safe, on the other hand, can remain shut even when hit with explosives. With so much variety in safe performance, it’s essential to have a trusted locksmith helping out with safe selection and installation. A locksmith can pair the right safe for the needed job – whether that’s storing firearms, jewelry or something else – ensure that the lock is UL listed and reliable enough, and assist with installation and anchoring.
Security threats come in many forms, but what they share in common is that they emerge when home and business owners least expect them. Even the odds with high security deadbolts, strike plates and enhanced alarm and surveillance systems for the ultimate protection against security threats.