Archives for January 2014

Transponders, VAT Keys, and Vehicle Security

 

Where there are automobiles, there are instances of automobile theft. In the United States alone, a motor vehicle is stolen every 26.4 seconds. Vehicle manufacturers have gone to great lengths to make their vehicles difficult to steal; and most of these “great lengths” are now standard features for most vehicles made today.

Stealing the contents of a car may be a a motive for breaking into a car (from time to time), but most car thieves want to steal the vehicle itself. Although joyriding is often the ultimate goal of teenage car thieves, delivering the vehicle to a “chop-shop” results in profitable returns for all criminal elements involved. Significant monetary incentives for criminals has created a serious car theft problem. Car manufacturers have developed lock systems to thwart or otherwise hinder car theft.

           The Immobilizer
Starting around 2000, car manufacturers started equipping vehicles with immobilizers. An immobilizer is a device that immobilizes the car if an unauthorized key is used to start the vehicle. When the ignition is turned, the immobilizer sends a signal to the key; if the key does not return the proper signal back to the immobilizer, the device turns the ignition off, regardless of the key position.

The Transponder
How does the immobilizer communicate with the key? The immobilzer doesn’t communicate with the key; it communicates with a chip that is inside the key head. This chip is called a transponder. That plastic head on the key may only serve as a handy thing with which to hold onto the key, but more than likely it contains a transponder chip.

  Vehicle Remote Controls
If your key has buttons on it for locking and unlocking doors, starting the car, opening the trunk, etc., this is NOT a transponder. Although the key may (and probably does) ALSO have a transponder chip within the head, the “remote” itself is not a transponder.

 Programming Transponder Keys
After we make a key for your vehicle, we will program the transponder chip, if your key contains one. To be accurate: the chip itself is not programmed; your car is programmed to accept the new chip. This is done using a transponder programmer. This computer plugs into a terminal underneath your dash. The technician operates this computer until a “key in memory” (or related message) is given; programming is complete at this point. Programming often requires specific PIN codes or manufacturer PIN codes; sometimes the verifiaction process may take awhile.

  VAT Keys
In the 90’s GM started implementing an earlier version of the transponder, called VAT (vehicle anti theft). VAT keys come in 15 preprogrammed frequencies. Only 1 specific frequency can be used with a certain vehicle. A different type of device, a VAT reader, is required in order to determine the vehicle’s frequency in order to determine the proper key blank.

Practical Tips To Secure Your Home

by Wayne McGruff


INTRODUCTION

It’s no secret that crime is increasing every year and is invading what once were considered “safe communities.” As the following FBI report shows, crime is on the rise. Crime against property occurs on the average of 20 times a minute with an estimated $1,000 loss for each occurrence. Burglary is a crime of opportunity where entry is gained due to the carelessness of homeowners.

Single family homes are twice as likely to be burglarized than apartments. While receiving a lot of publicity when it happens, hotels and motels account for less than 3% of all burglaries. The most likely things to be stolen in a burglary are cash, small electronic equipment, home computers, cameras, jewelry, furs, tools and hand guns.

Few people really bother about security until something happens to them or a neighbor. The public’s complacent attitude is the burglar’s best friend and your worst enemy. There are many things the average person can do to make their home less of a target. This report will get you started on the right road. Remember, the two things a burglar fears most are being seen and having to take too much time to complete the crime.

While burglars typically “target” a home when no one is home, if you surprise one in the act, your chances of being injured are too high to attempt to intervene. A sobering statistic shows many homeowners attempting to defend (themselves, family members, or their property) with a weapon end up having it turned on themselves.

