Autumn Home Security Checklist

security checklist autumn

Often as nights become darker there is a rise in opportunistic burglaries, therefore we have created a checklist containing some simple steps you can take to improve your home security.

Check you locks

Make sure all exterior doors and windows are locking correctly. If you have any problems call a locksmith to either service or replace your locks.

So, how can you check your locks to see if they are working correctly?

  • Testing it – if you don’t use a lock in your house often, your back garden door for instance, it is best to check every now and then that they still work and are in good condition. Also make sure to regularly check your most used locks and call a locksmith if anything seems out of the ordinary. Not only will this help prevent a burglary, it could help you spot a fault before it breaks completely potentially leaving you locked out or in!

  • Cleaning your lock– carefully cleaning your lock to remove any dirt can be vital as it can prevent the inner mechanism sticking.

  • Upgrade worn or damaged locks –locks will occasionally get damaged due to weather conditions, burglary attempts or wear and tear. In all of these cases it is always best to have them replaced.

  • Install additional locks – in addition to your basic lock, why not add some extra security to your door like a chain or a sash jammer? If you have a wooden door, having both a Yale type lock and a mortice will help increase security.

  • Call a Locksmith – while there are some steps you can take to check your locks, if you are concerned at all about them, or if they are not working correctly, it is always best to call a professional locksmith.

Check your outdoor lights

Outdoor lights ensure there are no dark areas for unwanted visitors to hide, and having fully functioning outdoor lights will help deter a burglar during the darker nights.

There are many different types of outdoor lights. Smart lighting (often called motion sensors lighting), is one of them and is quite often recommended. Besides convenience, smart lighting has many other benefits for security:

  • Saving energy – instead of having to turn lights on all night when not needed, a smart light only comes on when someone passes by, conserving energy.

  • Deter burglars– it can help prevent a burglary as it draws attention to your home, and they can no longer hide under the cover of darkness.

  • Long life span – these lights often come with a long life span meaning they are a good investment.

It is a well-known statistic that most burglaries in the UK happen during the day. What most people don’t know is that statistic relates to a break in and does not take into account the exterior of your property. When it comes to outdoor burglary, this usually happens from 6 pm to 6 am, so we advise investing in some kind of security lighting to help prevent this. Although most burglaries do happen during the day, some do still occur at night so security lighting will also protect you from this.

Arm your security system

It is important to have your home protected at all times, therefore invest in a top quality home security system, or ensure your own system is functioning correctly.

There are many reasons to invest in a home security system for your house, including protecting your valuables, deterring crime, allowing house remote access, lowering your home insurance and giving an overall peace of mind when it comes to the safety and security of your household.

Evaluate your exterior

Trimming shrubs and bushes will eliminate places for burglars to hide. Raking leaves, mowing the lawn and keeping the front of your house tidy in general, will indicate that someone is home even if you are absent.

Secure your shed

Once summer ends it is likely your garden equipment will go into hibernation all winter, therefore it is essential to make sure they are stored properly and securely as these could be used by burglars to break into your house. There are many ways that you can help secure your shed.

  • Windows – we suggest avoiding having windows in your shed as it could let whoever is looking see if it’s worth breaking in to. If you already have windows, it could be worth applying a film or spray on them to avoid seeing through them.

  • Position – don’t place your shed somewhere that you can’t see properly; a burglar will definitely find it a better opportunity to break in if it is in a secluded spot in your garden.

  • Lights – smart lighting is also suggested for a shed to act as a burglar deterrent.

  • Alarm – another suggestion is to add an alarm to your shed, this will again help deter a burglar but also alert you if someone is attempting to break-in to your shed. Even a dummy alarm can help in these circumstances, as most burglars will not attempt just in case it is a real alarm.

Safety first!

The start of the colder months means fireplaces and heating will be turned on, therefore it is crucial to ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are still working correctly.

Keep your eye out for even more great advice from the National Home Security Month’s website and social media channels!

To download our Autumn security checklist click here!

Need a Locksmith?

