Call Now!

Maryland: 301-685-1185
DC: 202-495-0999
Tol Free: 866-824-2160


Service Status:

Entries in Security Tips Category

Outside the House Security

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Security Tips

Sometimes maintaining your security when you’re away from your house is an issue – as even if your home has a highly planned out security infrastructure, you’re not taking the entire spread of this infrastructure with you during your Spring or Summer vacations. Here are some issues gathered by the experts at Top Locksmith relating to maintaining the security of yourself and your property when you are outside of the home.

 

Paying attention to security when you’re out of the house

Whenever we leave the house, we still need to ensure that our belongings are protected. We might just decide to leave your property inside your car, or maybe in a nearby locker. But are they safe in both these places? The same reasoning applies to cruises where belongings are left inside staterooms – to which the entire staff maintains a key. Or perhaps you’re in the middle of moving, and have a great deal of property in a mini storage station. Or, you might be at a school or office, and need to transport valuables with you and leave them somewhat unattended. All of these scenarios represent possible security risks.

 

Addressing these security risks

You need to carefully choose what belongings you take with you when you leave your house. It’s better to take less than more, since if you carry way too much stuff it can be really distracting. Make sure not to leave anything you wouldn’t want to be stolen in locations that aren’t fully secure. Make sure to add any items that are extremely valuable that you may be traveling with to your homeowner’s insurance. Make sure not to flash any of your belongings around in public spots. Always lock up your belongings with padlocks, keep hotel rooms locked, and never leave your gym bag out, or your hotel door propped open on the door bar while you leave briefly. If you’re leaving your hotel room, always use the hotel safe.

 

When you’re back home

When you’re out of the house, your home security is still important. You’re going to want to ensure that when you come home, your entire house is still in the same condition. Trust in our security services to help prepare your home for extended periods of physical absence.

Share Button

Spring Security

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Security Tips

Now that spring is finally in the air, we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate the warm weather. Everyone is eager to make their outdoor plans, with beach weather looming on the horizon. You might be noticing an increase in walking street traffic, or just people hanging outdoors, pumped up to revitalize their daily lifestyles after a cold winter. We can all agree that warm weather is fantastic. However, it can also come with a range of serious security concerns. If you want to keep your residential or commercial property safe during warm weather, it’s essential that you practice good security tactics. A talented residential and commercial locksmith can help ensure that your home remains safe, utilizing some of the below tactics.

 

Spring Cleaning Security Concerns

Spring cleaning is a universal practice where people start to spruce up and revitalize their spaces once the weather starts to heat up. It’s a fantastic practice because not only does it make you feel good in the moment, but it has a whole slew of practical long term benefits. However, there are a number of serious security concerns related to spring cleaning – as the process usually involves the moving of belongings inside and out of your home or businesses, potentially providing a temptation to passing criminals. This is absolutely a risk that should be addressed, even if it sounds overcautious. If you’re trying to keep your home or business secure during your spring cleaning, you might want to follow the below tips:

  • Don’t leave any items alone on the curb without anybody guarding them
  • Place all old or precious items into black plastic garbage bags to mitigate the temptation they might pose to passing criminals
  • Bring older items that you want to dispose of to local charities
  • Don’t put brand new purchase boxes on the curb where people can easily see them

 

General Post Winter Security Upkeep

Locks are vulnerable to general deterioration due to weather. Locks freezing during the winter can cause them to not be as dependable or useable that they were previously. This can pose major security concerns to you and your property. If you’re at all concerned that your locks suffered damage during the previous winter, you should contact the experts at Top Locksmith, who can provide you with the highest quality in lock repair service, or replace locks that are beyond useable with a brand new functional one. Contact us directly to set up an appointment – we recommend doing so during the month of April, before the warm weather really ramps up, and before the burglaries increase as more and more people pass your property on the street – or even leave their property on Spring and Summer breaks.

Share Button

Safe Lockouts

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Safes Installation, Security Tips

There’s many reasons that your safe might not open properly – however, if you are experiencing this frustrating phenomenon, you’re 100% working towards the goal of getting the damn thing back open again! Here’s Top Locksmith’s guide for safe lockouts.

 

What kind of safe do you have?

