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Entries in Home Security Tips Category

Underrated Security Strategies


There’s tons of home security and safety strategies readily available to anybody with internet access. Most of these strategies are definitely effective, however some burglars are aware of these strategies already, so it might not always work as well as you may want them to. It’s true, that even many deterrents won’t prevent extremely skilled or knowledgeable burglars from coming into your property. But if you follow the below strange security strategies, it greatly minimizes the chances of it happening; this is all due to the outlandish and creative aspects of these strategies.


Don’t Utilize Nightstands

Many burglars assume that weapons and valuables are stored in bedside nightstands or dressers – basically using a nearby piece of furniture as a form of improvised safe or deposit box. We urge you not to do this, because it’s a widely common space familiar to burglars. Perhaps consider storing valuables inside a high up cabinet in a child’s room, as the majority of burglars won’t assume that there’s valuable items stored there, especially if they are in a rush to leave your property quickly. It’s of course, not smart to put weapons in children’s rooms, but everything else is somewhat of a smart idea, especially if you can store items on a level too high for children to reach.


Fake Signs

Even if you don’t have an alarm system in your home, make sure to buy home security signs, because they work as excellent passive deterrents. You can easily find these signs online or at hardware stores, with a plethora of available branding – it’s cheap, and effective.


Move around alarm locations

The most common area for security alarms to be placed is inside the door closest to the front entrance of the home – this is meant to increase convenience for anybody coming into the home. However this is a major security floor, especially if there’s windows nearby the entranceway – as a criminal can easily break through the window and disable the alarm; we recommend, instead, to install an alarm system a bit farther away from the entrance way.


Car Key Strategies

If one does have a situation where a burglar enters their home, the most obvious reaction would be to call the police from your cellphone, perhaps a phone kept nearby your bed or nightstand. We recommend keeping your car keys on hand, so if you do end up hearing a burglar in your home, you can quickly set off your car alarm, which will likely spook and scare off the burglars.

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Deterrents and Home Defense

Home Defense

A burglary occurs about every 15 seconds in the United States.This might seem somewhat discomfiting, and that is completely justified. The best way to avoid having to worry about this risk, is by reinforcing your home with as many layers of security as possible. By utilizing a system of deterrents, you can make your home completely unappealing to any potential burglars. Here’s our list of the most effective burglar deterrents.

Locked Doors

Make sure to keep your doors locked at all times, even when you’re home – and definitely at night. If you leave screen doors or windows open that’s fine – but make sure that you have a good lock for the screen in place that will create a sturdy barrier against intruders. All doors should be fit with deadbolts, and any sort of patio or sliding door should be fit with anti-entry security devices.


Get Strong Window and Door Locks

Since all burglars enter homes through windows or doors, ensuring that you have a first-rate and functional lock is an absolute must. Don’t be cheap when looking for the right lock – just ask your local locksmith for their recommendation for the strongest and best lock for your living situation.


Have your home security evaluated

Many local police departments offer free home security checks. If you call to ask for this service, officers will inspect your house, and suggest improvements to its security.


Get Security Cameras

Put burglars on the defensive by having visible security cameras on both the inside and outside of your home. Make sure the cameras have adequate night vision, and enough hard drive to store a long enough duration of video – usually a few days worth. If you can’t buy this high end of functional camera, fake plastic cameras can work as great deterrents – just make sure that they don’t look too fake, so fake that thieves can easily identify them as decoys.


Motion Activated Lights

These lights positioned outside your home can strategically illuminate dark areas of your home with motion sensor floodlights. This makes it highly unlikely that any sneaking burglar will attempt to continue stealing from home when they’re lit up in the middle of the night publically.


Home Alarm Systems

This is one of the top strategies for discouraging home burglary. You can get endless ranges of systems with included extras – from a basic household alarm to an industrial quality siren. Make sure to choose whatever package affords you the maximum level of protection. Ensure that your alarm company has a quick response time, and that the police get notified automatically whenever there’s an alarm event.