There is nothing that can make your house 100% secure, but by taking some simple measures you can help deter thieves. Look out for sturdy doors and windows or consider replacing them when they are old and worn. Having the locks changed is one of the BEST things you can do to protect your new home.

Hiring a professional Locksmith to fit these is the only way to be sure that your locks are insurance compliant. Keytek® offer a free home security check with every job we do, so if you book us in for the day you move we can appraise your home and give you our best advice on how to keep the burglars away. Talk to the Locksmith about anti-snapping locks and any other doors you need securing such as a garage, gate, or shed as our professional Engineers carry a wide variety of locks on every job.

Further reading:

The Reality of Home Insurance Requirements

Spring home security checklist 

Bluff the Burglar 

The Best Smart Locks For 2022

The traditional key and lock might soon be phased out through the invention of the increasingly popular smart door lock. It is now possible for you to enter your home with a simple push of a button, a swipe of a card or even your phone!

Here at Keytek® we are taking a look at the best smart door locks you can get that will help you secure your home, protect your valuables and overall make your security more intelligent, prompt and effortless.

 

What are smart door locks?

A smart door lock is an electronic and/or mechanical lock that can open wirelessly with the authorisation of users. Most smart door locks take away the need for a traditional key but rather can grant users entry through their Smartphone or a key fob.

 

Types of smart door locks

The most common mean of entry includes keypads, biometric or Bluetooth.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID locks allow for entry by using a key fob or key card; much like the system that is used in hotels.

Bluetooth Enabled Locks

Some locks which can operate using Bluetooth will detect your Smartphone’s Bluetooth ID and can open when you approach.

Keypads and Touch Screens

Early smart door locks used keypads as means of entry, offering the user to set up a unique pin code to gain access. Newer smarts locks have replaced keypads with touch screens with panels instead of buttons, for sleeker design and increased security.

Biometric Entry

Biometric entry smart door locks use fingerprint identification to operate the lock. This is now operating on most current Smartphones.

 

Are smart door locks really better?

The biggest benefits of smart door locks are that they are configurable and can be more secure than the traditional key and lock. With digital locks they can be changed at any moment, should you think that someone has gained the code for your home or stolen a key fob, you can disconnect, reprogram, or wipe any potential security risk within a matter of minutes. Likewise if you would like to give someone temporary access, you would be able to allow someone access to your home but maintain that you have complete control over who is coming in and out of your home.

However, nothing comes without flaws. Smart door locks aren’t better when it comes to an expert hacker. In fact, most smart locks have at least one vulnerability that exposes them to hacking. Some vulnerable features for the smart locks that put them in risk are the following:

  • The device buzzing
  • Plain text passwords
  • APK files decompiling
  • Replay attacks

Are all smart door locks keyless?

Different models of smart door locks will come with different features. Many of these digital locks come with a manual key override in case of fault or emergency. However, some models have committed completely to being keyless and do not have a keyway.

 

Why doesn’t everyone have a smart lock?

Similar to all new technology, it can take a while for people to completely trust in this new type of product. The advantage of the traditional key lock is that you know it is going to work, is going to secure your home and most of all you know how to operate it.

One potential downside there might be with smart door locks is the unknown. What will you do if it doesn’t work, how will I enter my house, can they be hacked to gain entry? These are all questions that someone is bound to have when thinking of making the technological change. However, do keep in mind that as they become more popular, processes and procedures will become more common knowledge.

 

What do you need to consider when buying a smart door lock in 2022?

With the start of the new decade there are some things that you may want to consider whilst you shop around for your new smart lock to make sure it is the best model for you.

How smart is it?

Different versions of smart lock will hold different features; all of which will aim to make your life easier. Before buying a smart lock you should consider what features you would like, for example, you can get models that sense when you are approaching the door so will automatically unlock the door for you.

Replace or Retrofit?

Some models require you to completely replace the mechanism within your door where as others can simply be retro-fitted over your existing lock. Retrofitting models can often be installed without professional help and can take only a few minutes whereas models that require replacing your existing lock will most likely need to be installed by a professional.

