A Real Locksmith Does Locksmith Work.

While rekeying a house last week, my customer approached me and inquired as to “when I would be going to Lowes.” I replied that I had no need to go to any store, and he wanted to know “how” I was changing his locks. I explained that the process was relativly simple: Remove the cylinders from the locks, re-pin the plugs in the cylinders to match the new key, and then put the plugs back into the cylinders. Test the new key in the cylinder. The last step was to replace the cylinders in their hardware and reinstall the hardware to their respective doors. For a locksmith, this is basic, bread and butter stuff. It is a PRIMARY JOB of the profession. My customer then told me that his last locksmith went to the store, purchased all new locks, and replaced all of the existing locks with the new ones. I mused that he must have wanted new hardware. Rust, corrosion, discoloration of the finish, that sort of thing. He emphatically said no! He was under the impression that this was the only way to change locks, as this is what his locksmith told him. That’s because his last locksmith was not a locksmith. Remember: If your locksmith wants to sell you new hardware, ask him/her if there are other options. If options don’t exist, your locksmith is a handyman; nothing more. All locks can be taken apart and re-keyed.

Sadly, this is pretty common in Tallahassee. Out of town companies post ads on Craigslist, and hire inexperienced kids, or “sketchy” characters (and of course, probably some well intentioned people looking for work). These people receive minimal, or no, training, and are immediately sent on jobs. They go to whomever clicks on their “locksmith” ads, or “directories,” or “locksmith listing service” internet listings, It is possible (quite likely, actually) that the work these folks are doing at your house is the very first attempt at doing such work.

Learning a new skill requires practice, and there is definitely a “learning curve” that exists with most jobs. Don’t let your house, your place of business, or your vehicle be subject to this learning curve!

So how can you avoid inexperienced or shady characters working on your locks? Sure, one would think, “I’ll jusk ask.” Not that easy to do. Firstly, look at the fancy internet postings these operators have. They look legit. They want to look legit. The phone operator doesn’t know any of the technicians, and if there was a problem, he/she certainly wouldn’t tell you about it; no, lying is the standard operating procedure for these folks, anyway!

There are several important things you should do when you call a locksmith. Firstly, immediately, ask the person answering your call where their locksmith business is located. Ask for the specific address. Ask for a specific call back number.  You need a local, experienced locksmith; not some local  kid working for people in another state.

When your locksmith arrives:

  1. Is he/she driving an unmarked vehicle? This a BAD sign. A REAL locksmith has a marked vehicle, whether it be a van, or a car, or a truck. It should have the name of the locksmith company and the phone number prominently displayed on the vehicle.
  2. Is he/she driving a vehicle with the word “locksmith” on it, and nothing else? this is almost as bad as an unmarked vehicle.
  3. Does he/she have other people in the vehicle, who are there “for the ride?” That’s a bad sign, although if one is along for training that might be something to take into consideration. Otherwise, well, that is not a good thing.
  4. Does he/she have a uniform, or a locksmith id card, or something that indicates the person is locksmith? This is important.


There are a lot of things to look for when selecting a locksmith, and although I could easily go on and on about High Quality Locksmith’s credentials, community ties, and professional affiliations, etc. , I will just summarize that a good locksmith company will have those 3 aforementioned elements, in addition to substantial training and experience. Often, in the heat of the moment, in a panic, you’ll call the very first “locksmith” listing that pops up on your Google search. There are many people counting on you to do just that.


Where We Are, and Where We Are Going

Recently a customer asked me about specific  services that High Quality Locksmith performs. I
though it would be a good idea to mention our services, and to touch upon our future plans regarding
locksmith services.

Our Current Status

HQL specializes in residential rekey jobs, commercial rekey jobs, emergency services (residential, commercial, and automotive lockouts) and automotive locksmith work. We sell safes, and perform some service work on Sentry safes. We normally do not do work on safes, or
on safe deposit boxes. High Quality Locksmith sets up and administers master key systems, and we also
service and install restricted key systems.

Our Future Status

Eventually we will increase our on site inventory for safes, especially Hayman and Hollon. Along with this inventory expansion, our services will also expand to include safe work, such as combination changes and safe servicing.

Automotive Locksmith Expansion

The necessary equipment for automotive locksmith work is very expensive. Currently, High Quality Locksmith can make and program keys for most foreign and domestic vehicles, although European models are typically not included in this assessment. With the aquistion of specific programming
equipment we intend to start making keys for BMW and Mercedes.