Door Strength

Make sure that you have thick, solid wood or metal doors for your home that would be impossible to kick in. If your doors have an inset window, install a second lock by your floor, so that if the burglar breaks the window pane, they can’t simply reach down the inside to unlock the door – and it couldn’t hurt to install protective bracing in the doorframe.

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Gate Security

Gate Security


Gates can offer a great deal of security, depending on how they are installed, their style, and how they are maintained. Of course, gates will always be more secure when they are locked, however for the most part just the site of a gate is a fantastic deterrent for prospective criminals. Short gates that any human can step over are not effective deterrents – the more secure the gate appears (and functions) the higher its security.  There’s a few kinds of gates that aren’t worth investing in at all. Here are some.


Gates with small Holes

Small holes inside the gate allow criminals who are passing by to look inside your property to assess its security, as well as potentially open the lock through the openings with tools thin enough to pass through them.


Gates with large holes

This should be obvious, but a gate with a large hole is merely cosmetic, rather than functional. It allows criminals to reach inside the gate, look inside it to assess your security, or open it from the outside.


Short Gates

Short gates require reinforcement with locks, however if your gate is so short that it can be stepped over, any lock won’t help at all. Even gates that are short enough to see over are a risk, as anybody can reach over it and access the lock or handle.


Things to keep in mind about your Gate:

  • Don’t have valuables in plain sight of the gate
  • Latches without locks can be opened by anyone reaching over the gate
  • Door Knobs that allow for unkeyed egresses can be turned  by someone reaching over the gate.
  • Locks must be combined with keys, combinations, or remotes to be effective.


There’s a few ways to increase security on your gate; while barbed wire, or the like, is surely effective, it’s aesthetic drawbacks make it a seriously unappealing option. Another option is to grow roses along the walls of your home; while looking beautiful, the rose’s thorns will operate as a form of elegant barbed wire. Don’t get a gate outfit with hand or foot holds – get a tall, flat, smooth gate that’s sturdy enough that it can’t get kicked in. Security cameras will also help you figure out if anybody unruly is trying to enter your home; consider placing multiple cameras in both obscured and obvious places to maximize both your functionality, and the deterrents surrounding your security system.

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Spring Security Tips

Spring Security Tips

Spring is officially here. With it come all the attractive benefits of grass, birdsong, baseball, and picnics. Unfortunately, Spring also comes with an increase in burglary. Now that you’re hopefully going to be spending more time outside the house than during the frigid winter, it can help to know a few useful security tips to prime your house for the upcoming warm season. In this blog entry I’ll detail three handy reminders to keep in mind, so you can always know that your home is safe.


Switch Up your Schedule

As traffic also increases in warmer months, burglars will rely on rush hour traffic to make break-in attempts at houses. Just to be safe, try leaving early from home or work some days, or after work make an excursion to a movie or restaurant, just so those who may be monitoring your home schedule won’t have an idea of when exactly it is you are not home.


Keep your Keys on a Clip-on or Lanyard

Since you’re likely going to be spending more time outside over the next few months, make sure that you lower the chances of dropping your keys while you’re out having fun; when this happens, the chances of you retrieving the keys are slim to none – and even worse, if your address is on your keys it’s a surefire way of inviting a burglary. Make sure to keep your keys on a secure string, clip, or lanyard that you can attach inside a bag, around your neck, or on your belt loop in order to keep them on your body at all times.


Lock up your doors and Windows

Street traffic also increases in warmer months, and with this, an increase in people who will be able to peer inside your property, spot any desirable valuables, and plan a break-in. The best defense is to lock your doors and windows, and keep your blinds shut. Thieves often look for unlocked cars, vans, or trucks to find a spare key inside. If you’re concerned about the security of your locks, give Top Locksmith a call – we will have technicians at your location within minutes to inspect all your locks and prime your home security.

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Little Known Facts about Safes

safe lock

For an item as ubiquitous and universal as safes, very few people know about their history, or the technical aspects of their construction. Here’s our primer on little known facts about safes.