Vital statistics on Crime in the United States,
Reported Offenses 1985-1991
Source: Uniform Crime Reports FBI

 VIOLENT PROPERTY MURDER & FORCIBLE YEAR CRIMES CRIMES MANSLAUGHTER RAPE
------------------------------------------------------
1985 1,328,870 11,102,600 18,980 87,670
1986 1,489,170 11,722,700 20,610 91,460
1987 1,484,000 12,024,700 20,100 91,110
1988 1,566,220 12,356,900 20,680 92,490
1989 1,646,040 12,605,400 21,500 94,500
1990 1,820,130 12,655,500 23,440 102,560
1991 1,911,770 12,961,100 24,700 106,590

  LARCENY YEAR ROBBERY BURGLARY & THEFT
------------------------------------------
1985 497,870 3,073,300 6,926,400 1986 542,780 3,241,400 7,257,200
1987 517,700 3,236,200 7,499,900
1988 542,970 3,218,100 7,705,900
1989 578,330 3,168,200 7,872,400
1990 639,270 3,073,900 7,945,700
1991 687,730 3,157,200 8,142,200

 

 

 

 

A SECURITY SURVEY

Many local law enforcement agencies will provide a free “walk through” of your property. The purpose is to identify all potential trouble spots and determine what steps can be implemented to improve the overall security of your property. You can probably organize a “block party” and have the police “sweep” your entire block. Because of cost-cutting many local law enforcement agencies are stretched to the limit and there may be a long waiting list. Sometimes off-duty police officers will do this kind of work for a nominal fee. A few words of caution are in order if you have some third party security company do a survey for you. Many of course will do a free survey to get their foot in your door and try and sell you their security devices. So be forewarned that a locksmith will probably try and sell you better locks, a alarm company a security system and so on. So use common sense.

High Quality Locksmith is one of the few locksmith companies in Tallahassee that conducts professional security surveys.  No, they won’t try to sell you locks, but they will make important recommendations and give you a thorough written report regarding their findings.

PUT YOURSELF IN A BURGLAR’S SHOES

One thing every homeowner should do at least twice a year is take a walk around and through your property with a close friend or neighbor who is not too familiar with your house. Start outside and ask yourself “how would I best break in? The purpose of not doing it alone is your pal may spot things you’ll overlook. Return the favor and complete a survey for your friend.

Besides the obvious “lived-in” look, don’t get into a habit of only doing certain things only when you’re not home. Chances are good you can tell when your neighbor isn’t home. Remember it’s a burglar’s job to know the same things. Most professional criminals can tell nobody’s home at least four or five houses away.

Several dead giveaways are always closing the drapes ONLY when you’re not home. Having no garbage cans out collection day, or an empty can sitting at the curb, are tip-offs you’re not home. So are closing up the house as tight as a drum in the hot summer months without the air-conditioner running. Turning on a certain light or two and every other room is in total darkness. Ditto for picking up all the kid’s toys, taking in the dog, shutting the garage door if you frequently leave it open, and turning off the lawn sprinkler.

Many people before leaving turn on the “burglar light, ” the light over the kitchen sink. You might as well hang a sign on the front door you’re not home! If you use an answering machine never leave a message that you’re not home. Instead say you can’t come to the phone right now. If you don’t have a machine, turn down the volume on phones before leaving so it can’t be heard from outside – another dead giveaway nobody’s home.

EFFECTIVE BURGLAR DETERRENTS

You’ve probably head it several times and it’s true! A dog is one of the best deterrents. Not because it’s vicious, it need not even be seen, but it has to be heard. A dog with a menacing bark will scare away a lot of would-be burglars, not only because they don’t know what kind of dog you have and what risk it would be to them if try tried to break in, but more likely because a noisy dog will create a disturbance and get attention – the last thing a burglar wants!

If you don’t have a dog there’s nothing stopping you from pretending. A Beware of Dog sign on your fence, a dog house in the back yard, even a loose dog chain or bowl can drive away a potential burglar. Don’t be fooled by companies that provide cheap electronic “dogs” who bark none stop if a intruder trips a relay or otherwise signals his presence. Most experienced prowlers are familiar with these devices and won’t be fooled or scared off.

