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. Read below to know more about all thief signs on houses and how to protect your house!

 

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 markings outside the house. As well as burglar chalk signs, 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!

White and blue spray paint markings outside the house are the most common colours used by burglars. Make sure you keep an eye out for both colour pains to avoid getting burgled!

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 burglar signs themselves are often left somewhere on the property, such as a garden wall or driveway, but are also found somewhere nearby. Chalk marks on pavement, bin, lamp post, or curb are all examples of where you can find them nearby.

 

How do Robbers Pick a House?

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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 marks on your property that seem out of place or like an illustration, this will be burglar signs!

What Should I do if there are Chalk Markings Outside my House?

So, you may have noticed strange chalk markings outside your house 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! Take into consideration that burglar road markings are very common and therefore 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?

Many people ask how to tell of a burglar is watching your house? 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 avoid house robbery.

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Upgrade your Home Security Knowledge with Keytek® Locksmiths

We are dedicated to helping you keep your home secure and avoid house robbery 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!

Stadium Security

With big events opening up again with big crowds, it’s important that you stay safe. However, especially in big stadiums, governing bodies also have a duty to keep you safe, not just from Covid. We are going to look through some of the ways you are kept safe at football matches and other large events.

Wembley Stadium

Wembley is one of the biggest stadiums in the UK, it’s used not just for holding football matches but also concerts and other events. So, it has one of the best security processes around, some of which are more obvious than others.

We have the obvious and common place policies;

Bag Checking-

Any bag you take in will be checked. There are no cloakrooms at Wembley Stadium, so you have to keep your bags with you. This means that they don’t allow any bags bigger than a standard rucksack inside.

Screening-

You will also pass through what they call ‘screening arches’. Essentially, it’s like going through the detectors at the airport. This is so they can check nothing dangerous is coming in. There isn’t a risk to anyone going through these, including pregnant women and people with pacemakers.

Drinks-

Wembley stadium have a policy of not letting people in with drinks from home. This is to stop any nasty chemicals potentially being sneaked in this way. If you have a valid medical reason to bring liquids in then this will be allowed.

Then there are those security measures that might not be so obvious;

Counter terrorism-

On any given day at Wembley Stadium there are around 50 on-site security members of staff and a control room that’s monitored 24/7. All staff members are also bag searched on arrival; all vehicle arrivals must be booked in advance. If anyone is to visit Wembley Stadium during non-event days then they are logged in advance and given a temporary ID on arrival that must always be visible. Wembley Stadiums also takes the extra step of having external patrols and liaising with their neighbours to share information on any incidents or potential threats.

Event days-

The security measures ramp up on an event day, meaning there is more on-site staff. Even staff that work at Wembley stadium on non-event days have their ID passes reissued to specific event day passes, meaning no one can sneak in using a stolen ID badge. That’s not the only security measure staff have to go through on an event day. They also need to walk through the screening arches and have their bags checked. Once that has happened their bags are given a unique event day seal. Wembley Stadium works with the Met Police and brings in the K9 unit to sweep the venue and to search any incoming cars. There are also police at the venue to support the existing staff that work at the stadium.

 

Other Stadiums

 

Wembley isn’t the only large stadium in the country; other large venue spaces also need to have safety procedures. No matter the event stadiums must adapt to the needs to any possible threat, large or small. Advancing technology means security firms have more tools at their disposal to protect against threats, but it also means that any perpetrators have more ways to infiltrate. These are some of the techniques stadiums use to protect you.

 

Fully trained security staff

All the technology in the world cannot be equal to well trained staff. Security staff is the first line of defence against threats, they will have many roles in the stadium including; screening the public on entrance and security guards within the stadium. Continuous training off all staff is key to maintaining safety.

 

Modern Security Equipment

It’s not uncommon for large stadiums to use body scanners for all guests on arrival. This is a repercussion of attacks on event spaces over the past few years; they need to stop a person bringing in anything that can cause harm. Social media is a huge player in today’s security field, so some security companies employ a monitor on social media algorithms to keep an eye on any chatter that could be a threat. No stadium has confirmed this, however there has been rumours of facial recognition technology being used. This would scan and detect any known threats and alert security personal to their presence. This would work well especially for a football matches, so that any trouble makers can be stopped before they even get into the venue.