The higher the price, the more quality the safe

While this equation isn’t always true with every kind of product, with safes it definitely is. The more expensive the safe is, the stronger it’s doors and body are, the thicker the metal is, and these safes contain materials that can blunt drills, cutting tools, and even disperse heat. Cheap safes, on the other hand, can be opened with the strike of a skilled hand – think about cost as a measure of how expensive the materials are, and with how much care they are constructed.


Safes should be Hidden

Make sure to conceal safes; by hiding it, any burglar will have to find it before even being able to attempt to enter it – making it even less likely that they will be able to steal from you. An even greater security tactic is to hide the safe in the floor or within a wall – this will cover up it’s weaker sides, and allow you to hide it in a way that most people wouldn’t be able to see.


The more inaccessible the safe is, the better it’s hidden

The most secure safes are the one’s that are hardest to access – any safes that are made invisible, or even inaccessible, requiring some kind of advanced exhumation are completely protected from the average thief. This is the best possible way of hiding a safe – however if it’s a safe you want regular access to, this strategy might prove inconvenient, if superiorly secure.


Safes can be cut

This is why adding additional layers of concealment is such a good strategy. Although a quality safe will be protected from the average criminal, if you’re handling something truly priceless, you may be dealing with a more advanced level of burglar. It’s worth it to bear in mind that even Diamonds and Steel can be cut with the right tools – so it’s important to keep your investments secure by not only investing in the highest quality safe, but by making it as hard to access as possible.


How Criminals can Break into Safes

We are all familiar with the cinematic trope of the burglar cracking the safe by using a stethoscope to listen for the clicks – this isn’t really that common. Most criminals aren’t lockpicking experts – they are mostly concerned with getting out of there as quickly as possible. The majority of thieves will steal the entire safe; the common approach to mitigate this risk is to bolt the safe directly to the floor. This should never be done,a s then the thief can use the floor’s leverage to pry open the door of the safe with a crowbar. Expensive safes made of strong material can be broken into using angle grinders or torches – advanced and uncommon equipment, but equipment that is surely out there in the world. Whether you have a safe in your hallway closet or in a bank, they are not completely impervious – making the importance of concealment and deterrents an even more pressing issue.



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Solo Living Security Primer

23 Security Tips for Single Living

Since the dawn of the 20th century, the amount of people living by themselves has steadily  increased. Living alone can be exciting, lonely, organized, hedonistic, and hermetic. However living alone comes with it’s own range of safety concerns. In this blog entry I’ll detail some of the most important tips that can be of value when you’re living by yourself.



Make sure that your closest friends know your general routine, so that they notice when you’re not around or aren’t on your usual plan. If you let your friends know if you’re going to be away or if you’re unfortunately injured it’s basically creating a security net that can step in when things go wrong. People will check in on you – even if they just do so on the phone.


Consider getting a House Sitter

This can be someone who sleeps at your home when you’re away or stops by every now and then while you’re absent to check if everything is OK. This is a must if you have pets in the home that will be left unattended, as they need interaction and food. However long your house is occupied by a trustworthy person is just as long as it remains safe from burglars.


Close your Windows

Only leave windows open a crack if you need to leave an open window at night. The majority of criminals would prefer a quick and easy entry point; the majority of them would seize the opportunity to enter through an open window. If you’re keeping a window open, let it be right near where you’re sleeping – or as far from it as possible, depending on how scared you are about potential confrontation with the criminal. Otherwise, leave all your windows closed, especially when you’re not home.


Close your curtains at Night

At nighttime it’s really easy to see inside homes when the lights are on. You don’t want strangers to be able to look inside your house – they might spot valuables, get tempted on the spot, or start plotting a future break-in. Many criminals scout neighborhoods looking for signs of empty homes; meaning if you’re away, keeping your blinds closed are a must.


