Top Things to do When you Lose your Keys

Every year, millions of people in the UK misplace their vehicle and house keys and it’s happened to everyone at some point. You’re in a hurry to get out the door and the one thing you need to get to your destination, your keys, appear to have vanished. Whilst they can appear on occasion, most times they are truly lost and can’t be found.

Losing your keys is not only aggravating, time-consuming, and costly, but it can also put your home, family, and belongings in danger if they get into the wrong hands. That is why it is critical to respond quickly. If you lose your house or car keys, this step-by-step blog will show you what to do!

 

1.    Call the Police

You will probably think “oh that’s what everyone would do in such a situation”, but the stress of not knowing whether you actually lost your keys or whether they were stolen can leave you feeling unprotected and not calmly thinking what the first step should be.

call a police when you lose your keys

You should submit a police report with your local department on the non-emergency line if you believe your keys have been stolen instead of lost. This can be critical for a variety of reasons. If you file an insurance claim for your disappeared keys most insurance companies will ask you to obtain a police report. You’re also at risk of identity theft if your handbag or wallet was stolen along with your keys. It will be necessary to keep a paper trail and if your keys do happen to be handed in by a good Samaritan, they can make their way back to you!

 

2.    Change your Locks

The second step should be immediately changing your locks. Even if you are sure you have lost your keys somewhere safe, for instance, at a friend’s house or at a friend’s car, it’s always better not to risk it. Changing locks can be expensive, but not as expensive as repairing your house after a burglary!

 

If you have a smart (keyless) door lock:

If your home has smart door locks, you’re in luck! All you have to do is change the code on your keypad, and your door will remain closed and no one will be able to open it.

Physical keys are available for many keyless locks. If you’ve misplaced it, you’ll need to get a new duplicate made.

 

3.    Upgrade your Home Security

If you need new locks installed on your property due to misplaced keys, you may want to take advantage of the opportunity to improve your home security as well. One approach to update is to use BS3621 locks. These locks have been tested against typical burglary techniques and comply with the British Standard Institute for locks. Because British Standard locks are preferred by home insurance companies, you may be able to get a better rate on your policy if you install them. You can also improve the security of your keys by purchasing higher-quality locks with beneficial theft-deterrent features like anti-snap.

 

4.    Choose the Right Locksmith

When you’re locked out of your house or car, it’s normal to call a Locksmith to help you get back in. But whilst in the panic take the time to think through your options to make sure you are getting a fair price.

Locksmith scams aren’t unheard of in the industry and some can prey on people who are desperate to get back into their houses. If a price seems way too high or too good to be true, it’s best to double check before booking in.

For more guidance on Locksmith Prices visit our page!

To avoid a Locksmith scam whilst trying to get back in your home or car, make sure you read our Locksmith Scams Blog Here for top tips on how to evaluate a Locksmith!

 

Call Keytek® Today!

We are dedicated to helping you keep your home secure here at Keytek® Locksmiths which is why we are continually updating our security content on our website. If you were interested in this blog we recommend that you take a look at our Home Security Guide here where we break down home security into sections such as your front doorgarden gateoutdoor lights and more.

Check out our Home Security Guide for many ways to further improve your home security! Make sure you check out our blog page for weekly new blog!

Christmas Holiday Safety Tips

Christmas can be the most enjoyable time of year but you need to keep in mind the security of your home alongside all the festive cheer. Many individuals shop for gifts and sweets for loved ones in the run-up to Christmas, giving burglars a decent chance of discovering anything expensive no matter which homes they break into. Over the holiday season, crime is expected to increase by 20%, so do everything you can to keep your home safe from break-ins. Here are some of our best tips for keeping your house safe over the holidays.

How to keep your home safe this Christmas

1.      Don’t Give Too Much Away on Social Media.

It’s never a good idea to share every detail of your Christmas trip plans on social media. Especially the date you’re leaving, how long you’ll be gone, and when you’ll return. A potential thief can use all of this information to figure out when your house is unoccupied and perhaps more vulnerable.

social media dangerous for christmas home safety

It’s not wise to post on social media about the amount of presents under your tree. If you are lucky enough to have a big pile under there before Christmas day, it’s not best to advertise it. Any burglar that sees that picture will know your house is full of expensive items that are easily accessible.