Smart Home Integration

The ideal smart lock would be easily paired to other smart home devices such as an Alexa, Google Assistant or Homekit for a fully immersive smart experience. Depending on the model, make and brand of smart lock, you should consider what smart objects you might already have and how you would like for them all to interconnect.

Alternative Entry Means

Some smart door locks will come with a manual key override built into the lock should the keyless technology fail, whereas others may have multiple ways of access for example through keypads, key fobs or a fingerprint system. Having multiple ways of access would mean that should there be an issue with one method of access you would still be able to open your door. When buying your smart lock consider what options you will have should your lock fail and what different options of access each model offers.

 

What are the disadvantages of smart locks?

  1. Hacking

Cyber-attacks occur on a regular basis. If your smart lock is connected to the internet, it is just as vulnerable to hacking as your Wi-Fi. Smart lock manufacturers are beginning to recognise the significance of this and are prioritising cyber-attack resistance. This is one of the reasons to get a name brand smart lock rather than a knockoff cheap one, which leads to the following point, the cost.

  1. Cost

In order to get a good smart lock brand, it will be more expensive than getting a normal traditional lock. It is important to consider how much a suitable smart lock will cost you along with the pros and cons of installing it.

  1. Lost/stolen phone

Have you ever had your phone stolen from you? Or even lost it somewhere and never remembered where it was? Your phone makes a smart lock vulnerable. Because your phone is the key, anyone who has access to it has access to not only your personal information, such as text messages and emails, but also an open door to your entire house.

  1. Batteries

Smart locks, unlike ordinary locks and like any smart device, are battery-powered solutions, and we all know how batteries die. This is one warning to which you should pay close attention. If the smart lock indicates that the battery is low, replace it immediately or risk getting locked out.

 

What are the best smart door locks for 2022?

Best Overall: Schlage Z-Wave Camelot Deadbolt

£214.76 from Amazon

A good smart lock may make a huge difference in terms of securing your property in a safe and advantageous manner. This smart lock provides the highest level of security while also distinguishing the ways in which you can lock and unlock the device. This smart lock does more than just give you a lock. From simple keys and codes to 24/7 remote monitoring and control, the Schlage Z-Wave comes at top of the list and overall best.

The Schlage Z-Wave Camelot Deadbolt is a smart lock that combines the best of old and new in a single unit that is easy to install. The lock can be accessed using a keycode, keys, or remote association, and features a touch screen keypad with an implicit alert. It may be expensive compared to many smart locks, but it is well designed and works very well with wireless remote controlling.

 

Best Price: Kwikset Smartcode

£118.52 from Amazon

If you’re looking for a simple way to secure your home every night, smart locks may appear to be too expensive to consider. Generally, there are a lot of budget-friendly options that will provide you with equal levels of security and comfort as the more expensive options.

If you don’t mind foregoing the advanced accessibility characteristics of more expensive locks, the Kwikset SmartCode deadbolt is an excellent way to add smart security to your home. The lock may be opened with a standard key, a keycode, or a bright key that detects the jolt and opens it. Even though it has an old design which is not favourable by many people, it is durable, affordable, and works best with connectivity.

 

Best Aesthetic: Yale Conexis L1

£185.99 from Amazon

This smart lock is the most attractive and discrete model on our list and with all of the different finishes you are sure to find the right colour to fit within your home. Looking like the regular ‘lift and lock’ handles that are commonly seen on uPVC doors, the Yale Conexis L1 is designed to work with existing multi-point locks by replacing the handle and cylinder of the existing lock.

The general functionality of this lock is basic but effective; with the use of the app or a RFID tag you can easily open the door. And as a massive benefit, Yale have designed RFID tags that can be attached to almost anything such as the back of your phone(should you not want to use the app), your bag or even a watch, meaning that with one swipe of a RFID enhanced item you can gain access to your home. Although no external keyway on the door there is a thumb turn internally for easy locking and unlocking once indoors. A downside to this smart door lock however is that it cannot connect to other smart home objects without the use of a Z-Wave module, this optional module (costing approximately £60) will allow the Conexis L1 to connect a SmartThings system.

