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Types of Safes

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Locksmith Services

Types of Safes

The majority of people consider their door locks as being the single element of home security, but they don’t often consider the way that safes can effectively protect their valuables. Safes are effective in both residential and commercial settings, and are available in both cheap and expensive varieties. Here, as prepared by the safe experts at Top Locksmith, is a brief guide to the different types of safes and what they do.


Diversion Safes

This is the most rudimentary type of safe available. It’s often called a hidden safe as it’s usually made of a typical object like a can, a candle, or a book. Valuables can be hidden inside these clandestine safes and stored inconspicuously in plain sight – on a bookshelf for example.


Fire Resistant Safes

These safes protect items from high temperatures, and are rated according to the amount of time that they can withstand extreme temperatures while never exceeding a particular internal temperature, that’s usually up to 350 degrees. These safes often have a 30 minute to 240 minute amount of fire protection, and are even more effective when they are installed inside concrete floors. However, these safes aren’t always watertight, and can fill up with the water from fire hoses or sprayers, so everything stored inside fire resistant safes should be placed inside double zip dry bags or sealed plastic containers.


Wall Safes

These are usually used to hide and protect jewelry or documents, and can be installed in different wall thickness depths. Some have pry resistant doors that are recessed and have concealed hinges, and these safes can easily be hidden by covering them with furniture or a painting.


Jewelry Safes

These safes are resistant to both fire and burglary, and are usually equipped with luxurious internal jewellery compartments with fine wood and fabric that are available in multiple customizable configurations. These safes are typically smaller than others.


Burglary Resistant Safes

These safes get rated based on their ability to resist the tools that burglars typically use in a break in, and the amount of time it would normally take a burglar to get to the safe – however, they are not designed to withstand heat in the same way that a fire resistant safe is.


Environmentally Resistant Safes

These safes are resistant to specific environmental elements like dust and water, and unlike fireproof safes, they can withstand long underwater immersion without affecting the important objects inside.


Fire Resistant Record Protectors

These self contained bodies are insulated and contain singular or multiple separately rated containers with different compartments meant for the safekeeping of important records. They are rated based on criteria including impact resistance and falling distance tests.


Smart Safes

These safes are designed to validate bills or dispense cash like ATM machines, allowing customers to use them at their choice or convenience, creating the environment for a secure financial transaction.

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Locksmith Cash Saving Tips

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Lockout Services, Locksmith Tips

Everyone loves to save money, and the expert locksmiths at Top are always seeking new ways to help our valued customers save cash. Here’s a few of our tips.


  • Get a spare key before you need to get one.

If you ever lose your keys, you’re always going to think about all the missed opportunities you had to create a spare key when it was still convenient. Now, it’s not going to be as easy as simply getting an existing key copied. So while you do have your home, business, ro car keys, make sure to call your local locksmith to create a duplicate so you can always have a spare on hand in case the original breaks or is lost. Getting a key copied or duplicated costs a fraction of what it costs to have a locksmith create a brand new key for you.

  • Try getting locks rekeyed rather than completely changed.

For amateur locksmiths, who rely on misinformation, it’s somewhat easier to change locks completely, rather than simply rekeying them. THis is the way they get to charge customers extra money, for unnecessary services. Rekeying basically consists of replacing a lock’s inner cylinder to allow for a new key to be used along with it, rendering previous keys not working – and for the experts at Top locksmith, this is a simple, efficient, and (luckily for our customers!) both cheap and effective operation.

  • Keep Locks Well Maintained.

If a lock is sticking, simply spray a little WD-40 in it, and slide the key in and out of it, and it will likely be good as new. There’s many ways that you can keep locks operating well all by yourself.

  • Save Cash on Surveillance.

If you’re looking to deter any potential trespassers or burglars, hang up a surveillance sign or consider installing a surveillance camera that looks 100% authentic, including motion and a blinking light. Motion activated cameras, if you do opt to install a real one, are often the most ideal balance between affordability and effectiveness.

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Programming Car Keys

carkeys programming in DC

When it comes to home security, it never hurts to be prepared. One of the smartest things that you can do is to constantly maintain the possession of a spare key for your vehicle – a tactic that’s not often thought of as an essential precaution.