Electronic devices that are effective besides the typical whole house alarm systems for windows and doors are infrared or motion detectors that sense movement or the heat given off by one’s body. Anyone approaching too close will trigger any number of attached devices. The most effective are powerful lights or burglar horns that either flood the area with light or fill the air with a deafening sound without notice. Just like a barking dog, the would-be burglar will usually hightail it out of there for fear of being discovered.

To be effective, the sensitivity of such devices much not be set too high or stray animals will set them off too frequently which will get you on the wrong side of your neighbors. Also be sure such devices are high enough that they can’t be easily turned off or broken.

SECURING DOORS

Illegal entry through the front door occurs more often than all other points of entry combined! All exterior doors should be of solid hard wood or steel reinforced. A good door does no good if the door frame is in bad shape or of inferior construction. Pay special attention to the door jams. Most, even in expensive homes are made out of cheap pine. It don’t take much force to “kick in” the door even if protected with dead bolts, if the strike plate is attached with only a couple of 1/2 or 3/4 inch screws.

Take a few minutes and install 2-1/2 to 3 inch stainless steel or nickel plated screws in all your exterior door jams. Be sure screws go at least 1-3/4 inch deep into the underlying framing lumber. While you at it, consider getting heavy duty strike plates or a door reinforcement kit sold in many larger home improvement centers. Be advised you may have to chisel out more of the door jam to install but it’s worth the effort for the greater protection provided. Another way to increase the chances of your door holding is to further protect it from being kicked in by installing a device on the floor that the door rests against on inside center when shut, and swings away when the door opens.

Any kind of sliding glass door is a favorite target. Guard against the door being lifted up and out by installing several screws into the door’s upper track. Open and shut the door through its entire range to allow just enough of the screw’s head protruding to allow free movement without allowing the door to be removed. Several devices can be installed into the door’s upper or lower track that acts much like a dead bold by running a heavy pin through the door track and deep into the frame. Just having a length of old broom handle at a 45 degree angle in the door track also prevents the door from easily being forced open and works nearly as well!

You garage door is easy pickings unless you have a electronic door opener. Today these devices are fairly cheap (around $150) and make it practically impossible to force open the overhead door from the outside without breaking through the actual door panels due to the high tension produced from the worm drive or chain device that makes the openers work Yes, it is possible for burglar to punch in the right code and gain access, but with today’s remote controls providing so many possible combinations, the odds are very slight, and the burglar won’t waste the time trying all the possibilities.

Final bit of advice on automatic door openers. Do be sure to change the security code from the preinstalled settings which are almost always set to zeros. Also, if you notice your door open and you’re sure you shut it, one of your neighbors probably set his opener to the same code. Take the time to change your setting, or you’re giving a potential burglar a great opportunity to gain free access.

SECURING WINDOWS

Burglars break windows as a last resort – or by accident. The preferred method is cutting a access hole or slipping in a thin stiff wire and undoing the locking device. Most double hung windows have cheap locks which should be replaced by heavy duty sash locks or even keyed locks, if you can put up with the inconvenience. An old trick is installing a small eyebolt in either corner. If done correctly the window can’t be opened, with the eyebolt in place from the outside. Of course you could screw the window shut by drilling a hole through the frame but it defeats the purpose of having a window, and presents a fire hazard. Not recommended.

The safest windows are glass block. Almost impossible to break through, they of course can’t be opened and are not as pleasing to look at. A good choice for basements or areas at or near ground level.

Another good protection is installed roll-a-way electric security shutters, or decorative security grates. The main down side is they can prove to be a serious fire hazard and prevent your escape. Newer models install on tracks or can easily be pushed open from inside to lessen their danger in the event of fire and the thick smoke sure to accompany it.

HOUSEHOLD INVENTORY

The above steps can go a long way to protecting your home but no matter how secure your residence is, if a professional burglar has targeted your home and is determined to break in, the unthinkable may still happen. To aid law enforcement agencies and greatly assist in insurance claims you should maintain a detailed household inventory of all your valuables.

It makes sense to “mark” important items with some permanent identifying mark. There are a variety of simple tools you can rent that will engrave serial numbers, a driver’s license number or some other unique marking into your valuables.