 

Security Zones

When it comes to very large stadiums a good tactic is to zone it off so that dedicated staff and resources can be employed for each zone specifically, this saves things being missed. This also works well if there is an incident during an event, the organisation of the zones can provide safe and effective exit routes as well as strategic entrance points for police and other agencies.

 

Planned evacuation plans

If the worst is to happen and there is an incident, a panicked, stampeding crowd can cause as much damage as the incident itself. After the tragic events of the Hillsborough Disaster, stadiums have strict plans to get spectators out quickly if needed. Each evacuation plan will be unique to the venue, but all staff must be thoroughly briefed and confident on how to follow it through.

 

The Hillsborough Disaster 1989

 

If you are a football fan or not, you will have most likely heard of the Hillsborough Disaster. In 1989, 96 innocent football fans lost their lives after a series of errors led to a surge of fans being sent to overcrowded pens, resulting in a fatal crush.

This terrible incident changed the way that football is watched in the UK. The Taylor Report that was commissioned after the disaster stated that all of the teams in the top two divisions of the English game had to play in all seated stadiums. Before this up to 30,000 fans were squeezed into single terraces behind the goal at Manchester United’s Stretford End, the Holte End at Aston Villa’s home ground and, of course the famous Kop end at Liverpool’s Anfield stadium. Another contributing factor to the disaster was the use of metal fences, this was to stop pitch invasions however these made it impossible for fans to escape the crush, these have now been removed from all UK stadiums. Stricter rules on capacity have now been enforced and emergency exit strategies are in place.

The police and other security services designed and enforced security rules with the mindset of preventing hooliganism. Hence the huge metal fences and fans were separated from each other to prevent fights, by using cages known as pens. Woman and children were actively discouraged from going to matches because of these measures, which tells you a lot about the conditions of the stands. After Hillsborough the mindset changed, stadiums are now safety led, meaning the number one priority is fan safety.

 

What to take away…

So, if you are someone who visits stadiums regularly, then you can be happy in the knowledge that there are procedures in place to keep you and others safe. Always best to bare this in mind when you are standing in the long security line to enter the event. However, it is up to you to keep yourself safe. Also, it’s important to respect those around you, football matches can be highly emotional environments, but everyone is there with the same goal, to have a good time, so keep yourself in check when around other fans.

 

 

How Hillsborough disaster altered English soccer

5 Important Security Measures Taken By Stadiums

https://essma.eu/news/article/counter-terrorism-measures-at-wembley

5 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Professional Locksmith

Eek! You’ve just locked yourself out of your home, or your key has just broken in the lock! In any of these unexpected situations or similar you may panic and attempt to solve the situation yourself. But pause for just a minute and read below as to why you should hire a professional Locksmith when disaster strikes.

 

1.     Trained Professionals

Many people attempt DIY on their locks and end up making the situation worse by damaging the locks further, which requires more time repairing the lock and ultimately more money spent. A professional Locksmith will have encountered a vast array of emergency situations and will know how to handle any complication with your locks. A trained Locksmith will carry all the correct tools and a range of parts so that they can deal with the lock quickly and to a professional standard. Our professional Locksmith Engineers at Keytek® put your safety first by ensuring your home is secured to the highest standard possible to keep you and your family safe.

 

2.     Home Security Check

A professional Locksmith will know all there is to know about locks and security and will be knowledgeable in all up to date security measures. Our Locksmiths will carry out a free home security check with every call out, so not only will your problem lock be replaced to the highest standard, complying with the BSI but they will also offer advice on what you can do around your home to secure it as much as possible to prevent disaster happening again.