A New Shop Location

The addition of a primary shop location on Monroe Street is currently on “the way, way, way, back burner,” so to speak, and may never actually materialize.   There are weak arguments supporting this addition, but most logicial and conservative arguments demolish such an idea. Colleagues have encouraged me to seriously consider this option, but even in the most conservative sense I think such a move would require substantial  across the board rate increases, and the Tallahassee population, by and large, cannot support rate increases. Times have changed, and brick and mortar locations are no longer important for mobile, service oriented businesses. They are nice, of course, but no longer figure prominently in the mobile locksmith business plan.

Transponder keys, remote controls, remote head keys and proximity remotes…a brief synopsis

Often when a customer calls requesting a replacement key for his vehicle, I quote the price, mentioning that the price also includes programming the key, if necessary (the term, “programming the key”, is not accurate; actually I am programming the vehicle’s ECU to accept the frequency of the new key’s chip, but I will save this bit of information for a few lines down). The customer stops me short, and says, “No, this key does not have a chip. It doesn’t have any buttons or anything. This is just a regular key.” I carefully explain all the facts and nuances concerning the key, and how it does indeed have a chip,  and that this chip is called a transpnder, etc. etc., and I often think, “I should write an article about this. Maybe talk about what the different terms mean. That sort of thing.”

Well, here I am. I’ll try to keep it brief, not too boring, and hopefully somewhat informative.

A key to a car can be a regular metal key, or it can be a transponder key. A transponder key is a key that has a tiny chip embedded in the plastic head of the key. You cannot see it. A transponder equipped vehicle requires not only a key to turn the igniition, but the vehicle must be programmed to accept the fre3quency of the chip that the key has; if it is not programmed, the vehicle will not start. The key will turn, and nothing will happen. Nada.

A remote control is a programmed frequency transmitter that transmits a signal which can be used to lock and unlock doors, open the trunk, etc. A transponder chip has nothing to do with the remote, and vice versa.

A remote head key is a key that has the remote control in the head of the key. A transponder chip might also be embedded in the head of the key, but the two are still not related to each other. It is possible to have a remote head key for a car, but not have a transponder chip, as a particular vehicle may not require one. It is also possible to have a remote control by itself, sharing space on your keyring with your key.

A proximity remote is a remote control unit that also has a chip in it. When this unit is inside the vehicle, the engine ECU (aka “brain”) senses the presence of the unit, and allows the vehicle to be started, usually by pushing a button. The remote control functionality is separate from the transponder functionality.

Vehicle manufacturers have made things a bit less simple than the above narrative. Remote controls and transponders are two wholly seperate things, so programming one may (or may not) program the other; oftentimes the two devices require their own distinct programming. A remote control might work on the door locks, but if the transponder is not programmed, the engine is not going to start.

Some vehicles (Toyota comes to mind), have a blinking light (the security light) that will not turn off unless a proper OEM (original equipment manufacturer) remote head key is utilized to start the car; although a standard programmed transponder key will start the car, the dash light will continue to act as though it is disabled. Additionally, many vehciles are “transponder optional,” meaning a certain vehicle may require a transponder key, while another, of the exact same type, model and year, may not.

Programming requirements can vary by vehicle, but oftentimes basic programmers can be utiized. Newer vehicles almost always require more sophisticated programming equipment, and programming can be expensive; it may even exceed the price of the key itself.

Locksmiths and Bonding: Here’s a “bonded” surprise for you…..

“Licensed, Bonded, Insured.” “Certified, Accredited, Bonded.”  “Bonded for your Security.” These terms, as well as many variations, are the mantra of most locksmiths. For most locksmiths (in the Tallahassee, FL., area, anyway), these words are merely words, and nothing else.

There are primarily two kinds of bonds. The first is the surety bond. This is a bond that insures performance. If a small locksmith company wins a bid for a large construction-lock installation project, this bond is issued prior to the bidding process to guarantee that the winning bidder starts, and completes, the job. If the contractor/locksmith walks away without finishing the job, the bond pays for the remaining work to be completed by someone else. This is used to guarantee performance, and shows that the bidder is serious about doing the job.

Another bond is the guaranty bond (yes, the spelling is correct). This bond is a bond that pertains to the individual and/or the agency the person works for. It is a guarantee of the person, himself. If the person steals from his customer, or does anything to hurt his customer, the bond reimburses the customer. Liability insurance covers negligenet actions; bonds cover intentional actions.  The bond covers criminal acts outside the scope of liability insurance. It is wholly different.

Here is a surprise: 90% of all locksmiths in the Tallahassee area are not bonded, or even insured. Some have their premises insured, and that’s it.

Locksmiths are responsible for the safety of their clients. The confidentiality of security information and key codes is extremely important. You could easily make the mistake of having a convicted burglar or sex offender re-key your house! A bond is issued by an entity, whereby the entity says, in effect, “we have checked this person out, and stand by him/her. If this person uses their locksmith skills to rob or otherwise take advantage of you, we will reimburse you up to the the maximum amount of this bond.” Needless to say, bonds are not issued without some sort of vetting process.

High Quality Locksmith, is an active member of ALOA, and we are bonded by this organization. Additionally, our comprehensive liability insurance, issued by the Hartford Insurance Company, also covers our customers. HQ Locksmith also has a second bond, issued by the National Locksmith Association!

The next time a locksmith says that he/she is bonded, ask to see the bond. Anyone can say they have one, but very few can produce this upon request. Very few actually know what a bond is!

High Quality Locksmith maintains copies of our bond and our insurance policies on board our trucks. Our bond is also on our web page, at https://hqlocksmith.com/our-credentials.






A Professional Locksmith Will Have Credentials

In Florida, as well as most states in the US, there are no laws regulating the locksmith industry. Broward and Dade counties require licensing for locksmiths in their counties, but this is the only real licensing requirement in Florida. The City of Tallahassee issues a “tax receipt” sort of license for $50; this is the only license, per se, required of locksmiths in this area. Anyone can get this license for $50. Interestingly, the City Commission has eliminated this “tax receipt” requirement as of the end of 2017!   All so-called “locksmiths” say they are licensed, bonded and insured, and many of them are lying. Insurance and bonding is not required; moreover,  no one actually enforces whether a locksmith has that aforementioned, city issued, $50 tax receipt, either.

Is this alarming? Absolutely! As a result of this, anyone can decide he is a locksmith, and put it on Google, almost instantly. Tallahassee sees 3 to 4 new “locksmiths” every few months; they come and go with the frequency of the seasons…… It is ironic that your hairdresser, or the local tattoo artist, are subject to more government oversight than the person who makes the keys to your house, or car.

The real, genuine, trained and professional locksmiths submit themselves to voluntary regulation, and have valid liability insurance policies, as well as valid bonds. ALOA ( http://aloa.org )  is  the premier organization for locksmiths, and conducts background checks, and imposes specific requirements upon their members. Very few locksmiths in Tallahassee are ALOA members.

High Quality Locksmith is a member of ALOA, maintains liability insurance, and is bonded. These are specific professional credentials that we maintain. Honest locksmiths make an effort to be identified as such. Many of the so called “locksmiths” you find on Google are fake, who’s sole experience is breaking into someone’s car the week before, and who’s complete training consists of nothing more than a couple of YouTube videos. Training, real locksmith experience, and professional association membership separates these glorified handymen from the professionals.

It is important to note, that less experienced locksmiths, who are honest and trying to move up in the industry, may not yet have the qualifications to join an organization such as ALOA (one of the requirements is that the applicant must have at least 2 years experience in the industry). Now, it is incumbent upon dedicated locksmiths to join ALOA, but not having yet reached that goal does not necessarily make one dishonest, or “shady.” Far be it for this writer to denigrate my less experienced colleagues; I am sure there are some decent people out there trying to make it in the industry. We all started out at the bottom, more or less.

But, repeating what I said earlier, REAL locksmiths make a bona fide effort to be identified as professionals. This means insignia, identification of some sort, business cards (or at least a receipt that has the company name), and insignia of some kind on the service vehicle. Credentials of some sort, even if they are just basic ones.

All good locksmiths are proud of their trade. Proud of what they do, and gratified when they do a good job. Inasmuch as they are proud of their own efforts, they should be proud of their identity, and should have those business cards, signs on  their vehicles, and some sort of insignia on their clothing.

Beware of the locksmith who lacks these basic items. Lack of these simple items could easily indicate this person is just a semi-talented handyman, who my know a  little (very little) about locks.

Of course, the ultimate set of credentials not only includes the business card, identification, company shirt or uniform, marked company vehicle, identification badge, etc., but also includes true liability insurance, professional association memberships (ALOA, Board of Realtors, etc.), and professional business association membership (Chamber of Commerce).

High Quality Locksmith has all of the above. The complete package. Don’t settle for less.

Good Locks. Sometimes price doesn’t matter.

Often I am asked which locks and/or hardware are the best for residential application. It is unwise to specify a certain brand over another. Often people define (erroneously) the quality of a lock system by how easy it is to pick. Picking, or lack thereof, does not define lock quality, but this factor deserves mentioning……

Certainly, some of the more expensive locks are more difficult (or almost impossible) to pick, but a lock is only as strong as the door it secures, as well as the frame it’s bolt engages. If the door is a hollow core door and the frame is thin or cheaply constructed, the high quality lock will do little to prevent entry.

A skilled locksmith can pick locks. This is a job requirement.  But sometimes a dime store lock can be difficult to pick, while an expensive name brand lock can be picked in seconds.  Most of the difficulty (or ease) to picking a lock comes from the placement of it’s internal pins. If a lock has all short pins,  generally it can be picked easily. A lock with long pins mixed with short pins will generally be more difficult to pick. To see if your lock has short pins next to long pins, simply look at your key. Does the key have deep cuts, next to shallow ones? If it does, it may be a little more difficult to pick.

Picking locks is a skill and an art, and it requires practice.  As most people cannot pick locks, how difficult a lock is to pic is usually not a significant concern for people. Most criminals do not pick locks; they prefer unused locks.

Of GREATER importance is the quality of the metal, and the quality of the installation. The lock should be heavy and solid, and it should mount solidly in the door.  A deadbolt should mount cleanly in the hole drilled for it. Sometimes, a a do-it-your-selfer will  fail to drill the hole large enough for the hardware to seat properly. This leaves a gap that invites a prying/crowbar attack. The bolt should also be solid, and when engaged, it should slide all of the way into the door frame. A deadbolt not fully engaged with a frame (because the bolt hole is not deep enough, or is not aligned properly) is not truly “dead,” and can be “walked open” with a screwdriver or other instrument.

It’s All About the Keys

There are many brands of locks, but relatively few key ways.

The 4 most popular key designs in the United States are (in order) Kwikset (KW1), Schlage (SC1), Yale and Weiser. Many other key patterns exist, as well. Most of these other key patterns are used exclusively for commercial applications.

Many other companies are licensed to manufacture their locks using the aforementioned 4 key designs. Lowes has it’s Carriage House design, which uses the KW1 key way; Home Depot does the same with it’s Defiant brand. Of course, Kwikset, Schlage and Yale name brands are popular.

Yale uses a Kwikset key way for it’s residential applications, and has it’s own key type for commercial applications. Schlage has it’s own key way which sees extensive commercial and residential use.

Sergent, a high quality lock, also appears in residential applications but is more likely used commercially.

The quality of a lock is defined more by the quality of it’s installation. A poorly made lock is easy to detect; but economics usually prevent such locks from remaining available for purchase.

The only truly ineffective lock is an unused one.




BEWARE of FAKE Locksmiths! There are lots of them in Tallahassee.

About every month or two, a new locksmith appears online. Although I am referring to Tallahassee, this happens in every city in Florida, all of the time. I mentioned in a previous article how Florida does not regulate the locksmith industry, so anyone can call his or herself a locksmith. Often some guy discovers he can open a car, and confers the locksmith title upon himself; sometimes they can’t even do that, but takes the title, nonetheless  Regardless, these folks are the scourge of this industry.


There are several basic things you should be observant of:


1. Do they arrive in an unmarked vehicle, or, just as bad, do they arrive in a vehicle marked with the word “locksmith,” with no other contact information? This is a MAJOR warning sign!

2) Do they have company identification, and/or company uniforms of some kind?

3) Do they have a company website? Now, this factor alone is not a determinant; Tallahassee has a few bona fide locksmith companies who have NO website, and one company (with a good website) who  is NOT a locksmith, but merely a referral service;  you cannot discern this by looking at the web site.  A website is an important piece of information, though; there is no excuse for a real locksmith company not to have a web site. In this day and age, anyone can have a web site.

4)Do they give you a straight, upfront price for specified work, and do they STICK to that price?

5) Do they have liability insurance? A real locksmith company has this. Always. A real locksmith company will show you their insurance binder if you request.

6) Do they have ties to the community? Are they members of any business organization (Chamber of Commerce, etc.)?