Keep track of who has your Keys, and Change your Locks

When you’re first moving into a place, make sure that all locks are changed; you never know what contractors the landlord has previously given keys to, and they might have copied them. Even if the previous tenant returned all their keys, you can never be too careful, so get your locks rekeyed. Many stores will copy keys regardless of any ‘do not copy’ warnings. Rekeying is the basic level of safety, and changing your locks completely is the conservative. You can choose.


Upgrade with Deadbolts

If your renter’s contract allows you to upgrade your locks, do so. By upgrading the core of your existing lock with a stronger mechanism with a deadbolt, your safety and security will increase exponentially. Upgrading locks is one of the simplest and most effective ways to up your home security levels.


Keep Track of all Spare Keys

Spare keys are a great way of preventing lockouts, but it’s important that you’re not careless with them. Bad places to leave spare keys are under mats or conspicuously placed rocks or statues. Trust us, burglars know to look for those items. By leaving a key unattended, you are increasing the chances that your home will be broken into. It’s smartest to leave your spare key with a close friend or neighbor.


Light Protection

Consider getting outdoor motion sensor lights. THis is great, because it draws attention to any weird activity happening outside your home at night. Also, as a general safety rule, make sure you keep flashlights with fresh batteries in your home in case of any blackouts or if the power gets cut.


Be private with your self-living status

This doesn’t mean become a social recluse, rather it simply means don’t constantly proclaim throughout the neighborhood that you live by yourself. It makes it much more likely that a criminal will overhear you and target you as a potential burglary victim. In apartment buildings, it’s wise to not have overt signs on display that refer to your living arrangement – for example on mailboxes or buzzers list your “Surname Residence” rather than just your full name. This way anyone inside your building won’t be able to know off the bat that you live in your apartment alone.


Adopt a Dog

There’s a reason dogs have a fantastic reputation as  guards. Dogs are both territorial and protective – they are basically like a roommate that’s always home. Having a dog in your home greatly decreases the chances that you’ll get broken into. Not only will it make you feel like you have companionship – but they will provide great protection at discouraging any criminals from messing with you – so if you have the time and responsibility level to take care of a dog, you should consider adopting one from an animal shelter. Never buy dogs at pet stores, as these procur animals from puppy mills that are run in horrible conditions, treating the dogs horribly.

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Cold Weather Lock Tips

There’s no doubt about it – this is one of the coldest winters on record. Although we’ve gotten the odd pleasant day, I’m sure you’ve all noticed the nighttime lows – whether there’s frost on your windows or not. Did you know that dropping mercury poses a serious risk to your lock performance as well?


As your local Maryland lock experts, we at Top Locksmiths always work hard to provide our customers with the most accurate information regarding your home, business, or automobile lock. Here’s our brief science briefing to explain the effects of super cold temperatures to locks. Thermal expansion is the term that describes the movements of the molecules inside any object due to temperature change. If a metal object is heated, it will expand because it’s internal molecules are moving, expanding away from each other. The opposite is also true. When an object is exposed to super cold temperatures, the molecules will gather closer together and eventually stop moving, causing the object to contract or shrink.


Because of the expansion and contraction of molecules, your locks may have been treated rough by the weather lately., You may have noticed locks sticking or posing trouble when you’re trying to turn them. Locks can freeze overnight (or on particularly cold days) because of any condensation or internal moisture. When this moisture freezes onto the tumbler, it can make it impossible to use a key inside the lock. You don’t want to try to force the lock open, because that’s likely to cause even more damage. You can call your trustworthy local Maryland locksmiths, who will be there in a jiffy to assist you, or you can try these tips:


  1. Use WD-40 or a de-icer to melt any ice around the lock. Spray in WD40 as a lubricant. Always be sure to have these items handy.
  2. Try using a lighter to heat up your key before putting it in the lock – don’t hold the flame directly onto it, but rather slightly below it. This might require a few attempts to work, but if it does it will melt any ice that’s sealed onto the lock tumblers.
  3. Try dipping your key in Vaseline and turning it in the lock – this might need some repeat attempts, but can be an excellent lubrication method on short term notice.
  4. You can pre-treat your locks with antifreeze to prevent it from being frozen in advance.
  5. Don’t ever pour hot water on a lock because it’s only going to increase the internal moisture already present and cause even more extreme freezing problems when the temperature drops in the future.