 

3.     Always Available

Imagine being locked outside of your home in the dark and the freezing cold, with nowhere to go and unable to get hold of anyone. Unlike non-professionals, most Emergency Locksmiths are available for 365 days a year. The worst time to be locked outside your home is during the holidays, which is why at Keytek® we operate 24/7, all year round with a 1hr emergency response time.

 

 

4.     Reliable Service

It is vital that when you call someone to change the locks at your home that you can trust them, after all they will be gaining access to your home and all the contents inside it. All of our Locksmiths are insured and DBS checked, providing you with peace of mind that you will be receiving a safe, reliable and professional service.

 

5.     Communication

Smaller companies have significantly less staff, meaning they are significantly less available than larger national companies. Not only will you be able to get a Locksmith whenever you need them with larger companies but at Keytek® we have a friendly highly-trained control centre team. The advantage of having a control centre means that if you have a problem there will always be someone to speak to without feeling the pressure of contacting the Locksmith directly if there were a problem.

 

Keytek®, the UK’s Largest National Locksmiths

With professional Locksmith Engineers all over the country you’ll be sure to receive efficient, high quality service with Keytek®. Your security is paramount to us so you can be assured that you’ll receive the best possible service to keep you and your family as safe as can be. Find a local Locksmith with Keytek® here! 

Motorcycle Security Guide

The Office for National Statistics released that 39,000 motorcycles were stolen between April 2015 and March 2016. This isn’t new news though as thousands of bikes, mopeds and scooters are stolen every year.

With such high statistics it is vital all bike owners secure their property as best they can to prevent the worst from happening. Below we have listed the best products you can use to secure your bike as best as possible.

 

Motorcycle Security Chain and Padlock

A chain and padlock is one of the most common methods of securing your motorcycle but the efforts of putting these on are pointless unless fitted correctly. Here is what you should look out for:

  1. Chain Length – The length of the chain should be as short and as snug to your bike as possible. This will prevent thieves being able to slide bolt cutters over the chain and break it.

 

  1. Link Diameter – The bigger the chain the heavier it is and the harder it is to break.

 

  1. Material – Find chains and padlocks that are resistant to rust, rust weakens the lock and makes it easier to snap and therefore easier to steal.

 

  1. Immovable Object – Attach the chain to a heavy immovable object to prevent thieves just picking the bike up and putting it in the back of a van.

 

  1. Off the Floor – Ensure the padlock is raised from the ground when locking up to make it harder for thieves to smash the lock open.

 

Ground Anchor

A ground anchor is fixed to the floor, wall or even to a van and allows you to attach the motorcycle chain to it. You can either bolt down a ground anchor which will work best on a van or concrete it in to your garage or driveway floor. This prevents thieves being able to lift your bike up and cut the chain off elsewhere.

 

Disc Lock

Disc locks are extremely handy if you leave your bike in public places frequently. It is a small, portable device that can be used in the brake disc. This device is a great added security measure but it should be used in conjunction with a security chain to ensure your bike is as secure as can be.

 

Motorcycle Alarm/ Tracker

These can act as a deterrent for opportunistic thieves but should always be used in conjunction with other security methods such as a security chain. If a thief is tempering with your bike the sound of the alarm will make them think twice in carrying out the crime!

 

Garage Door Defender

If your motorcycle or any other valuable items are stored in your garage it is worth installing a garage door defender. They prevent garage doors from being prised open by thieves who usually use a crow bar to peel the garage door up and off its runners. Not only do they prevent this kind of garage door attack but they are also a great visual deterrent so prevent thieves attempting to open the garage door.

 

Additional Security Tips

 

  • Mark your motorcycle with your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), vehicle registration and postcode. If your bike were to get stolen this will help the police track it down and help prevent thieves sell parts on.
https://www.locksmiths.co.uk/faq/motorcycle-security-guide/

Are Key Safe’s, Safe?

Do you have a key safe or considering buying one? Key safes are popular amongst the vulnerable who struggle to come to the door when a family member or carer knock the door and so are extremely useful in having a spare key numerous people can access without the need to cut dozens of spare keys that could get lost and end up in the wrong hands.