How To Choose The Right Locksmith

Choosing the best locksmith is not as easy as it sounds. Most people don’t care too much about whom they use as a locksmith, and if the job in question is getting a car open, most people could care less as to whom they employ. But it matters. And in Florida, it matters even more.


Florida Does Not Regulate The Locksmith Industry

Florida does not regulate locksmiths. To get a license to be a locksmith, merely go down to
City Hall and pay $50 for a city occupational license. This “license” is nothing more than a tax one pays to the city in order to conduct business there. It is merely a tax receipt; nothing more.

Anyone can call his or herself a locksmith, and many of the so called locksmiths in Tallahassee have discovered they can open cars with a tool, and have quickly assumed the locksmith title. They set up a listing on Google, and use key words like “cheap locksmith,” “best locksmith,” and the like. This is sort of like a guy discovering he knows how to apply a band aid, and declares himself to be a neurosurgeon!

More often than not, such “pretend locksmiths” do not purchase a license.

But it gets worse: The locksmith referral services (aka fake locksmiths) enter the picture. Because there are no regulations, various individuals set up web pages and Adwords campaigns, and dupe the public into calling them for locksmith service. These individuals are no more locksmiths than I am a NASCAR driver, and yet their activity is entirely legal. Once they receive a call, they refer the job to a another person (who may or may not be a locksmith) and that person does the job, paying the referral service up to 50% of what they are paid. Tallahassee is inundated with such referral companies, and many of these web page operators are not even located in Florida. These “contracted” locksmiths drive vehicles around town that have “Locksmith” signs on the vehicle, but no company name, as they represent no actual company (usually these vehicles have no contact information on them either).

Because Florida does not regulate the industry, locksmiths are not required to have insurance, or training, or even the tax certificate mentioned earlier. No one checks, so often these “locksmiths” have no paperwork whatsoever. Locksmiths in Florida are not required to undergo any sort of background check; people simply assume we are honest (most of us are, actually, but not because any agency requires it). As of this writing, there is one locksmith in Tallahassee who is a convicted sex offender!


How Can I Protect Myself and My Family?


It is easy to counteract the effects of no regulation. Use reputable companies; companies that are not only licensed, but insured. Companies that have a reputation in the community, and have references. Companies that are members of the Local Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, and also have professional affiliations or contacts.

I Do Not Have The Time or Desire To A 3 hour Research Project on Locksmiths

You don’t have to spend a lot of time and energy checking out a locksmith. You can check the little things first (often at the company’s web site): Is the technician clean, well dressed, and basically decent looking? Although this is a subjective judgement, it is the first impression that often gives you some basic information. Along those same lines, is the technician in a uniform, or have company insignia and/or identification? Does he/she have business cards? Is the service vehicle marked with locksmith insignia, INCLUDING the company’s name? A reputable locksmith company will have all of these things.

Ask to see the company’s insurance coverage document. Reputable companies keep copies of these documents in all of their trucks. The company ought to have good reviews online; Google Reviews, Angie’s List, Yelp, etc.

A good locksmith company has references, and can provide you several. Of course, the personal reference is the best (we consider personal references to be GOLD)

In Tallahassee (and probably every other city in Florida), there are two kinds of locksmiths: One is a professional locksmith company; and the the other is simply a guy looking for a job. The guy looking for a job might be a good, decent guy, with real locksmith skills, and he might have insurance, and he might be affiliated with other professional locksmith agencies and associations, and he might have a good, solid reputation in the community.

He might.

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.

Layers of Security: Batten Down the Hatches

The best way to dress for cold weather is to wear layers of clothing, and add or remove layers as necessary, depending upon conditions and your level of comfort.  This is true for security as well.  Not only the security in one’s home,  but the security for individuals, vehicles, and public or private facilities.

Consider your home. The first layer of security is a physical barrier of some kind; something on the periphery that is a basic first line of defense. A fence.  A fence will stop a few interlopers, especially if there is a padlock on the gate.

Don’t want, or can’t do a fence? No problem. A fence is a good first line of defense, but most people will not enter “your space”  without some sort of reason, or invitation.  A fence is more of a symbolic barrier than anything, unless it is a high security fence topped with razor ribbon.  Symbolic barriers are important, as they transmit a “”do not enter” message. The main advantage of a fence is that if a person crosses it onto your property, they have actually crossed a barrier, and,  absent an invitation, they are clearly trespassing.  This easy transition from passerby to trespasser is a significant deterrent for some would-be criminals.  Without a fence,  an excuse (I’m looking for my dog, I’m looking for work, etc.), no matter how weak, would appear somewhat valid.