In summary, we have now only started to see the wonders that using smart technology can do for us, and the ease that it brings. Not only will smart locks give you complete remote control over your door security but they also can come with a wide range of features such as, smart home integration capabilities and forced entry alarms that give you peace of mind that your home is safe.

How do celebrities protect their homes?

Celebrities Homes

There have been various cases over the years of celebrity houses being broken into. It makes sense; they are well known to have a lot of money, making them a target for thieves. With advancements in smart security happening quickly, many of the rich and famous have plashed the cash on the most up to date way to protect their homes.

Harry Styles

Harry Styles has recently been the victim of a stalker, so has felt the need to upgrade his home security. Reports say that his has installed smart locks, alarms and cameras in his London home that give him an alert whenever they sense movement. The star has also reportedly purchased the houses surrounding his home, in bid to create a ‘fortress of security’ having been so shaken by the incident. The hit maker is often seen in the company of a 7-foot body guard, so it seems like he takes his personal security as seriously as he takes his home security.

Jack Grealish

After a spate of high-profile footballers being targeted by home invaders, the England player has become the most recent in a long line of footballers splashing out on a £25,000 security dog. These dogs come from the company Chaperone K9, who specialise in training these dogs to protect you and your home. The dogs are able to handle; home invasion, road rage, robbery and personal attacks. The dogs, mainly German Shepherds and Bull Mastiffs, are sourced from expert breeders worldwide and are selected based on their temperament and sociability. Once you have engaged the services of Chaperone K9 your dog will be specifically trained for your needs.

David and Victoria Beckham

Last year the famous couple submitted plans to maximise the security at their Cotswolds mansion after a spate of celebrity home invasions. The planning was said to include a large gated entrance that is to be manned 24/7. There were also plans for an underground escape tunnel, this would let the Beckhams enter a wine cellar under the existing garage, we can only assume that the wine cellar will double up as a safe room, to keep the family safe in an emergency.

 

50 Cent

The famous rapper spares no expense when it comes to securing his Connecticut mansion, spending a reported $1 million per year.  50 used some of that money to install an extensive camera surveillance system all over his home. Which is a great deterrent for burglars, you can even buy fake ones for much less money. An offender is less likely to break into a house, if they feel they are being watched.

Security Camera

Johnny Depp

The quirky Pirates of the Caribbean actor has an equally quirky house in Los Angeles, fit with turrets, battlement and towers. However his home security is definitely not medieval, his security systems include security cameras and security guards. He has also employed the architecture of his home to help with security. Depp’s mansion only has one entrance, so is impossible to enter without somebody seeing. He also uses the tall trees around the property to obscure the view of inside for any potential thieves. This may not be advisable if you do not have round the clock security, as the trees can stop neighbours or a passer-by knowing someone has broken in or attempting to break in. You can definitely take some ideas from Johnny – making sure any valuables are out of sight is a great way to deter burglars.

Tom Cruise

The movie stars’ mansion home is sectioned off into ‘zones’ with fingerprint identification required for a person to enter. This means the staff are only able to access the sections of the house they work in. There is also an impressive electric gate, with guards posted at the entrance 24/7. Now we know that not many people could afford such a beefed up security system, however you can make small changes to your own home, to make it more secure. Be sure to install a peep hole in your door, so you don’t have to open the door to strangers. You can also make sure (if it can be accommodated) you have a sturdy gate with a lock, to prevent people trespassing on your property.

Manned Security

 

Prince William and Kate Middleton

Now as you would expect, the security for the future king is the best you can get. Security details of the couples’ new home were made public not that long ago and include an ‘air lock’ double door system, a CCTV system, pop up bollards and spiked railings. An ‘air lock’ double door system is simpler than it sounds. It means that there is a small passageway between two doors that are air tight. Meaning if an intruder was to enter the first door, he could be trapped within the passageway until the police arrived. Now it is impossible to have as many precautions as the Royals, however you can secure your home by making sure all doors and windows are locked securely. If your house does have a porch area, make sure both the front door and porch door have sturdy locks, if a burglar has to get through two doors, they are less likely to break in.