But how safe are key safes? Take a read through our blog below to discover how to keep your key safe secure!

 

What is a Key Safe, how does a Key Safe work?

A key safe is a strong and durable metal box secured to the wall outside of your home in which to keep your house keys stored safely inside and only accessible with a personal combination code.

 

Types of Key Safe

First and foremost you should only consider buying a key safe that has the police approved Secured by Design logo on them. These key safes have been put through their paces and have been approved to stand rigorous testing.

There are a few designs on the market, the most common being a 3 or 4 wheel combination key safe. Push button key safes are popular due to the ability to create a code from thousands of numerical options, and newer to the market due to the digital age you can now purchase digital key safes that operate through an app on a mobile phone.

 

 

How to Keep your Key Safe Secure

Where you install your key safe is highly important as this can help prevent a thief from targeting it. Follow the pointers below before installing your key safe and how to keep it continually as secure as can be:

  • Out of Sight: Ensure that you cannot see the key safe from the road to prevent chance burglars taking the risk to break into it. You can help conceal your key safe by hiding it behind a pipe, a window box or with a plant for example. It is also worth considering placing it somewhere you can see the safe from your home so that if someone were to try to break into it you would know about it.

 

  • Eye level: Ensure your key safe is not placed at eye level; this will help keep it hidden to those who should not know it is there.

 

  • Identifiable: Is the key safe easily identifiable? If so, why not try your hand at some DIY to fix a removable casing over the top of the key safe. You could try to blend this in with the other external boxes on your home such as the gas meter.

 

  • Door location: Following on from the above pointers, you should ensure that the key safe is well hidden and not located within easy sight of the door to prevent burglary.

 

  • Regularly change the code on your key safe to ensure that it cannot be guessed or remembered by those who should no longer know the code, e.g. moving into a home with a key safe installed.

 

 

Fitted Correctly

Remember, your key safe is only secure if it has been fitted correctly. Always check the manufacturers guide or call a professional to help if you need it.

 

Will a Key Safe Invalidate my Home Insurance?

We all know that your claim to your home insurance will become invalid if the intruder used a key to access your home which is why it is vital that you never leave a spare key under the mat or in a plant pot as these are the first places burglars look! But what about if an intruder gained access to your home using a key that was secured inside your key safe?

It is a bit of a grey area with key safes and home insurance, there could be a number of reasons as to why the burglar has access to the keys such as, was the key safe left open and unlocked and did the perpetrator have knowledge of the combination code? All these factors including the home insurance provider’s rules will have a part to play in whether a key safe will invalidate your home insurance.

We suggest that if spare keys are needed to access a vulnerable persons home for example than a key safe is the best way to go. Spare keys can get lost if multiples are cut and end up in the wrong hands and leaving a key under a rock is a big no, no. Please remember a key safe isn’t 100% secure and there is no way to currently 100% secure your home from burglars.

 

Keytek® Locksmiths

For more information on how to keep your home as secure as can be take a look at our other blogs on our website including: ‘How to be Insurance Compliant’ and ‘How not to Lose your Keys in 2020’.

 

https://www.homesecureshop.co.uk/blogs/news/should-i-have-an-outdoor-key-safe?_pos=1&_sid=c5c250dd3&_ss=r
https://www.thurrock.gov.uk/crime-prevention/key-safes
https://www.compareukquotes.com/insurance/home/what-can-invalidate-home-insurance

5 Important Reasons Why You Always Need A Spare Key in 2020

It is surprising that so few people have a spare key and get caught out when they unfortunately get locked out of their house or lose their keys. Having a spare key is essential for homeowners, business owners, auto owners etc. to name just a few.

 

1. Spare Keys help prevent Accidental Lockouts

Lockouts can happen to anyone and at best they are frustrating, so it is best to be prepared for an accidental lockout before one even occurs. Not only does a spare key prevent you wasting your precious time and money it can also help in an emergency, it is not unusual to hear parents panicked on the phone as they’ve accidentally locked their young child inside their home whilst taking the bins out!