 

2.      Don’t Let your Lights Leave you Vulnerable.

If you like to spread holiday cheer by hanging lights around your home, make sure you’re not inviting a burglar in by leaving a window open. Feeding an electrical wire through a slightly open window is a common blunder which burglars can take advantage of to your home. To keep you safe, invest in solar or battery-powered lights or you could even get an external power outlet installed.

 

3.      Hide your Gift Packaging

At this time of year, you are bound to be receiving lots of deliveries. You need to be careful when pilling the boxes in and around the bin as a burglar walking past your house might be able to have a peek at the empty boxes and know that there may be valuable items inside. Try to break the boxes down and fold them so they fit in your recycling bin. If you’re struggling with the space in your bin, then take a trip down to your local recycling centre.

 

4.      Keep Presents Out of View

If you are super organised and have wrapped all your gifts before the big day, it might be tempting to put them under the tree ready for Christmas morning. However, if your tree is visible through a window or door then could be putting your home at risk.

Burglars like to get in and out of a property as quick as possible, so if all of your valuables are in one place then it can make your home a more attractive target for a would be burglar. We suggest keeping the gifts out of site until Christmas Eve or even Christmas morning, so your home stays safer.

 

5.      Plan Ahead if you are Going Away for Christmas

If you know that you are going to be away over the Christmas period then there are a few things you can do help prevent your home becoming a target.

Make sure to cancel any newspaper or milk subscriptions – nothing tells a burglar a house is empty more than built up newspapers and several bottles of untouched milk. If you have a good relationship with your neighbour, you could ask them to leave a car in your drive to give the allusion someone is at the property and ask them to check in on your home sporadically, picking up any mail or parcels that might have come through.

To help protect your home whilst away you could also:

  • Consider installing a security alarm with a siren which can alert neighbours if someone tries to force entry to your home.

  • Install indoor and outdoor smart security cameras. You can usually access smart security cameras anywhere you are and with some models can even be notified if a parcel is left on your door step. With a smart security camera, you can not only keep an eye on your home, ask a neighbour to pick up a newly delivered parcel and feel more secure but the physical presence of a camera makes your home a less attractive target to burglars.

  • Install an automatic light switch timer to randomly turn lights on and off. Burglars can sometimes watch a house to see if anyone is home or if the property is currently vacated but one way you fool them is to have a few random lights throughout the home on a timer which will come on and off to give the illusion that someone is home.

6. Hide and Secure your Cash

hide your cash during christmas

For those hard-to-buy-for loved ones, cash is a popular gift —but be careful where you keep it around the house. If you must keep cash at home rather than at the bank, we suggest purchasing a high-quality safe and store it somewhere out of sight to keep large amounts of cash and valuables safe.

 

Call your Local Locksmith Today!

We are dedicated to helping you keep your home secure here at Keytek® Locksmiths which is why we are continually updating our security content on our website. If you were interested in this blog we recommend that you take a look at our Home Security Guide here where we break down home security into sections such as your front door, garden gate, outdoor lights and more.

Check out our Home Security Guide for many ways to further improve your home security! Mae sure you check out our blog page for weekly new blog!

House Robbery Markings

Have you ever seen a strange marking on the side or nearby your house, such as on the curb or on your bin? Have you ever come across the term “burglar code”? Did you know that burglars have been thought to frequently use a symbol code to mark out residences they wish to break into? Burglars seem to be increasingly relying on codes, symbols, and markings to assist them in choosing houses to target and in recent times there has been much speculation about these signs, which is wittily dubbed the ‘da pinchi code’.

Although the comedic name is something to be wary of. You might be asking what do these signs mean and what should you do if you are worried about being burgled? Read through our blog to answer these questions and more!

 

What are House Robbery Markings?

