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Locksmith in Bristol - Our blog

29 January 2012

After a busy evening of lockouts, plus a couple of very childish prank calls, today's blog post is only going to be short.

Two customers last night both mentioned they'd used other locksmiths in the past, both from what they thought were local companies offering a professional service. In Bristol, apart from us obviously, there are a number of very decent and professional locksmiths. Unfortunately, the good guys are out-numbered by people who frankly do not have a clue. At one job last night, the previous 'locksmith' had used a crowbar to force the wooden door open, severely damaging both the door and the frame in the process. The customer really wasn't very pleased with the previous 'locksmith' when she saw how cleanly and easily I gained entry.

 

25 January 2012
I mentioned in the previous entry that burglars are increasingly turning to more covert means of entry in order to carry out burglaries. These are by no-means new occurrences as most of the simple tools and techniques used have been around for years, even decades. The reason they are still effective is that householders are generally ignorant of the problems and how to solve them, plus a generous amount of complacency that it'll never be them that is burgled.

For uPVC doors, the weaknesses fall into 3 main areas. In order of how commonly they are used in burglaries:
1) Fixed external handles - if you just pull your uPVC door shut and rely on the outside handle not operating the latch then you are very likely to find yourself burgled one night (or day). When the door is just shut like this, it is not locked and there are several ways for a quick, quiet entry into your house. Talking to the local Avon & Somerset CSI's over the years, they've regularly said that these types of uPVC doors are actively targeted by thieves. Unfortunately, you're also likely to find that your insurance company won't pay out for any loss as the property was left unsecured.

What you can do about it: Start deadlocking the door every time you close it. And remove the keys from the lock, keeping them well out of view from the front door or a window. A locking key cabinet is ideal protection and relatively cheap at around £25. You could also upgrade your door lock mechanism to one that is more secure for a much more comprehensive solution.

2) Protruding lock cylinders - if the outside part of the lock barrel where you put your key sticks out further than a few mm then you've had the wrong size fitted, which looks messy but more importantly exposes you to a quick, almost silent and very un-nerving form of burglary. There's more information on our website here - lock snapping.

What can you do about it: Firstly, you only need to replace the lock barrel and here you have two options: fitting a standard cylinder that is the correct length for around £60, or fit a cylinder that is the right length but has built-in resistance to snapping. Typically we fit the Cisa Astral S which is a very high quality lock for around £95. Other options are available depending on budget. It's also a very good idea to fit security handles to the door to add strength and cover access to the cylinder, costing around £60 to £75.

3) Old uPVC Door Lock Mechanisms - Almost all modern uPVC door lock mechanisms, which sit behind the handle and run the length of the door edge, have a 5 point locking system with at least 2 hook bolts or deadbolts. The reason is that plastic doors have a remarkable amount of flexibility in them which can be exploited by burglars. The technique they use works best on older style doors that just have a central latch and bolt and up to 4 rollers on the door edge. These are really known as compression rollers and they don't provide direct security, their purpose is to compress the door into the frame to stop draughts.

What can you do about it: Check that your door lock has at least 2 hook bolts that come out of the door edge. If not, then you really need to upgrade as soon as possible. You don't need a new door (unless you want one!) as a skilled locksmith can match a modern lock to an older door without too much alteration.

23 January 2012
I was reading on the Mul-T-Lock Twitter feed that the latest British Crime Survey has pointed out what I and many other Locksmiths had noticed over the last year: our economic climate is clearly linked to the crimes being committed. Initially it's a bit paradoxical that while the reported burglary figures for Avon & Somerset show a decline in the number of burglaries, the number of burglaries that we attend is rising. One reason is that the numbers of traditional forced entries is falling: fewer doors are being kicked in, less windows broken. Unfortunately that means less destructive, quieter techniques are being employed: latches are slipped, keys are retrieved or handles pulled through letterboxes, locks are snapped open or lock picks and bump keys are found. I've seen every single one of those, and more not suitable for a public blog, in the last year.

So why are more people calling a Locksmith in Bristol after a burglary if there are less burglaries now?

The answer is that it is also my experience that the number of thieves taking house and car keys during a burglary is also increasing.

There are several theories about why thieves will take your keys away with them:
* They 'letterbox fished' for the keys to gain entry in the first place

* Entering the property through a window means getting your property and themselves out is much less convenient than opening a door and carrying out a greater haul. Burglars will often 'stockpile' your goods by the front or back door ready to go when they've done a thorough search. Regardless of whether you are asleep upstairs or not by the way.

* They take keys, especially spares, because they hope you won't notice or won't bother, and can therefore come back at a later date once goods have been replaced.

* More and more properties are being broken into SPECIFICALLY because of the car parked on the drive. Taking the keys for a car is almost essential now if the thieves intend to move it, especially when exported abroad. Anything valuable and portable taken from your house is purely a bonus for the thieves.

What can the ordinary house owner or tenant do about this?

Firstly, be pro-active about your own security. Change and upgrade your locks as soon as possible - the best thing to do is call us for a free security consultation but you can do a lot of the groundwork yourself too by checking if your deadlocks (often called Chubb locks) meet the latest British Standard BS3621:2007 and have the BSI Kitemark on the door edge. Windows are often attacked first in a burglary so window locks, either externally on wood or internally on uPVC double glazed, should be key lockable and deadlock in position.

Consider an external letterbox and blocking off the convenient flap in your door.

If you've got a basic Yale-type nightlatch then it's time to upgrade as these offer zero protection from burglary. Again look for the latest British Standard BS3621:2007 kitemark on the door edge.

As ever, we at Liberty Secure Locksmiths are always willing to provide as much expertise as we can in order to keep you and your property safe.

 


Every day in Bristol a car is stolen using the owners keys


Increases in vehicle security mean that it is very hard to steal a car with out the key. Instead criminals are breaking into homes just to steal the keys.

The reality is that over 99% of houses in Bristol have at least one major security flaw that will enable a quick silent entry in order to take car keys and property.

To combat this we are now offering a high security package to protect your home from forced entry and also to protect your car on the driveway.

Car Safe Package £1599
Was £1899 - save £300

Includes everything below, complete with all fitting & no hidden charges.

· Every external door lock replaced with high security locks—from a selection of Bramah, Banham, Kaba, Ingersoll, Chubb M3, and Abloy

· Very high security locks

· Uncopyable keys

· Highly Drill & force resistant

· “Bump-key” proof

· Anti-snap / anti-torque cylinders

· uPVC door locks replaced with ‘Sold Secure’ upgrades

· Security film fitted to single-glazed ground floor windows and glass panes in doors

· Helps stop windows being broken

· Key-operated Window locks fitted

  •      Code operated key safe: locks your keys away out of sight

· Door reinforcements fitted

· London & Birmingham bars stop door being kicked in

· Anti-jemmy shields fitted to prevent crow bar attacks

· Lock-guards reinforce keyholes

· Letterbox security cowl to prevent "letterbox fishing"

· Hinge bolts to strengthen door frame

· Spyhole fitted

· Door chain with integrated bolt

· High-security padlocks and hasps fitted to side / rear gates etc

  •      Folding or fixed parking posts fitted into your drive or in front of your garage door

Add CCTV and Intruder Alarms for extra security
Available from £399

 

Liberty Secure Locksmiths, your local professional locksmiths, call us on Freephone 0800 88 24 132 to massively reduce the risk to your home, your vehicle and possessions now!

We are also always available 24hrs everyday to help with any locksmith or home security issues.