The first step to do when you’re locked out of your safe is to determine exactly what kind of safe you have. Look for company logos on the front of the safe. If you can’t find this information, look to see if you have any purchase records like receipts for the safe. If this can’t be found, inspect the safe’s size and construction method – there’s a likely chance that it truly is not a safe, but is a lockbox (but in either case, they can be opened by a licensed professional like those at Top.) If you still can’t figure it out, just call a professional – they will be able to.

 

Why are you locked out?

Did you accidentally break off the key in the lock? Did your electronic lock run out of batteries, or did the power go out? Did you lose or forget the code combination? In that case, there might be a reset code in the included manual or receipt (which is an indicator that you could really use a more secure safe!) Other mechanical issues include broken bolts or jammed up internal components in the safe handle. If the handle is spinning like the safe is open but it still won’t it’s likely a bolt issues.

 

Access Methods

Safe Bouncing

If this method works, you should have bought a more secure safe. Basically, in order to bounce a safe, simply strike the top of it while turning the handle at the same time – a motion akin to bumping akey. It will temporarily shock the interior components of the safe into their opening position. The maneuver requires a bit of elbow grease and practiced technique – and any self respecting safe should be able to resist it – but it can work on sub standard or shoddy safes.

 

Overriding the Lock

Override options often exist in small electronic keypad safes – such as hotel room safes that are intended for combination code reset. Sometimes, there’s a factory standard code that can be input to reset the safe – which is often a series of repeating zeros. Make sure to consult the manufacturer to get the correct reset code for your exact model of safe. There might also be openings on the bottom of the safe if it was not properly bolted down that might allow you to access a combination reset switch on the inside of the door – which is a difficult task akin to opening a car door with a wire hanger, but is technically possible. If a safe is not working due to an empty battery or power outage, these methods will not work.

 

Safecracking

This is a difficult task which most people can’t do. However professional locksmiths can open your safe this way as long as the safe is fit with a dial combination lock. For the most part, these methods won’t harm the safe. However if your safe doesn’t have a combination lock, there’s external manipulation based safecracking methods which may harm the safe – but not so direly that it will need to be completely replaced. These methods include drilling a hole into it, and inserting thin tools to manipulate its interior components – which obviously compromises its security, but then again, that’s kind of the point.

Share Button

Power Outage Home Security

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Security Tips

Winter storms can often cause power outages that leaves thousands of residences and businesses without power. Blackouts and power outages are often considered an ideal time to commit burglaries and other crimes that would normally not be attempted under normal power conditions. This is why it’s a smart approach to reinforce your home or business with security standards from Top Locksmith that will keep you safe and protected in the event of a power outage.

 

Lighting and Crime

The darkness that occurs during a power outage can seem incredibly jarring, and when you factor in the increase in crime, burgalry, and looting, it can be quite scary. At Top Locksmith, we maintain a commitment to keeping your residential and commercial locations safe and secure 24/7, including during power outages. Our locksmith can provide you with a range of security options at an affordable price that will protect your location during any form of power outage, including:

  • Digital and Biometric Locks
  • High Security Deadbolts
  • Security Systems
  • CCTV Systems

 

  • Safes
  • Buzzers
  • Wireless Locks with Extended Backup Battery

 

24/7 Service

If your home or business experiences a break-in during a power outage, Top Locksmith’s experts can be on site within 20 minutes to rectify any security flaws in your system that may have allowed a burglary to occur. We will provide a free security consultation and full inspection to analyze every aspect of your property that can use extra protection. We think nobody should feel uneasy inside their home or business, even during power outages, and by working with a professional company like Top Locksmith you can feel safe 24/7, no matter what happens.

 

Staying Prepared for Power Outages

Aside from enlisting the expert service of Top Locksmith, if you experience a power outage or blackout, we recommend sticking to following these easy tips:

  • Always keep a convenient bag filled with blackout supplies including: flashlights, blankets, a battery powered radio, candles, food, water, and a first aid kit.
  • Make sure your vehicle is always fully fueled, and make sure to conserve whatever fuel you do have.
  • Consider purchasing a backup electric generator in order to keep certain essentials plugged in and running.
  • Make sure that you have options for charging your phone including external power banks or even a car charger.
Share Button

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.