These ‘robbery markings’ or ‘burglar signals’ are basic sketches and forms that are supposedly used as a ‘code’ to determine whether a house is worth targeting. These illustrations are also supposed to indicate to other thieves what type of person lives at the property, such as whether the residents are vulnerable, elderly, or live in a single-family home.

 

The ‘Da Pinchi Code’

The da pinchi code is the name that has been used across social media sites and news stories over the last few years that have claimed to crack the code on burglar markings! The meanings behind the markings are deemed to mean things such as ‘vulnerable occupant’, ‘alarmed house’ and ‘wealthy’.

Recently, there have been new news stories related to the ‘da pinchi code’ which rules out these findings as being burglar code based on police research, instead the meanings of the markings being much more innocent. Check out our image below to see the markings, their supposed meaning and the true meaning behind them.

 

infographic house markings

 

What Do Burglars Use to Mark Houses?

Chalk is the main material burglars use as it is easily removed and not as noticeable as materials such as spray paint. As well as chalk, burglars mark houses with almost anything they can; it may be a small blob of paint or a piece of string tied around a lamppost!

There was also a stint in 2018 mainly found in Dublin where burglars would place clear tape over the keyholes on the exterior access doors. If the tape is left intact for the next couple of days they would know the house is currently vacant!

As well as markings, burglars also may disguise themselves as door to door salesmen; this is what we call distraction burglary. They may also post fake Locksmith contact details through your door for example, always do your research before calling trades people to ensure they are legitimate! If you need a trustworthy Locksmith, contact us here!

 

Where are these Burglar Signs Usually Located?

The marks themselves are often left somewhere on the property, such as a garden wall or driveway, but are also found somewhere nearby, such as on a bin, lamp post, the curb or pavement.

 

How do Robbers Pick a House?

Burglars who place these signs on houses or in the neighbourhood have usually already scouted the area and determined which residences are potentially the best targets. In most cases, planned burglaries will have had the house watched for a few days to learn who lives there, their daily schedules, whether they have up-to-date home security system, and whether there is anything of value within the property. Learn more about how to avoid attracting robbers to your home in this guide!

 

How Do you Know if your House has been Marked?

You might find a few different symbols around your property that seem odd or strange, in odd places that the council or workmen wouldn’t leave markings for official work. If you happen to find a mark on your property that seems out of place or like an illustration, it mean your house has been marked!

What Should I do if my House has Burglar Chalk Signs?

So, you may have noticed a strange marking on the perimeter of your home or nearby? First of all, take a photo of the suspected burglar sign, make a detailed note of its location, when you first noticed it and then wash it away as best as you can.

Next, we recommend that you contact your local council to ensure the markings weren’t left by their employees doing work along the street.

Following on, if not left there by the council contact the police using the non-emergency number, 101. They may advise you to keep an eye on and record suspicious activity in your neighbourhood, including strangers frequently walking up and down the road and looking or photographing yours or your neighbours’ homes! Talking to your neighbours about this can also indicate whether they have noticed anything strange and you can ask them to keep an eye out moving forward.

Finally, it is strongly recommended that you upgrade your home security to be on the safe side, continue on to see our suggestions.

Myth busters

Although you should always be wary of any strange markings that have appeared on your home, over the last couple of years some police forces have found that in actual fact these markings are harmless! Their investigations often conclude that these markings have been used by utility firms and broadband companies to plan upcoming works. So if you do happen to find weird markings round your property don’t panic!

Is the “Da Pinchi Code” the Only Robbery Markings used by Burglars?

Although the “da pinchi code” are thought to be the main markings used by burglars anywhere on or close to your house, there are other ways that is worth considering that burglars can use to keep an eye out on your property and test whether it is frequently occupied. If you have found a stone in front of your car wheel, then you should know it could be a test from a burglar to see if you use your parked car or not.

Another scenario that has been experienced by some residents is thrown food cans on your doorstep; it is another way to leave a mark on your property and undoubtedly if cleaned then the property is occupied while if it’s left for days then they assume it is not and find it a good burglar opportunity.

There are also some common signs which you should consider when thinking about your home security.  One of the most common indicators can be a random knock at your door. This can be done by burglars to see whether you have a dog or a security system that will alert them if they break in.