Transponder Chips

It’s not quite as simple as walking into your local Maryland or Washington D.C. hardware store to get an instant key copy, since almost all cars today are built with transponder keys. These transponders are made up of a small electronic chip which provides a signal to the computer system inside the car, allowing the engine to be turned on. The majority of hardware stores are unable to make duplicates of car keys, since the programming of transponders requires specific professional technology that isn’t readily available to casual consumers. This is why it’s important to have the contact information for a trustworthy and professional local automotive locksmith, like Top Locksmiths.


Duplicating Car Keys

Car key duplicates furnished at hardware stores might be able to open up the doors of your car, but most likely will not be able to start your vehicle’s engine. The only way that the copied key will be able to work in sync with your vehicle’s on board computer is if it gets programmed by a professional locksmith. The professional automotive locksmiths at Top are fully equipped with the necessary technology and computer equipment to match programmable car keys to their respective vehicles. While this is a common procedure, if one seeks it out from someone else besides a professional automotive locksmith, it can be quite expensive for the consumer – since the programming computer program is costly, and there’s also a price attached to the code which is provided by the vehicle’s manufacturer. Trustworthy local locksmiths can provide this service at a fraction of the price that one would get charged at a local automobile dealership.


Depending on the type of key that you’re copying (luxury car keys are usually priced at somewhat higher of a level) you may pay anywhere from 50 to 160 dollars. This is the general price for key copying; so if you’ve lost all versions of the keys you need, a locksmith will be able to make you a copy from scratch – but it may come at slightly higher of a price tag. The best way to avoid this expense is to make copies of your existing keys before you lose them, so that you always have a spare on hand in case you ever misplace or lose one.

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Locksmith Scams

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Locksmith Scams, Locksmith Services


Living in a large city like Baltimore, Bethesda, or Annapolis has it’s benefits – there’s tons of culture, and you can find almost any service that you need whenever you need it. That being said, finding an emergency locksmith at all hours of the night should be no problem at all – however, finding a trustworthy locksmith is a bit more tricky. Recently, scam locksmith companies have been swindling their customers out of their hard earned money, by overpricing their services in a method similar to highway robbery. Top Locksmiths is one of the few trustworthy and reputable locksmiths in Maryland that guarantee you legitimacy, professionalism, and a fair price. Since there’s tons of fake locksmiths out there today, it’s best to study the following tips so you can know how to spot them and protect yourself.


Always check the name and address

If you’ve performed a search for a locksmith company, and the one you’ve found doesn’t have a listed address, keep on looking. This is an initial red flag that signals the illegitimacy of their business. If they have an address online, search it with a maps application – we suggest using Google Street View to look at the physical address – if it looks like an abandoned building or an empty lot, it’s likely the locksmith is a scam operation.


Always get a Quote

A reputable locksmith will be able to provide you a quote over the phone once you explain to them your situation and what sort of service you require. A locksmith who has experience should be able to give you an over the phone estimate before they arrive – and if they can’t it’s likely that it’s a scam – and you shouldn’t continue talking to them. Of course, if they provide you a strangely high or low quote amount,c all a few other locksmiths to see what the average cost for that service is – so you know whether or not they are trying to scam you.


Always ask the name of the Technician

Make sure to ask the locksmith, when you’re speaking with them over the phone, what the name of the technician who will be deployed to your location is. This is a simple request which should be very easy to answer – and if they can’t give you the name of the technician, you should find another locksmith. If you decide to work with them – once the technician arrives, ask them for identification before they start any work, and make sure to identify some form of company logo on the vehicle that they arrive in.


Take a close look at their Website

A great way of finding out if a locksmith is legitimate or a scam is by simply looking at their company website. If it’s very basic, without any information, it’s likely a fake locksmith. Search for information like contact addresses and numbers, and inspect their service pages to make sure it looks somewhat professional before you give them a call.


If you’re still unsure if the company is legitimate, why not drop all the worries and give Top Locksmith a call! We give our customers the ultimate in professional expert service, with incredibly fast response times, and a level of efficiency only available due to our rampant expertise.