Remember most burglars “fence” stolen items in order to get cash, usually for illegal drugs. You’ll greatly reduce the chances of someone walking off with your TV, VCR or other valuables if it has a conspicuous ID number that can’t be removed, simply because it will greatly reduce its street value and make it too much work to get rid of, and of course it is a lot easier to trace and return the property to the rightful owner.

Today, many people have a video camera. Sweep each room and record the contents from several different prospectives. Next, take close-ups of really important items. To tie-in, have a family member pose with the valuables. In a clear voice identify each item, the date of purchase, price paid and model and serial numbers. Remember to update the tape every time you purchase something new.

If you don’t have a video camera, a regular camera also works well. Make a companion audio tape to go along with it. It very important that the tapes or pictures be kept off the property or they may be stolen or damaged. Keep them in a safety deposit box. Now set aside a hour or so and complete the security check list on the following page. Correct weak points as soon as possible and your home and belongings will be more secure.


HOME SECURITY AND SAFETY CHECK LIST


GENERAL SECURITY

  1. Have you arranged to have member of a law enforcement agency do a professional survey?
  2. Are all trees and shrubs pruned and well maintained to prevent anyone from hiding unseen?
  3. Do any trees, down pipes, lattice work provide easy access to upper floors?
  4. If you have skylights can they be removed from the outside or easily broken?
  5. Any ladders, tools kept outside to assist any potential intruder?
  6. Are you guilty of keeping a hidden house key outside the house where it’s sure to be found?
  7. Is your home well lighted with particular attention to exterior doors?
  8. Can your main entrance be seen from the street?
  9. Are exterior doors at least 1-3/4 inch thick and made from solid wood or reinforced with metal?
  10. Do all exterior doors have heavy duty dead bolts and reinforced door jams?
  11. Can anyone gain easy access through a mail slot, dryer vent, or pet entrance?
  12. If doors have glass panels can someone break through and defeat the locking mechanism?
  13. Have all sliding glass doors been protected from being easily lifted out from their frames?
  14. Are all exterior lights and security devices in good working order and protected from breakage?
  15. Does the door from the attached garage leading to the house have a dead bolt?
  16. Does your overhead door have a working electronic door opener?
  17. Does your overhead door have any loose, broken or missing door panels or hardware?
  18. Do you keep the overhead doors closed, and your car locked inside the garage?
  19. Do all windows have reinforced locking devices that can be secured in the open position?
  20. Do all screens and storm windows have reinforced locks?
  21. Do ground level windows have guards or grates?
  22. Are basement windows glass block or protected by grates or security devices?
  23. All irreplaceable items kept in high quality fire resistant safe or in off-site safety deposit box?
  24. Do you have a complete and current video tape or pictures of all your valuables off-site?
  25. Are all firearms kept secured and apart from ammunition?

FIRE PREVENTION AND SAFETY

  1. Is your heating system in proper working order and inspected for dangerous leaks yearly?
  2. Is there ample air circulation around appliances that are likely to overheat?
  3. Any overloaded circuits, long extension cords runs, too many devices plugged unto one outlet?
  4. Fireplaces, chimney free of dangerous build ups that could catch on fire?
  5. Protective grate in front of fireplace to prevent sparks, hot logs from rolling into room?
  6. Kitchen oven hood and far clear of greasy build-up that could cause a fire?
  7. Smoke detectors installed on each level and tested weekly?
  8. Smoke detector batteries replaced every 12 months or less?
  9. Working fire extinguisher in kitchen, basement, garage, auto?
  10. All family members sleep with bedroom door closed to prevent spread of fire, smoke?
  11. All family members practice fire drill, know escape route, designated meeting pace to go outside?
  12. Children know how to use phone to get help in an emergency?