All it takes is a split second of absent-mindedness to leave you stranded in a lockout, at Keytek® we aim to be with you within 30 minutes in such emergencies and back inside your home in a matter of minutes.

how spare key will help me

2. What to do when your Key has Snapped

One of the main causes of lockouts is broken keys. Keys are not invincible to time or to the strain that owners put on them day in and day out. Keys can be easily broken when they have been in use for a long time.

If the locks that you use in conjunction with your key are not behaving the way they are intended, then you might be in for a key break. In some cases, you will be able to tell that your key is in danger of breaking just by paying close attention to it. Many keys will have minor cracks along the shaft of the key, and this is a sign that your key is in danger of breaking.

The presence of a spare key reduces the chances of damaging an original key. This is because one key will not be exposed to the extreme amounts of pressure that come with extended use. A spare key allows owners to switch between multiple keys. This allows them to make use of a spare key of their original key is showing signs of wear and prevent the original key snapping inside the lock rendering it useless and for you to become locked out.

 

3. Spare Keys make Key Replacements Fast

There are several things that will lead people to need a key replacement. It could be that you lost your keys*, the key got stolen*, or the key got broken. Whatever the case may be, in this scenario, your next move will be to acquire the help of a local Locksmith that can help you fashion a new key.

Having a spare key handy greatly decreases the amount of time that a Locksmith will need to fashion a new key for you. If the key is not available, the Locksmith will either have to disassemble your lock or they will have to resort to other measures to try and obtain the key code necessary to cutting your new key. In the instance that you are already in possession of a spare key, the key cutting process takes only minutes, and it will cost owners only a fraction of what it would have been without a spare key available.

*In the event that your keys are lost or stolen we recommend that you have your locks replaced with new keys as you do not want your keys falling into the wrong hands. At Keytek® we will always provide 2/3 keys with every door lock replacement and more may be available if asked for in advance.

 

4. Spare Keys Give Multiple Users More Convenience

There is an old saying that goes, “too many cooks spoil the broth”. The same concept applies to having too many people using one key. For instance, if a homeowner only has one set of keys, and has multiple people living under their roof, it makes it hard for everyone to depend on one person to always be there to lock and unlock doors. It also increases the chances of keys getting lost because there are so many people who are using one key.

With the presence of a spare key, every individual is responsible for their own key, and it allows for much more convenient access to places. If homeowners and commercial business owners are concerned about limiting access, they can look into employing master key systems. Any professional Locksmith will able to answer whatever questions you might have about this.

 

5. Spare Keys help you save Money

In the long run, having a spare key can save you lots of money as a homeowner, car owner, or a business owner. In the instance that you already have a spare key made (or several spare keys), you can avoid the fees that will be incurred with having to call a Locksmith, having to miss an important meeting, or having to keep your business closed for a few hours because no one can gain access. There are many more downsides to not having a spare key than there are to having one.

If you happen to lose your keys, or they break or they are simply out of the picture somehow, you will most likely be making use of Locksmiths services. In most cases you will need a door unlocking or a key extracting when this happens and the costs will of course be higher than that of getting a spare key cut.

 

How Many Spare Keys Should You Have?

The number of spare keys will be determined by your particular preferences, you can create multiple spare house keys to distribute to those you trust. It might be a good idea to give a spare key to a trusted neighbour and or a nearby trusted family member, but bear in mind we would suggest that you limit the number of spare keys you give out as this can lead to security issues.

 

Who Should Have a Key to your House?

Considering who should have a spare key to your property is important for better security for yourself and your property. Anyone you trust can have a spare key to your house, but you might want to consider a few factors like proximity and reliability – if you were locked out and needed to get in could they be there to provide a spare key.

If you know your neighbours well, we suggest giving a spare key to a trusted neighbour who lives close to you as the best option, as all you will have to do if you are locked out is just walk next door! A family member or friend is also the perfect to person to give a spare key too.

You should choose someone who you trust and whom you have faith won’t misplace your key as this could cause some issues with your home security.