We hope that these tips serve you well in taking care of your locks during these winter months.


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Safety Barricades

Due to the macabre increase in school based invasions and shootings, there has been a national demand for schools to increase their security and safety features. A strifeful debate has emerged between parents who demand barricade devices should be placed inside schools and administrators who protest this addition. Barricades offer a fantastic secondary line of defense for schools or other institutions in the case of active shooters, and have the potential to save many lives if they are used correctly.


Barricades are available in many kinds of sizes and shapes – from compact locks that bolt directly into the floor to wide bars that run along the center of the door. These locks are made custom to be used in the event of crisis in order to protectively seal doors. For example, a barricade could bar a hinge from being able to expand, sealing the door shut, while another can insert heavy bolts into the ground, providing another layer of solid protection. Another design barricades across the entire doors center and bolts into the wall.


Some officials protest the wide installation of barricades in classrooms because they are afraid that they will be misused- with the argument that if used incorrectly, barricades could cause more negative than good impacts. The primary worry is that in the event of a fire or natural disaster, barricades could potentially trap people inside the building, preventing their ability to safely escape. Another possibility is the chance of an active shooter barricading themselves inside a locked classroom and causing more harm than they would be able to otherwise if the students weren’t barricaded inside.


Although these official concerns have valid logic, there’s no use in trying to imply that they trump the security benefits barricades add to students and workers inside schools – not to mention the psychological impact of barricades putting forward a sense of ease and security to both children and teachers who know that, in case there is a problem, they can simply stay in the classroom and be protected. What do you think?


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Guide to Home Security Hardware

Everyone wants a life free from the risk of burglary or home invasion. At this point in 2016, years of labor have been spent perfecting the various types of security hardware that can protect your home. No amount of well-wishing or camouflaging can replace the essentials of home security, and there’s a wide range of devices that can give you the security you need – from cameras and alarms to keypad locks and biometric scanners. In this blog entry I’ll provide some detail to the various types of security hardware and illustrate some of their benefits and drawbacks.


Keypad Locks

Safeguarding your home has never been easier – with the wide range of technological advancements made in recent years, your family and business can enjoy heightened security, and you can rest soundly. A fantastic tool to ensure the security of your home is a keypad lock. This will prevent any possibility of the lock getting bumped or picked, since these common break-in methods don’t work on these kinds of these keyless locks.

Pros of Keypads

The chief advantage of these locks is that they are 100% bump proof. By using a keypad lock, you can drop the need of having to carry keys everywhere with you, kindly replaced by advanced technology. Simply come up with your own numerical code and you can enter your home easily after entering in the code that you choose. This high end technology is a top choice for major businesses and institutions to protect their own assets.

Cons of Keypads

The biggest disadvantage of using a keypad is that the code can easily be given to other people – this is a risk with children or employees who have access to the code. Another possibility is that burglars can videotape or watch the code from your hand gestures – this can be avoided by employing two keyless locks – like a biometric scanner pared with a keypad.


Home Security Control Panels

There’s many makes and designs for home security control panels that you can choose – they operate as the central communicator and control port for home security systems. This hardware is used in homes as well as businesses, banks, or government institutions. By uniformly controlling alarms, lights, locks and all other systems, control panels ensure that all systems are working in check to avoid any anomalies that might pop up. Many control panels feature sirens and alarms to maintain the private security of any users.


Alarm Sirens

This system sounds a loud alarm in the event of any detected forced entry within the vicinity of the system – many alarm sirens are wired through control panels, but you can also instal seperate ones that run on their own.


Heat Sensors

Most people have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. For those who want to be extra careful to avoid any sort of fire, a heat-detector would be a great pairing with an existing smoke detector. It can quickly and accurately pick up great fluctuations in heat within your home or business (stoves won’t set it off) and automatically sends notification to local firefighters for immediate response. Freeze sensors help monitor the coldness level in a space – in case a window breaks during a snowstorm and you want to be notified so that you can avoid property damage.