WHEN AWAY FOR EXTENDED PERIODS

  1. Security system armed? Automatic timers for lights, radio turned on? Phones turned down?
  2. Arrange for neighbor to watch house, cut, water grass, give house that lived-in look?
  3. No change in normal pattern of opening, shutting drapes, dead give-away lighting patterns?
  4. Arrange to stop mail, newspaper delivery, yard work performed?
  5. Arrange to have local police give “special attention” for area beat car.

 



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Commercial Locks, Hardware & security equipment

High Quality Locksmith can take care of all commercial lock and hardware requirements.  We sell, service and install commercial door closers, exit devices, and commercial grade locks, in addition to our residential locks.

        24 Hour Service

 

We Are Ready When You Need Us

 

Getting locked out of anything, especially your vehicle, place of business,  or  residence,  is always a major inconvenience. Inevitably this happens at the worst possible time. We at High Quality Locksmith are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to rapidly assist you when you need it.

Need to change the locks at 3 am? Locked out of your car on New Year’s Eve? Doing some catch up work at the office on Sunday morning and lock your keys in the filing cabinet? We’ll be there. Just remember this number: 850-980-2708.

We Are LOCAL, and we are REAL locksmith Company

It seems strange to have to  mention such a characteristic of our company; however, it is important, and quite relevant. Quite a few of the locksmiths who advertise in Tallahassee are not local, and they are not locksmiths; they are merely middlemen from another somewhere else who own a web page. These middlemen take your call, and forward the job to another contractor who MAY or MAY not, be an actual locksmith. In no case are these “locksmiths” insured, bonded, or otherwise vetted to come into your house or car. There is no guarantee of them being available next month, much less tomorrow, if an issue should arise.

High Quality Locksmith is a local Tallahassee locksmith, and although we travel far outside of town for some jobs, Tallahassee is our home. We stand behind our work, and we’ll be here tomorrow. And the next month. And the year after that. Additionally, we have the CREDENTIALS to back our position. We have earned the confidence of many homeowners, commercial businesses as wqell as car owners and those requiring emergency services.

 

We want to point out that at the writing, the actual text, is incorrect. It’s broken English, mixed with keywords. This is true for many locksmith sites (try looking yourself, especially with the “paid ad” listings).You want a locksmith to pay attention to details, and that includes information posted by his site, even if his site is a foreign middleman (of course, it’s possible that the locksmith in question simply doesn’t know how to read or write very well, but is that an acceptable alternative?).

Professional Locksmiths, DISCOUNT rates.

Your best interests are the number one priority for any job. You can rest assured that High Quality Locksmith will do the best work for you, at the best possible price. Your protection and safety is important. Our personnel carry official company issued identification, and wear our company shirt. Our vehicles bear our logo and contact information.  We maintain top quality liability insurance, and will present our insurance documents to you upon request. Always insist upon these standards when using a locksmith.

 

We are the only locksmith company is a member of the Tallahassee Board of Realtors and the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce!

Our rates are the best in town! We are the only company in town that start with the LOWEST possible day time rate, and adjust it according to the time of day. Our service calls are $45 from 9 am until 6 pm, and then $54 from 6  until 9 pm, and then $59 from 9-11, and then $65 from 11:01 until 9 am.  Compared to our competition, even our highest rate is low.  We invite to compare.

 

High Security Restricted Key Locks

Can An Employee (or anyone else) Make A Duplicate Of Your Key? NOT With Our Restricted Key System!

High Quality Locksmith has a restricted key system that costs virtually the same as normal locks. The difference? They keys are tightly regulated, and are available only to licensed locksmiths who have a contract with the manufacturer. One CANNOT go anywhere and make a duplicate.

The keyways are unique. We keep the key blanks under lock and key here at our shop. When a key is made, it is stamped with a number, and the the key is registered in a log book as assigned to the owner. ONLY the owner (or person assigned by the owner) can have a copy of that particular key made.

And only WE can make it.

Yes, it is possible (although VERY unlikely) that another  locksmith will have the same key way. But as their log book won’t reflect the proper  information concerning the key’s registration number, they will not make the key.