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Pet Safety

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Locksmith Services

pet safety

Security doesn’t always apply to preventing burglaries; sometimes it applies to keeping pets securely in your property. Your pets are their most safe when they remain in your home – although many animals have wild instincts, the common cats and dogs are domesticated and cannot survive by themselves in the world. Of course, the pet security protocols will vary based on what pet you have, where your home is, what your schedule is, etc… – if you have more than one pet, you’ll need to have multiple levels of security. In this blog post, I’ll detail some of the ways that you can make your home safe for your animal companions as well as yourself.



Depending on what kind of pet you have, there may be more or less of an escape risk. Most animals can slip in between spaces in fences – so you need to make sure that your fences are high enough to prevent jumping, doesn’t have too large of a gap at the base, and can’t be digged out from under. Most fences require a bit of experimentation and trial and error.

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What to expect when calling a locksmith


When you call a locksmith, you want to ensure that you’re getting the best service possible. In this blog entry I’ll detail exactly what to expect in regards to process when calling a locksmith for any sort of service.


The initial Request

You have a problem and you want to solve it. You call the locksmith and ask for help – the call will usually be taken by the Locksmith’s main office, which acts as a deployer and dispatch for the company. The central service division will ask you what your location is, what sort of service you need, and your contact information.


Dispatch of Service

The central office will contact a manager for your area, who will be given your information. They will then select a local technician and send them directly to your location.


Technician Update

The technician sent to your home or business will call the customer, letting them know their estimated time of arrival. This lets the customer know how fast the process of the repair should take. Any additional information regarding the requested service will be discussed.


Security Assessment

The technician will arrive and professionally introduce himself to the client. They will then inspect the lock, and provide an assessment of exactly what the necessary steps that should be taken are. They will inform the customer of the right course of action, and together they will set a price. The customer will be then presented with a receipt that they need to sign in order to agree to the service and the charge.


The Locksmithing Work

Here’s where the meat of the process takes place. The time it will take to complete this process will range on what the service and situation is – during this process the technician will make sure not to damage any aspect of the home, business, or vehicle (besides cases where destructive entry is requested – like in lockouts that require a lock change.) However, this sort of entry is only utilized as a last resort, when there’s another way of entering the home, business, or vehicle.


Completion of Payment

The job is completed, and the customer will assess the success of the service. Then the locksmith will collect payment for the job which can usually be paid in either cash or credit. THen the technician simply gathers their equipment and leaves, on their way to help the next individual in need of expert locksmith intervention.

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Suitcase / Luggage Security Tips

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Locksmith Services


When you’re traveling, you can’t be too safe with your luggage. TSA employees have been known to rifle through and steal from luggage – not to mention shifty fellow passengers. Since paranoia isn’t a great way to start a vacation, it’s a much better idea to make sure to adopt a collection of security strategies in order to have peace of mind in knowing your luggage is secure.

Keep all your things together

Keep your important stuff together in a sealed Ziploc bag, or a dedicated pocket that you will never veer from. The benefits of having a single location for your valuables is helpful because it will allow you to make sure you have all your important belongings quickly, rather than having to rifle through them and possibly missing something.


Announce what you’re giving over temporarily to security

Before handing a wallet, or any bag over to a gate or security employee, make sure to announce “this is my bag, it contains my money, cards, etc..” – if they hear you mention you know exactly what’s in the bag, they will be much less willing to take the risk of possibly stealing from you.


Always carry a credit card and your ID

These are the essential items that can save you in the unfortunate (and unlikely- if you follow these tips!) event of a robbery or theft. Almost anything else is replaceable, but a credit card and ID will allow you to find shelter, housing, or additional flights to go back home. While we’re at it, keep your cell phone on your body at all times.


Keep your cash and wallet in your carry on bag

Keep your wallet as deeply inside your carry on bag as possible so that the only way any theif could find it would be to thoroughly and conspicuously search and remove items from your bag.


Wear all jewelry and/or expensive watches on your body

If you’re traveling with any jewelry or wearable heirlooms make sure to wear it on your body at all times. Don’t trust anyone including airport employees to behave according to the law if they find a small – but incredibly precious – ring or necklace. By keeping valuables on your body at all times, you’re ensuring their protection.

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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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