Flood Detector

Floods can cause massive property damage. If your home or business is in a flood risk zone, it may pay to install flood detectors in specifically vulnerable areas of your space – This device will notify you if it detects great moisture fluctuations in that area, giving you advanced warning of a flood or leak so that you can minimize any possible property damages.


Outdoor Wireless Cameras

Home motoring shouldn’t be relegated to only the inside of the house. By monitoring any outdoor activities, surveillance cameras can catch, record – as well as discourage any attempted entry – any shifty behavior from trespassers – this can both work to help alert you in safe advance, as well as recording proof to verify damages with any insurance companies after a crime.


Indoor cameras

Many of these cameras are installed via wireless internet connection and allow you to hook into a live camera feed so that you can monitor the inside of your home using your cell phone. Even if you’re hundreds of miles away, you can have a real-time view into your home, allowing you to catch any potential burglars in the at. Since most home invasion crimes occur when inhabitants are on vacation, it’s wise to install indoor cameras to avoid any of these sort of problems.

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Brief History of Locksmiths

history of locksmith

Just as soon as humans assigned importance and value to material objects, they realized the need to keep these objects safe, secure, and protected. This cultural and monetary need allowed for the advent of the invention of locks and keys. The profession of locksmiths, master of the arts of designing, creating, and installing locks and keys, is one of the earliest forms of engineering of security devices and instruments or history.

Beginnings of Locksmiths

In Ancient Babylon and Egypt, around 4000 years ago, locksmiths created wooden tools that utilized the essential principles of pin tumblrs to prevent free movement of the large wooden bar that would hold doors shut. The pins could only be shifted with the use of a very large wooden key (which was made in the shape of a modern toothbrush) that was placed inside the lock and moved upwards, unlocking the door. One of these ancient locks was discovered in an excavation site of the Assyrian Empire, in Khorsabad City near the biblical city of Nineveh. This lock is estimated to have been created around the year 704 BC.

Medieval Metalwork

The origins of locksmithing can be linked to the profession of blacksmithing. Blacksmiths are engineers that work with metallurgy, forging devices out of steel and iron. During the Middle Ages, blacksmiths were tasked with military manufacturing- making tools of war (weaponry, defense items) for their monarch and leaders. As time passed, some blacksmiths with great skill regarding locks and keys decided to specialize in such – this is when locksmithing, as a specific profession, was born. Locksmiths were skilled metalworkers, blessed with the knowledge of shaping metal to their choosing, and the ability to create by hand a wide variety of original pieces to be included in keys, locks – or tools for filing keys and locks.

Industrial Perfection

As the industrial revolution occurred, locksmiths became a absolutely priceless and necessary fixture in society.  After advanced metallurgy was mastered, locks and keys were created to be much more durable and lasting. Many locksmiths were able to customize, and improve on, designs that hadn’t been changed for countless generations, ages. As industrial mass production became mastered, the field of locksmithing began to change. Cheaply manufactured industrial locks took away the business from skilled individual artisans – splitting the profession into three fields – those who repair industrial locks (twiddling with individual pieces or repairing aspects of factory manufactured locks, those who copy keys for civilians who need more of them for personal use, and those who are contracted out for large security companies who design and manufacture massive security vaults for banks, museums, and governments.

Today, most locksmiths work out of a shop – a central studio where they complete all or most of their work. They utilize hardware meant to interact with doors – hinges, frame repairs, closers, etc) as well as making customized security layers for institutions (creating many layers of locks that protect against forced entry,) or work in specialty fields – such as forensic locksmithing (those who determine methods of entry for police investigations,) or automobile lock experts, who specialize in designing and repairing car locks. It’s pretty amazing to consider how much variety, skill, and expertise exists in locksmithing today – it’s been a long ride since Ancient Assyria, but locksmiths remain a necessary staple of any functioning society.

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