Additional Tips about Spare Keys

Many people who make use of keys fear that spare keys make their homes, cars and offices more vulnerable. This is simply because it increases the chance of someone gaining access to your key because there is now more than one key. This is a valid fear to have, but it is important that you keep your spare key safe and in trustworthy hands at all times. Here are some of the ways you can accomplish that to your spare key:

  • Do not advertise that you have spare keys available unless it is to the people who will also be using said spare key.

  • Never leave your spare keys outside your home (the plant pot or under the door mat for example), these are the first places a burglar will look and it will invalidate your home insurance if the intruder uses a key to enter your home.

  • Only leave your spare key with someone you trust, a local family member, friend or neighbour are your best options.

  • Make sure that you keep a list of all the spare keys you have made and know who has access to each of these spare keys. This makes it easier to track down in case anything goes wrong or if you want to get rid of a spare key.

 

Conclusion

Making use of a spare key is one of the best ways to minimise wasting time and money. Spare keys provide their owners with an overall peace of mind, added convenience, and the realisation that they will not be stuck in a lockout for long if they ever find themselves in one.

Letterbox Security

With post theft on the rise in the UK due to more people receiving deliveries and gangs stealing bank details and personal letters to carry out identity theft, it is important to be vigilant when it comes to theft proofing the letterbox. Whether you have a wall mounted letterbox, a free standing letterbox or just your letter plate on the front door there are things you can do to protect your post!

 

Wall Mounted Letterbox

A wall mounted post box is fitted externally or internally onto your property wall and a secure letterbox option! They usually feature a letterbox plate at the top for the postman to deliver your letters which are secured in a lockable box underneath. Wall mounted letterboxes can be fitted as a single item or in multiples; which makes them great for people who live in shared occupancy or where there is a lobby for a block of flats.

Why use a Wall Mounted Letterbox?

A shocking 74% of burglaries take place through the front door, so it is vital homeowners do all that they can to prevent their home being an easy target for thieves. Wall mounted letterboxes are more secure than a letter plate on your front door and will help prevent your home being targeted for a number of reasons.

To prevent fishing: If there is no letter plate fixed onto your door there is no way a thief can peer into your home through the door and go ‘fishing’. Fishing is a technique used by burglars where they thread a long wire with a hook on the end to capture things in your home such as your house keys, car keys etc. giving them access to all of your valuables.

To prevent thieves from unlocking your door: If there is no letterbox for thieves to put their hands and tools inside there is a less chance of them gaining access to your property. Many thieves unfortunately have figured out that if they can access the interior lock, such as a thumb turn lock through the letterbox plate they can gain easy access to their victim’s home.

Energy efficient: As well as helping keep your home secure, wall mounted letterboxes help reduce heating bills as there will be no hole in the door from which the heat can escape!

 

Things to Consider when Purchasing a Wall Mounted Letterbox

If you are purchasing a new wall mounted letterbox it is important to consider these three things:

Size: Will your new postbox fit the usual post that you receive? Remember to include magazine subscriptions that are at least A4.

Lock: The more secure the lock the better, this helps prevent thieves gaining access to your private information. It is worth investing in an anti-snap lock, keep your eyes peeled for an anti-snap blog coming soon!

Finish: Ensure the postbox is made out of a durable, weatherproof material especially if your wall mounted post box is fitted to the exterior of the property.

 

Free Standing Letterbox

Free standing letterboxes are very similar to the wall mounted kind in terms of protecting your home and the things you should consider when purchasing one. They are preferred for those who have long drives or gated homes as this prevents the postman to have to walk right up to your property and they are often a very aesthetic addition to your home. As well as that, free standing letterboxes are often available in larger sizes for those who need it.

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Door Letterbox

If adding a wall mounted or freestanding letterbox isn’t an option there are a number of things you can do to protect your home as best you can.

Hide your Valuables: The simplest way you can improve your security is by hiding your valuables and keys out of sight. If a burglar cannot easily see or reach valuables in your home through the letterbox or the window they will most likely give up and carry on.