Random acts of vandalism may also be observed, for example a shattered window in a remote portion of your house could be a test to see if the house is occupied. Also, if you find your trash rummaged through or strewn about, it’s possible that someone is looking for information to see if you’re a good target.

If you have experienced any of the other mentioned signs, we suggest you do a quick search to see if your house is marked.

Make sure you consider the many types of markings a burglar can leave as it is not restricted to the ‘da pinchi’ code. What you can do in this case is join your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme if you are away from home for a while!

 

How to Protect your Home Against Burglars

Here are a few quick tips that you can apply today to secure your home from burglars.

 

Upgrade your Home Security Knowledge with Keytek® Locksmiths

We are dedicated to helping you keep your home secure here at Keytek® which is why we are continually updating our security content on our website. If you were interested in this blog we recommend that you take a look at our Home Security Guide here where we break down home security into sections such as your front door, garden gate, outdoor lights and more.

Already checked out our Home Security Guide? Take a look at our blog page here; we aim to upload a new blog for our readers weekly!

 

https://www.abus.com/uk/Guide/Preconceptions-and-myths/Thieves-code
https://www.alarmnewengland.com/blog/how-to-tell-if-burglars-are-casing-your-home
https://www.blakefire-security.co.uk/blog/how-do-burglars-choose-a-house-to-break-into
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7405940/secret-burglar-signs-home-robbed/

Top Locksmiths FAQs

We have created our top FAQs based on what our customers ask us on a day to day basis. This guide will give you all the answers to the most commonly asked questions that you might ask when you need a Locksmith on the double.

How Quickly Can you Get Out to Me?

The type of job can affect the response time of a Locksmith due to its urgency. However, we here at Keytek® have an emergency response time of 30-60 minutes, where possible, and for non-emergency cases will always try to get out to you within 1-2 hours.

Do you Have a Call out Charge?

Some Locksmiths will charge for call outs, some don’t. But we here at Keytek® Locksmiths we don’t have a call out charge, we only charge for Labour (the time on site) plus parts if they are needed plus VAT.

Find out more about our pricing here!

Can you Gain Access without Needing to Replace the Lock?

In the majority of cases, you can gain entry to a property without having to replace the lock. Most locks, including uPVC and wooden locks, can be bypassed by picking or other non-destructive entry techniques with relative ease when carried out by an expert Locksmith.

Our Locksmiths at Keytek® will always prioritize non-destructive entry techniques to help you gain access to your property and as experts with both uPVC and wooden locks and mechanisms can easily bypass locks to get you in as quick as possible. In some rare cases, it may be necessary to replace the lock, but this will depend on the circumstances of the lock out and the lock itself.

How Much will the Parts Cost?

Factors such as door type and lock type will affect the cost of any parts required when hiring a Locksmith and the price you can be charged will differ from company to company. For example, the cost for a new lock on a uPVC door will change dependent on size, make, model, and the level of security it holds as there are different standards of locks. See below for a brief overview of potential costs for parts.

Door TypeLock TypePrice Estimate*
WoodenYale Cylinder ReplacementFrom £119+
WoodenComplete Yale ReplacementFrom £140+
WoodenMortice Lock Replacement (5 Lever)From £125+
WoodenMortice Lock Replacement (2-3 Lever)From £145+
uPVCStandard Cylinder ReplacementFrom £125+
uPVCHigh Security Cylinder ReplacementFrom £150+
uPVCMulti-Point Locking MechanismFrom £220+

*These prices can vary and are only estimates. The exact cost of the lock will depend on size, make, and model.

For a detailed and expansive overview of the costs of hiring a Locksmith, head over to our Locksmith Prices page.

How Many Keys will Come with a Replacement Lock?

Each lock will differ with the number of keys that it comes with, but you should expect to get 2-3 new keys with the installation of a new door lock by an expert Locksmith. Again, it is always best to check the number of the keys with your Locksmith in case you will need extra copies.

Does the Work Come with a Guarantee?