Share Button

Types of Security Safes

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Safes Installation, Security Tips

security-safe-types

There’s many kinds of security safes available on the market today for both residential and commercial use. Based on what your specific context is, you can choose security safes with additional features like fireproofing, or choose a more simple layout. Here’s a guide to some of the many main categories of security safes on the market today.

Office Safes

Safes in commercial office locations can vary from different sizes or exact functionality, based on the needs of the business. Some safes are massive and can hold large quantities of cash, important sensitive documents, electronic equipment, or other valuable items. Some other commercial locations may opt for a somewhat smaller safe that can hold day to day earnings.

 

Wall Safes

Wall safes, as you may have inferred, go inside the walls of residential or commercial locations. They protect all valuables or important documents safe from burglars, but they should also be officially rated as protecting them from water and fire, in the event of a fire or flood. Once you decide on the ideal size and specific features that you need, you should consult with a professional safe installer regarding the best location inside your home or business to install the safe. It’s common to place a picture, art, or furniture over the face of the safe in order to disguise it from unknowing passersby.

 

Fireproof Safes

Fireproof safes vary in terms of their heat ratings – based on how long the contents of the safe and it’s internal temperature can resist growing beyond 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Fireproof safes are rated on a scale of 1 to 3, numbers which demonstrate how many hours it’s inside will stay below 350 degrees in the event of a fire.

 

Gun Safes

These safes are meant to prevent unwanted people from having access to guns that are kept inside residences or businesses. They are available in a wide range of sizes that can accommodate many different firearms, from small pistols to big shotguns. The locking mechanisms on these safes vary wildly, and can include combo locks, deadbolts, electronic codes locks, or even biometric locks. The majority of high quality gun safes also boast fireproof ratings.

Share Button

Beach Safety and Security

Beach

While the beach is one of the most relaxing locations for almost everyone, it’s still really important to be aware of your personal belongings while you’re enjoying the surf and sun. Burglars definitely commonly take advantage of the relaxed state that many people are in when they visit the beach, commonly swiping and stealing wallets, purses, or entire backpacks. In this blog entry, I’ll provide a guide to the essentials of beach security – by familiarizing yourself on what to watch out for, and what to be aware of you will greatly mitigate the chances that you might become the victim of beach theft.

 

Protecting your Belongings

  • Don’t leave your belongings unattended, or in plain open site when you’re at the beach. If you’re leaving anything inside your car, leave it inside the trunk just to be safe.
  • Bring as little valuables with you as possible. Jewelry or expensive cameras should be left at home – or if you’re on vacation, put them inside your hotel safe.) When you’re at the beach all you really need to take is your ID, whatever cash you might need throughout the day, and your credit card.
  • If you’re going to the beach alone, get a waterproof pouch for your phone and cash that you can take out swimming with you. Make sure to test that it works before trying it with your phone.
  • If you’re just taking a quick dip and don’t want to carry your things with you, consider cleaning out an empty sunscreen bottle and filling it with your keys, cash, cards, or anything that you don’t want to bring in the water with you.
  • Don’t carry an expensive looking or blatantly designer backpack or beach bag.

 

Protect Your Body

  • Make sure to look at the tide before you go in the water. Rip currents are indicated by brown water (from the sand being moved), heavy debris floating out towards the ocean, and a patch of extreme ripples with calm water all around it. If you get caught in a riptide, swim towards it’s side to escape it rather quickly – never swim against it.
  • Inflatable toys aren’t the safest on the beach, so if you’re using them make sure that someone is looking out for you.
  • Make sure to stay hydrated and use a waterproof sunscreen with broad UV spectrum protection – at least an SPF 30.

 

Familiarize yourself with your Vacation Environment

  • If you’re going to a beach you’ve never been before or one in a foreign country, make sure to understand the local customs. In Brazil, for example, people don’t bring towels to the beach. They use Brazillian sarongs to lay on the sand. If you don’t want to draw attention to the fact you’re a tourist, leave the towel at your hotel.
  • Make sure to be on your best and clearest level of judgement and awareness if you visit the beach after dark – and make sure to take the advice of any locals who recommend avoiding certain areas.
  • Always observe local customs as to appropriate public dress and behavior while you’re on the beach. Two-Piece bikinis, while considered fine in many areas, are totally taboo in some countries, and wearing one will draw a lot of negative attention. Make sure to research the beach you’re going to before you stake your shore spot.
Share Button