Letterbox Cowl or Guard: Adding a letterbox cowl to the internal side of your front door prevents burglars from being able to see inside your home and prevents them from sticking their arm inside. Burglars won’t be tempted to steal what they can’t see!

Letterbox Cage: This fits around your letterbox on the internal side of the door and prevents post from falling to the floor as well as preventing burglars arms or tools from sneaking in!

Letterbox Homeguard: Similar to the cage, a homeguard is a fire-retardant bag that fits around the letterbox on the interior side of the door. Unfortunately, there are reports of homeowners being attacked with lit objects and fireworks being posted through their letterboxes, a letterbox homeguard will help keep the home safe from these attacks.

 

Burglary Prevention

Letterboxes are found in the majority of houses, either in the door or mounted on the wall and it’s important to make sure they are secure.

Here are some points for you to consider when securing your letter box;

• If you are away for some time then leaflets and newspapers may be pushed through the door and build up. This will let potential burglars know that the house is unoccupied.

• If possible, install a letter box that has nylon bristles, this prevents drafts, but also stops burglars looking through into your home.

• It’s best to keep any keys, especially car keys, away from the front door. Burglars use a technique called fishing to reach them through the letter box.

• Install a restrictor or cowls to make your letterbox more secure. The design of these has improved over the years.

• You can purchase anti burglar plates that meet a TS008 compliance standards.

• If you’re worried about anti-social behaviour then you can install a fire-resistant self-extinguishing bag that will collect post as well as protecting your home.

• If you are really worried about your letterbox being a security weakness in your home, then consider getting rid of it and replacing it with a standalone letterbox.

 

Fishing

Fishing is technique used by burglars to retrieve your car keys, wallet or purse. They fish a long, hooked, metal rod through your letter box, swipe your keys and make off with your car or personal belongings. This means you need to install a letter plate that has added security features as well as an internal and external flap that can withstand thousands of openings without breaking. A weak plate is more likely to be broken or removed, giving burglars better access to your home.

 

Drop Boxes

The Covid-19 pandemic means less and less of us are going to the shops, the result of this means that we have turned to online shopping more and more. You might not always be in when your packages are delivered and some delivery firms will leave your package on the doorstep in full view. Even if the package is hidden, a chancing thief might have a search for an unattended parcel. Hopefully you’ve not had to deal with a pinched parcel, but there are a few choices for preventing package thefts; well-placed CCTV cameras, gates and package drop boxes. These parcel drop boxes are one of the most effective ways to stop someone stealing your deliveries.

There are a few things to consider when buying a drop box;

Space-

You need to be sure that whatever box you get works with the space you have. Some could be too big, or are fitted in a way that won’t work for your needs, or it could be that you just don’t find the shape or style attractive. Some are also installed to be permanent and hard to remove, which might put you off.

Effectiveness-

a drop box is useless unless your delivery person knows that; A) they need to use it and B) how to use it. All of the major delivery companies, UPS, Hermes, Fedex etc have the options to give instructions to delivery drivers, so it’s worth checking that a delivery service you use most can be told about your drop box.

Security-

how will the drop box lock? Some boxes will come with the traditional latch for a padlock, while padlocks are secure, it can be a hassle changing the code and once your delivery person knows the code, it could be insecure. More modern lock boxes may be fitted with Wi-Fi enabled locks that have a built in scanner that can be opened when the delivery person scans your packages.
For more information on how to secure your front door, take a look at our Front Door Security Guide here!

 

Police Approved Post Box?

The government has stated that it’s considering changing the law so that letter boxes on new builds can no longer be low level. The new rules are likely to be similar to European standards, which require letterboxes to be between 0.7m and 1.7m tall. It’s worth staying up to date to whether these new regulations will come into play to ensure that your letter box is a police approved post box!

Make sure you are compliant with all UK letterbox law by following the guidelines here!

 

Keytek® Locksmiths

Did you enjoy this blog? If so, why not take a look at our other blogs here! We cover everything you need to know about security from keeping your home secure to keeping yourself safe at events!