All work carried out by a Keytek® Locksmith, including any parts supplied comes with a year guarantee.  Any professional Locksmith should give you a variation of a guarantee to ensure that all work is completed correctly.

Are your Prices Fixed or Estimated?

Locksmith jobs vary significantly, for example burglary repair could cost more than a lock replacement, so different parts can hold different prices which will then impact the overall price of the job. With the different parts needed and time needed to be spent on job, most Locksmiths will provide you will an estimate upon booking in.

Do I need a Locksmith to Change Locks?

Many customers get confused when it comes to changing locks, whether they should go down the DIY route or call a Locksmith. It’s always a risk to do something you are not specialised in as it can cost you a lot more in the long run if it failed and could even invalidate your home insurance. Therefore, it’s always wise to call out a Locksmith.

How Will I be Able to Pay?

Most Locksmith companies will take both card and cash payments. Some Locksmiths will be limited to only accepting cash while others can only accept cards. It’s important to ask what form of payment your Locksmith accepts before you hire them..

Keytek® Locksmiths

Keytek® Locksmiths are the largest Locksmith community providing local emergency Locksmith services across the UK… no matter where you are we have a local mobile Engineer servicing your area!

Christmas Safety Tips 2021

That’s right! The most wonderful time of the year is upon us again and with things being a bit more normal, you may be venturing on holiday or to family member’s houses for the big day. So, it’s a time that you need to be more vigilant about home security, especially if you are super organised and already have all your Christmas presents hidden away at home. It’s not nice, but it’s not a surprise to know that the rate of burglaries does spike over the festive period, so check out our top 5 Christmas Security Tips for 2021 below:

1. Hide it away

Its best practice to not leave your valuables in sight of your windows all year round. But we would suggest holding off putting all your expertly wrapped Christmas presents under your tree for all to see. Now we understand the urge to show of your professional wrapping skills but try and hold off until the night before. Burglars like to be in and out of a house as quickly as possible so if your gifts are hidden away, they hopefully won’t have time to find them. Never leave your presents (or any valuables) in-view of the windows. Many chance burglars are tempted by the shimmering of the wrapping paper and it will instantly make your home a target.

2. Keep quiet on social media

We all like to post pictures of our homes looking festive and full of gifts, or even show off what our families have given us. However, its surprisingly easy for a burglar to track down where you live, if they see something they want to steal on your social media. Realistically we know that people are going to post lots of pictures of Christmas, so if you are one of these people, review your privacy settings on all your social media platforms. Make sure you are set to private and that you know everyone that is on your friends lists, get rid of anyone you aren’t sure you know.

3. Cyber security

It’s not just the presents you need to be aware of at this time of year, it’s also your online transactions. Online scammers know that people do a lot of Christmas shopping online and can target you to steal your bank details. You could see more dodgy looking mails in your inbox offering you discounts or links to cheap websites, but you need to make sure you are shopping securely. One thing you can look out for is that the website the correct web address. To be sure that you are on a secure website, look for a web address that starts https:// rather than http://. The S means it’s usually secure. Never open an attachment from an email address you don’t recognise and is very important to remember that when shopping online that you should NEVER be asked for your pin number.

4. Christmas lights

Christmas lights are one of the best things about Christmas, seeing all the houses looking festive on the way home from work should perk you up! However, if you are planning on decorating your own home with Christmas lights, then make sure you don’t leave a window open to do so. A burglar will be looking out for things like this to gain entry to your home. If wires are going to cause you an issue, then you could always use solar powered Christmas lights, these will also save you money of electricity as well!

5. Don’t leave your door open for Santa

We know you hear this a lot, but it’s really important that you don’t leave your doors unlocked, whether going out, at night or even just when you are pottering around at home. Most burglaries are unplanned and if you have an open door, an intruder won’t hesitate to enter. If a burglar does gain access through an unlocked door, then you might find your home insurance policy is invalidated!

Keytek® Locksmiths

We wish you all a happy and safe Christmas 2020. If you liked this blog why not check out our others including Winter Safety Tips 2020 and How and App can Save your Life!