A dog (or two) behind this fence is another layer of security.A barking dog,  regardless of size, might deter someone who would otherwise hop over the fence. More importantly, a barking dog creates noise and draws attention to the would-be trespasser;  something a criminal does not want.

Heavy solid doors, closed and locked with deadbolts, are the next layer. Assuming all of the doors are the same (We’ll talk about  sliding doors later) this layer would stop honest people, and a little over half of your basic two- bit criminal types.  Closed, locked, windows, fronted by security screens  (or even bars) are another layer of security.

For most homeowners the above constitutes all of the usual layers of security implemented. But additional layers are easily available.  An excellent layer of additional security is an alarm system for the structure. Because their price has dropped over the years, home alarms are a viable option for most people.  A good, closed circuit alarm system (the type most private homes utilize), monitored by a central station is a recommended layer of security.

Each layer of security costs money. Most home owners implement all or most of the aforementioned measures, but there are a few inexpensive measures to add a few extra effective security layers.

   Locks Inside

When a warship goes into battle, one of the first steps taken is to secure all hatches. The purpose for doing this is to close off all of the compartments of the ship so that if an area is hit it may fill up with water but the remaining compartments will not. The vessel will stay afloat after sustaining many hits.

If every room in your house has a lock on the door (deadbolts or otherwise), then after a criminal has penetrated your house he has to break into every room he wants to go into. Combine this with an alarm siren, a barking dog and flashing lights, a criminal’s intentions will dramatically change from find loot to get the &^%% out of here.

Of course this is not a popular option. Most people don’t want to secure all of the rooms in their house before they leave for work in the morning, and if there are kids/family  going in and out later in the day this may not be practical. But why not? If you plan for a burglary, the burglary may be thwarted, or at least significantly curtailed.  This is a cheap, viable option.  One of our customers has dead bolts on every door in the house. He uses a few of them (office, master bedroom) in addition to his regular locks, and locks them all  when he goes out of town.  Someone broke into his house once. The burglar set off the alarm, and made it into the foyer. Another dead bolted door stopped him from going in further.  He grabbed an umbrella from the umbrella stand; that was all he got. The police investigated, and closed the front door. The customer came back from his trip two weeks later.

If They Don’t See It, They Don’t Want It

A really cheap layer of security is to hide things. Not go out and bury things; this is simple stuff. Have an expensive watch? Put it under a sheet on your bed. Same with your lap top, or guns, etc.  This is also very effective (it’s almost mandatory) for expensive items in your car. If a burglar gets into the house, they are going to the dresser in the master bedroom. Gold, expensive jewelry, etc. That’s what they want. Put those items under your sheet on your bed.  Under a pillow. Have a 7′ big screen TV? Throw a sheet over it. Yes, they will look to see what it is, but they might not.  Seriously. Especially if there is an alarm going off; they want to hurry; they want to grab; they want to run.  Barriers, layers, impediments. These things cost a burglar time, and when the burglar gets inside, they want to get some good stuff and then get out, fast. They don’t want to spend their time taking sheets off  of stuff or going through several locked doors.

                                                               Get Creative

Mr. X has an office in his house. In this office are expensive computers, a flat screen TV, a gun safe (with guns), and a floor safe containing his company’s cash and receipts.

His security is tight. Alarms, multiple dead bolts, security screens, security cameras, and all sorts of goodies.

But he has something else. He makes the entire office disappear. On the inside of his office door is a florescent light, about 3″ above the floor. From the inside of the house, this appears to be sunlight. On the office door is a sign which reads, “KEEP THIS DOOR CLOSED! DO NOT LET THE DOGS IN THROUGH THIS DOOR!”  This would confuse, even for a few minutes, the smartest criminal. Remember: a burglar’s time is limited. Help him use it up.


In summary, remember that time is a burglar’s enemy. Most burglaries occur in the day time, on week days, between 8 to 5 pm. Burglars keep regular work hours. This when everyone is working. Burglars rarely work on the week ends, except during events where everyone is away and attending (a home football game, or a big city event downtown, or something similar). The more layers of security you can afford to implement, the better.  These layers,  in combination, can pay off with big security dividends.