Or if you have the money and really want to protect yourself, then you could buy your own private island like Virgin founder Richard Branson. Who needs cameras and security guards when you are surrounded by water?

For more tips on protecting your house visit our Security Tips page

Info from;

www.telegraph.co.uk

www.radaronline.com

www.inmyarea.com

www.hiphopdx.com

School Safety 2021

With children returning to the classroom in September and the threat of Coronavirus beginning to fade with vaccines being rolled out, it’s looking like schools will be ensuring the safety of your children like they have for many years previously. Even though safety in schools has been under the microscope since the outbreak of Covid-19, there have been policies in place for many years that you might be unaware of, that keep the children safe.

Health and Safety

While at school your child’s safety is ultimately the responsibility of the head teacher and management staff. This is managed day to day by the health and safety policies that school are required to have. It is required that schools appoint a ‘competent’ person to ensure that these health and safety requirements are being met. The person appointed is essential that this person has the relevant knowledge and experience to fulfil this role and keep every child safe.

It is required by law that all school have a health and safety policy that is ingrained in the everyday running of the school. Within the policy there should be clear roles and responsibilities for members of staff and clear strategies on how to manage any risks and incidents. The responsibility of monitoring and updating this policy when needed is the head teacher.

Security

Every school will have its own personalised security policy. Every school has different security and safety procedures because every school is in a different location, has a different layout and that comes with its own safety concerns. The policy will outline the roles of staff, students and the wider community if an incident occurs. Its common practice that a school will work with the police and Local Government will be involved with a school security and safety policy.

A security policy won’t just cover protecting students for external threats, but also protecting them for any internal risks. Internal risks can involve the welfare of students, including the potential for serious violent crime, drugs and child exploitation. All staff have the responsibility to be aware of the associated risks and understand the measure put in place to manage them.

 

External threats covered within the policy can include; school evacuation, bomb alert and treat procedure, lockdown template and terrorist incidents. Not only will there be policy in place to handle these situations if they arrive, but also aftercare policies. These can include; debrief and lessons learned plans and post incident support documents.

Schools often have security cameras on the premises, to monitor students as well as those entering and leaving the grounds. Most schools will have a main entrance, with a receptionist to meet any visitors, this also acts as a way ensure only people with permission enter the school building. Many schools also employ a fob based or coded entry system for staff, not only on external doors but on some internal doors as well. This means that staff can move freely about the building, while maintaining the safety of locked doors.

It may sound complicated, technical and a little bit scary, but all these policies are there to ensure your child is safe and happy at school. All eventualities are covered in these procedures, to ensure the smooth and effective reaction if a serious incident was to occur. If all staff and students are familiar with the safety measures put in place, then they are more likely to stay safe if anything untoward happens.

Covid-19

The government have stated that schools no longer need to have restrictions surrounding the coronavirus. They have laid out some new guidance for schools to follow.

Mixing and Bubbles

The government say that it is no longer necessary to keep children in the same groups or bubble. This means schools are able to be more flexible with their curriculum delivery, be able to return to traditional assemblies and don’t have to keep children separate at lunch. However there needs to be an outbreak management plan that includes the possibility of reintroducing bubbles if needed for limited time.

Face coverings

The government no longer advises that pupils in schools wear face coverings. The same goes for staff and visitors in classrooms or communal areas. However, as much as the government no longer requires face coverings to be warn, it does recommend that schools use their discretion and advises that face coverings should be worn in enclosed, crowded spaces, where students may come into contact with people they wouldn’t normally. This would include public transport to and from school or college.

 

All info from www.gov.uk

You may not have realised the amount of work that goes in to make your child’s school a safe environment. It’s reassuring to know that most eventualities have been thought of. In this time of Covid-19 it’s more important than ever that schools follow correct procedure to keep everyone safe.

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-and-college-security/school-and-college-security#risk-assessment—identifying-internal-and-external-security-risks
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-and-safety-advice-for-schools/responsibilities-and-duties-for-schools
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools