Luggage Locks – The Guide to Luggage Security

Have you booked your trip away for 2021 yet? You may have everything in order but have you remembered to think about the security of your luggage whilst it is in the hands of the airport or when it is sitting in your hotel room when you’re out for the day? Whilst you may have thought to remember to ensure you and your belongings are insured, there is no harm in taking a few extra security measures so you’re not left stressing about your lost things when you’re enjoying your well earned break!

 

Types of Luggage Locks

There are a variety of luggage locks on the market but which is the best to keep your luggage secure to prevent theft?

 

Luggage Key Lock Padlock

Luggage padlocks that operate with a key are one of the most popular padlocks on the market as they can be used for a variety of uses from securing your luggage to securing your garden shed.

The benefits of using a simple key operated padlock are that they are cheap and easily found in any local hardware store. On the other hand, these types of locks are easily broken as the keyhole can be subject to interference and keys can be easily lost, rendering the lock useless.

 

Combination Luggage Lock

Combination locks are keyless forms of locking your luggage together, instead of using a key to secure the lock they use a combination of 3+ dials of which the user sets a pin code to gain access once locked.

Combination luggage locks are much more convenient than key operated locks as there are no other compartments to carry around and potentially lose. They are stronger than their counterpart as there is no weak point, as there is no keyhole but again the lock is rendered useless if you forget the code.

 

Cable Luggage Lock

These security luggage locks are similar to combination luggage locks but instead of a stiff shackle it has a flexible, extendable cable so that it can easily pass through multiple zipper points on luggage.

Cable combination locks are perfect if there are multiple compartments on your suitcase or backpack, there is no need to fiddle around with multiple locks as a cable lock is able to do the job of multiple locks. Additionally, if you wish to secure your luggage to solid objects there are extenders available to buy to be able to do so. The disadvantages of a combination cable lock are the same as a regular combination luggage lock.

 

Key Card Luggage Lock

These locks do not require a key or a combination code to gain access; rather they use a key card to unlock the padlocks.

Key card locks are a great alternative for those who may lose a small padlock key or forget the pin to their combination lock. Most key card locks come equipped with 3 cards, x2 credit card sized so they fit nicely inside a purse or wallet and one smaller to fit onto a key chain, making them harder to lose than standard padlock keys. There is still a disadvantage to these locks as no lock is 100% secure and it is possible to lose all three key cards.

 

Why You Should Use a Luggage Lock

Using a luggage lock can help to deter opportunistic baggage handlers or security officers to rummage through your suitcase or bag at the airport once it’s checked in, furthermore it ensures that your bag stays closed through transit so that your underwear doesn’t become sprawled on the tarmac.

Using a luggage lock just gives that extra layer of security and peace of mind that when you aren’t with your hold luggage that your stuff is secure. We would however always recommend that anything of significant should be carried with you in your hand luggage.

 

TSA Approved Luggage Locks

TSA approved luggage locks are great for those travelling to the US. This is because the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agents are required to spot check through the luggage that comes through US airports. TSA approved luggage locks are all accessible through a universal master key, meaning if your luggage is checked in airport security the TSA can open the lock with the universal key without causing damage to your TSA approved lock or to your suitcase.

If you are travelling to the US and lock your case with a non TSA lock the agents are within their rights to do whatever they have to do in order to gain access, including damaging the lock rendering it useless. These rules are in place to ensure the safety of yourselves and other travellers.

 

Luggage Lock Alternatives

A great alternative to using a luggage lock to keep your zip closed and secure from chance burglars is to use a cable tie. These can be picked up very cheaply in any local hardware store, these will work just as well as a lock to prevent your luggage from spilling open and are much cheaper to replace than a lock should your luggage be checked and prised open by airport security.

 

Luggage Straps

Security luggage straps are a great way to keep your belongings secure against the rough and tumble your luggage goes through at the airport. Luggage straps work by wrapping tightly around a suitcase and clipping shut with a clasp. They are adjustable in length to ensure a snug fit and are available in different colours or with a personalisation option so your luggage is clear to spot amongst the rest.

Additionally, there are security luggage straps on the market which include a combination lock on the clasp which will keep chance burglars at bay as well as some including a name tag so that it is easily identifiable to airport security should you and your luggage arrive at different destinations.

 

Luggage Tracker

Another way to help keep your belongings safe is to buy a GPS luggage tracker. These are usually small, lightweight bits of technology that fit inside your case and most claim that they are traceable from anywhere in the world. The majority of GPS luggage trackers include an app that works with your smartphone so if your luggage was to disappear whilst travelling, you can easily track it down with a click of a button!

 

Clingfilm

Using cling film to wrap around your luggage has been a method used by many for years. Cling film is a one-use plastic and is extremely bad for the environment, so in this case we recommend that you avoid using it for your luggage.

 

The Top 5 Luggage Locks

Diyife TSA Luggage Locks

This lock is our top pick for the best luggage lock to secure your suitcase. A standard 3 dial combination lock with a cut resistant steel cable that will fit through most zipper holes ensures that not only can this lock be used on pretty much any luggage but your stuff inside is secured as it travels. If you travel to the USA frequently, this lock is even TSA approved and should for any reason they need to open your case, to get their key out they must re-lock this luggage lock.

Coming in a pack of 2, this luggage lock costs £7.99 can be bought from Amazon.

 

eGeeTouch Smart TSA Travel Lock

For those who are tech savy, the eGeeTouch Smart TSA Travel Lock may be for you. The most expensive lock out of our top picks but it takes away the need to remember a combination code or a key and simply opens with the use of a smart phone, smart watch, or the accompanying NFC Fob. Compatible with both IOS and Android, not only does this lock secure your bag but you can use it to track where your luggage is, ensuring that it is always safe. Unfortunately, the battery of this lock isn’t rechargeable, which isn’t the most environmentally friendly as you will have to buy a new lock once it runs out, however the battery life supposedly lasts approximately 3 years! (or 4000 lock/unlock cycles).

You can currently buy a pack of 2 for £35 or a single lock for £19 from Amazon.

 

Master Lock 4688D Combination Lock

One of the most popular locks on the market, the Master lock is a favorite because of its versatility and resistant features. The flexible cable makes it easier to secure zipper holes together. Another 3-number combination lock, this one is TSA approved. Compact, lightweight, and secure this lock is a good choice for all.

Find it on Amazon for £15.98.

 

Tarris TSA Lock Search Alert

TSA approved but with a built-in search alert, so should you be a frequent flyer to the USA this lock will tell you if your bag has been opened and inspected. The indicator changes from green to red if the lock has been opened by an agent, but otherwise the lock is just a standard 3 number combination lock.

This lock is slightly more expensive at £15 but is well worth the expense if you are a frequent flyer. Find it on Amazon.

 

Forge TSA Approved Ultra-Secure Dimple Key Travel Lock

Known for its durability and versatility, the Forge Lock is a simple key lock, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting or fumbling with a combination lock. Little known fact is that if your luggage is opened by the TSA they are under no obligation to resecure the lock, however with the dimple key they must lock the luggage before they can remove their key.

Find a pack of 2 for £15 on Amazon.

 

Keytek® Locksmiths

For more security tips and information check out the Keytek® Locksmiths blogs on our website! We are the largest Locksmith community providing emergency Locksmith services across the UK!

Hive View Outdoor Product Review

Outdoor cameras are a great way in which to secure your home and add another level of security. Not only do they allow for monitoring but also can reduce the cost of home insurance and can act as evidence if the worst should happen. When looking for a security camera, there are many different makes and models which hold different features, so you want to make sure that you pick the best one for you, your needs and your home.

 

Who is Hive?

Hive is a smart product ecosystem that provide many smart home solutions and have an extensive product range varying from thermostats and lightbulbs to sensors and cameras. As one of the UK’s leading smart home provider their mission is to create a network of interacting products that not only make life easier but offer a personalised and connected experience.

 

What is the Hive View Outdoor?

Retailing at £179 and designed by the Swiss industrial designer Yves Béhar, the Hive View Outdoor is the latest in the range of smart home products within the Hive ecosystem and is specifically designed to provide outdoor security and monitoring. Measuring at 2.6 x 2.6 x 2.6 inches, this camera is designed to sleekly fit onto the exterior of your home and not only provide security and comfort to the homeowner but also act as a deterrent to would be burglars.

 

Features of Hive View Outdoors

Designed for outdoors, this camera has an Ingress rating of IP66, meaning that it is protected from dust, can remain water-resistant from a high water pressure jet with up to a 12.5mm nozzle and can operate in temperatures ranging from -20 oC to 45 oC.

 

With two way audio, 130o wide angle lens, 1080p HD resolution, 8x digital zoom and night vision up to 15ft you are sure to capture all activity outside the home, the Hive Home app will notify you with push messages direct to your phone of any activity. This camera comes standard with a rolling 24 hour video history, in which you can replay any video segments in the last 24 hours, however after that period the storage will reset. Hive does offer an extended storage for a small monthly fee which is dependent on the amount of cameras you have within your Hive Ecosystem. This is a fairly common aspect around security camera video footage and storage but what does make a difference with Hive is the added benefits that come with this monthly fee, such as 10% discount on other Hive products. For the 30 day extended storage it will cost you £3.99 for 1 camera, £5.99 for 2 and £9.99 for up to 5 cameras; the number of cameras will also include any internal Hive View cameras that are within your homes Hive ecosystem.

 

Ingress Rating: The rating given to products that rates the protection of the products enclosure. The first number refers to dust protection and the second number refers to water protection.

 

Set-up and Installation

Installing the camera can be difficult especially if one is not technically inclined, but detailed instructions of how to install the Hive View Outdoor are included and you can find multiple videos online of how to properly install the camera with its magnetic stand. The one issue that many may face is that this camera is wired so it does need to be connected to a power source, which many will only have inside. For security reasons this wire will need to be placed through a wall so that no windows are left open leaving your home vulnerable but also so that it has a lower risk of being tampered with by ill-wishers. This can cause an issue for many in the installation phase, however when buying the product in the UK Hive offer the option of professional installation; the engineer will set up your camera and ensure that all the proper precautions are met. This will cost a fee but the peace of mind that your camera itself is installed correctly and secure is worth more long term than the cost to get it professionally installed.

 

Both camera set up and using the camera are very straight forward, all that is needed is to download the Hive app where you are then guided through some very easy to follow instructions that allow you to connect the app to the camera via Bluetooth and then through WiFi. If you have purchased the professional installation they will also take you through this process.

 

App Functionality

What perhaps sets this camera apart from other similar models on the market is the amazing functionality and connectivity of the entire Hive ecosystem and the companion app. Within the app there are 3 different tabs that allow you to control, schedule and monitor the functions of the camera and access any live feeds or stored video footage. The schedule tab, allows for 4 pre-set time blocks of which you can program the monitoring of the camera and for when it operates on a daily basis, this means you can set your camera to record at certain times in order to maximise the footage stored or to save electricity. The actions tab allows you to connect all Hive products together to sync up reactions from one product to another; this can create a whole security system when multiple products are used. As a default with the set-up of a Hive camera, all sound and motion alerts will be sent to you. You can however adjust the sensitivity settings on the app to reduce the risk of false alarms for things such as cars or animals.

 

Camera Performance

With a 40ft range in daylight (15ft in night vision but this can be more with less specified sensitivity) and an array of impressive features this camera has all the same features as most other high end cameras on the market. What is great about this camera is that when activity is detected, not only is a push notification sent to your smart phone, but alongside is a thumbnail displaying an up close shot of what has caused the alert so that you can identify the issue before opening the app thus saving you time if it’s only the postman. Once in the app you can access both live and stored footage, and can use finger gestures to zoom and pan the footage to get full control of the camera.

 

Do be aware that for the most efficient use and performance of this camera you will need to have a minimum of 2.4GHz bandwidth or a WiFi with a speed of 1.5Mbps (Megabites Per Second).

 

Overall, this camera doesn’t necessarily offer more features than the other high end cameras on the market however what does set this camera apart from its competitors is the functionality of the app and the interconnectivity of all the Hive products. This allows you to create a completely personal and customisable security system around your home, even with just the camera there are so many controls over the functionality of the camera that allow tailoring to your needs. One of the potential downsides to this camera is that it is not compatible to other smart devices such as Google Assistant or Alexa without the use of a Hive Hub, so if you are already within another smart home system without the use of a Hive Hub you cannot connect all of your gadgets without the extra product.

 

What should I look for when buying an outdoor security camera?

You should always consider what you are buying the camera for and what features are priorities for you when researching different makes and models. The general rule is that the more features that a camera offers the higher the price point, however usually spending more on a camera upfront is worth it in the longer term in relevance to security.

How many security cameras do I need?

It will depend on how many weak points or vulnerable parts of your home you perceive to have and what you want to be covered. The optimal amount of cameras will be dependent on individual needs but it is suggested that your front door and back door are covered.

Keytek’s Top Three Smart Plug Picks!

Smart plugs are increasing in popularity as more and more of the population are making their homes a ‘smart home’. Smart plugs are an essential part of the transition as they allow you control over mundane devices easily through the use of your smart phone or voice, allowing for a level of control that creates a much easier way of life. Not only do these smart plugs allow simple turning on and off of products but many come with inter-product connect-ability that allows the option to create a bubble of smart devices. If you are looking to create a smart home system or add to your existing one, read ahead as we have chosen our top 3 smart plugs and have answered some of the most popular questions around smart plugs!

Hive Active Plug

£39.00 from Hive Home – Find it here! 

The Hive active plug, sitting nicely in the Hive smart product ecosystem, is a paramount aspect of the connectivity that Hive Home is known for offering more varied actions and uses than that of the usual smart plug. This plug boasts an extremely easy set-up from the start, even for non-technical minded people by the use of the Hive app. Through this app you can name each individual Hive Active plug in your home for easy control and identification which makes things very clear when you are trying to set up actions within the app.

Much like other smart plugs, using the app, you can turn objects on and off with the simple press of a button on your smart devices giving you a level of remote control many would never have otherwise. Should you want to fall asleep with a device on but don’t want it left on all night, simply go into the action tab and set for the plug to turn off at a certain time or after a set time period.

However, one of the most attractive features of this particular plug is the interconnect ability with other Hive Home products. Through the app you can set up continuity actions, where if one this happens, that will happen. For example, should you have a Hive Motion Sensor and a Hive Active plug that is linked to a lamp, you could set so that if motion is detected the smart plug will activate turning on the lamp. This is handy as you can set it for convenience, so coming home in the evening you don’t have to worry about trying to find a light in the dark, or this could be a safety measure to ward off intruders.

The only downside to this plug is that you will need a Hive Hub to fully benefit from all the features. We do suggest that if you already own Hive Home products that this plug is the one for you, and if you are looking into installing a complete home smart system then with connectivity that Hive offers, look no further. On the other hand, you may want to consider what your budget is and what benefits you are looking for before committing to this plug.

Ikea Trådfri Smart Plug Review

£9 from Ikea – Find it here!

Probably the biggest appeal of this plug is the price. At only £9 for an individual plug this is most definitely the most budget friendly option out there. Much like many other smart plugs out there you can control this one through the use of the Trådfri app, however an important aspect to bear in mind is that to fully utilize all possible features of this plug you must also purchase the Trådfri Gateway which will allow you to access the Trådfri app timing system to set timers for your smart plugs but this can only be done with a steering device.

This plug is also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant through the use of a connected Gateway, so if you have already invested in another smart home system this Ikea product can fit seamlessly in creating a bigger smart home ecosystem of different brands. You can also get a range of different smart home products through Ikea, and if you purchase the accompanying gateway all of these smart home products can connect and allow you control through the Trådfri app.

However, one thing to note about this plug is that it could be considered basic compared to all of the other smart plugs on the market. It is being sold at a fantastic price and if you are looking for a very simplified smart plug then this is the one for you. On the other hand, there are many smart plugs that boast many features that this Trådfri smart plug does not. Features like energy monitoring, cost monitoring and total time on are features that are common amongst other smart plugs at a slightly higher price point.

Samsung SmartThings Outlet Review

£19.99 from Amazon – Find it here! 
At a startling low price for the features this tiny smart plug holds, many of the features of this plug are usually reserved for those at a higher price point. Not only does this plug hold all of the basic features that are expected of a smart product, such as remote control and timing settings, but also features like energy consumption monitoring and programmable actions. This means that with the use of other connected smart products you can not only monitor the energy consumption that you are using within your home but also set the smart plug to react to triggers from other devices. For example, should you have a compatible motion sensor then you can program the plug to react, meaning if motion is detected the plug could turn on a lamp. This makes a brilliant security feature but also great for making life that much easier.

Another great feature of this smart plug is the connectivity that it has with other smart products, not only does it work with the big names and connect to Alexa and Google Assistant (however does not support Apple HomeKit) but also can connect to various other third-party smart products through the use of the SmartThings Hub.

Unfortunately, like most other smart plugs, to fully utilize the features of this smart product you will need to purchase the accompanying SmartThings Hub. It is not essential to the use of the product but allows you to access all of the possible features of the product. Something to keep in mind is that if have other smart products or are looking to invest in different brands but want a connected system, the SmartThings Hub has been designed to try and incorporate as many third party devices as possible to create an overall connected ecosystem of smart devices.

Smart Plug Frequently Asked Questions

What can a smart plug do?

Usually controlled by a smartphone app, you can use smart plugs to remotely control items in your home whilst also allowing for your energy use to be more eco-friendly. The use of smart plugs means you can turn a lamp off and on from your phone, ensure that you did turn your straighteners off when you leave the house and set your coffee to start brewing for when you wake up in the morning.

Are smart plugs dangerous?

Smart plugs pass the same safety testing and adhere to the guidelines that all other products that plug into the wall adhere to. The device should be safe as long as you use the product in the recommended ways and don’t overload the outlet.

Do smart plugs use electricity when off?

Most smart plugs will use a small amount of energy when in standby however in most cases it is only about 1 Watt. In actuality smart plugs can reduce energy consumption by up to 4%.

Do smart plugs need Wi-Fi?

Many smart plugs will work with a 2.4Ghz WiFi connection and can be used without the use of a hub.

Will a smart plug turn on a TV?

Smart plugs can be used with most electrical devices as long as it is in line with the power guidelines provided with each individual smart plug make and model.

Top 5 Baby Monitors

We’ve researched the best baby monitors on the market to give you peace of mind when your little bundle of joy arrives because you’ll probably not get any real peace for a long time!

 

Best All Rounder: Kodak Cherish C525 – £149.99

 

The Kodak Cherish C525 isn’t the cheapest on the market but it is the best value for money. Equipped with a 5-inch HD video display the picture quality and the infrared night vision is superb! The parent unit also displays the strength of the WiFi connectivity, the temperature and humidity levels in the nursery allowing you to adjust your baby’s room accordingly.

The camera can either stand alone on a surface or be mounted to the wall, it also allows the user to pan, tilt and zoom so that you always get the best view of your little one. The Kodak Cherish C525 stays on a low noise level until it detects movement and so the volume gets louder, allowing busy new parents that little bit more of well needed sleep. Furthermore, the audio is two-way and is able to play lullabies and white noise to try and soothe your baby back to sleep without having to jump up at every stir to re-settle them.

Security is also a factor that has been carefully considered as it has built-in secure cloud storage, meaning you can watch the videos of your tiny baby for years to come!

 

Best on a Budget: Motorola MBP481 – £69.99

 

The Motorola MBP481 is sleek in design, portable and budget friendly. It features a 2-inch colour display, infrared LED night vision and a digital zoom so you can take a peek without the risk of waking your sleeping baby. The built-in rechargeable batteries are designed to last up to 8 hours with the camera switched off) and the LED display lights up when it detects sound. The range of the Motorola MBP481 baby monitor reaches up to 300m, which should be substantial enough for the majority of family homes.

Mountable or stand alone, this monitor is simple and easy to use so is perfect for those who want the benefits of a video screen but the simplicity of an audio monitor.

Best Picture Quality: Arlo Baby – £140.00

 

Great quality and cute design is packed into the Arlo Baby monitor. What is different about this monitor compared to the others is that it doesn’t come equipped with a parent unit but if you’re tech-savvy then this is the baby monitor for you as the app syncs to your home assistant including Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

The Arlo Baby has the best picture quality on offer with clear 1080p HD video and advanced night vision. It also has the ability to stay connected to the monitor through the app from anywhere, which is great if you’re out for dinner and baby is home with a sitter. The Arlo also records and saves videos to your cloud automatically when it detects movement so you never miss a precious little moment.

Like the Kodak Cherish this monitor is equipped with two-way talk but takes a step further by allowing you to set up pre-recordings of your own voice or lullabies to play to your baby when they’re unsettled.

 

Best for Peace of Mind: Angelcare AC215 – £129.99

 

The Angelcare AC215 baby movement monitor with video will give all parents peace of mind as it comes with an under-the- mattress sensor pad which sets of an alarm if no movement has been detected by your baby for more than 20 seconds.

It also comes in a sophisticated design that mounts to the wall with an adjustable magnetic mount for easy set-up. The camera has zoom and panning abilities and the parent unit features a 3.5” screen, full LCD colour display and temperature control.

This unit is best for parents, who will sleep better with the knowledge that they will be woken by the alarm should there be a problem with their baby.

 

Best for Twins: Wisenet SEW 3048 – £99.99

 

Not one but two babies? You’ll definitely need eyes in the back of your head! That is why we recommend the Wisenet SEW 3048 baby monitor as it allows you to add additional cameras around your home. The malleable stand is uniquely designed so you can bend, straighten, wrap and attach the camera to almost any surface.

This monitor also features two-way communication so you can soothe your babies back to sleep without having to leave the warmth of your own bed as well as soothing lullabies to help them drift off. You can rest easy in knowing your babies will be comfortable in their sleep as it has live temperature feedback with customisable alerts so you can create the perfect environment for them.

 

 

https://angelcarebaby.com/uk_en/angelcare-ac-215-baby-movement-monitor-with-video
https://www.expertreviews.co.uk/baby-monitors/1405242/best-baby-monitors-the-best-baby-monitors-from-tommee-tippee-motorola-tomy-and-1
https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/baby-monitors/article/top-baby-monitors
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/best-baby-monitors

How Does a Burglar Choose a House

With over 422,000 burglars in England and Wales in 2018 to 2019, it is no surprise that people are worried about their home security. But what makes someone’s home a target? 

There are many things that could possibly be making your home a target and cause a burglar to pick your home, so when evaluating your home security try and get into the mindset of a burglar to pick out any weak points in your home. To help you better secure your home we have created our guide to what might be making your home a target.

 

  • You Have Left your House Unsecured

Open windows and doors are easy access for a burglar and make it all too easy for them to grab and go without attracting attention. In a survey conducted by Somfy, it was found that on average 1 in 4 adults never lock their front door when they leave their home, despite 1 in 5 of the same adults experiencing a burglary!

You should always lock your doors and windows when you leave the house to ensure that it is less of an easy target to burglars. It is also strongly recommended that you lock your doors and windows when you are at home as to avoid someone trying to break in when you are home.

 

  • Dark and Covered Areas Outside your Home

Burglars will pick a target based on the belief they will have the lowest chance of getting caught, especially those that are opportunistic. One way they can scope out a property and remain unseen by others is in dark covered areas that surround your home. This might be a dimly lit back garden or unkempt and overgrown bushes and trees for which they can hide in. 

We strongly suggest that you install garden lights, preferably motion activated, to illuminate the dark areas around your home in the evening in order to deter anyone who might be creeping around. We also suggest that you keep your garden well groomed as to not provide any hiding areas for intruders.

 

  • Opportunistic Burglars Will Look Out for Anything of Value

Some burglaries are planned, whereas others are opportunity based. Should a person with ill intentions be walking past and see many valuables through your window it can prompt them to commit a burglary. A study by Safewise UK found that 47% of burglaries are spur of the moment and not planned beforehand, even though all burglars want to be in and out as fast as possible and if they can see what they would snatch from the window, it can look like easy picking to them. 

We suggest not leaving items of value in open spaces that are viable from a door or window and rather put them away in a secured part of your home. A good trick as well is to pull the blinds or the curtains closed as to limit visibility to anyone that should try to look in. 

 

  • It’s Obvious You are on Holiday

An empty house is very appealing to a burglar, it means they have a lower chance of getting caught or interrupted. Full postboxes, unkempt/dying plants and no lights in the house turning on are dead giveaways that you are not at home and have not been for a while.

We suggest asking a close friend or relative to check in on your home every couple of days to tidy up any post and water the plants, we also suggest that you invest in some light timers that can turn lights on and off automatically giving the impression that someone is home. Be cautious however as sometimes timed lights can be obvious to anyone staking your house, so it would be wise to get a few as to turn on and off different lights at different times. 

 

  • Issues Can Be Spotted in your Security

This might be broken lights, rusty alarm boxes or broken fences around your home that give the impression that your home is not well protected and is not well maintained. Alongside taking pride in the appearance of your home, a well kept and maintained home makes you a less appealing target to burglars as they can perceive your home to be higher risk and therefore not worth it. 

 

  • You Have Been a Previous Target and Haven’t Changed your Security

If you have been unfortunate to experience a burglary there is a chance that a burglar could come back. Burglar victims have more than a 1 in 4 chance that they will be burgled again, perhaps due to the confidence that the last burglary gave the burglar. If they were successful last time it would make sense they would believe they would be successful again, they know the layout, what’s in the house and how they can escape. 

A study by Home Secure found that 92% of people did not upgrade their alarm system after they had been successfully burgled, which leaves them open to a further attack. Although we suggest having a security system in place before anything happens, we cannot stress the importance of upgrading your security within your home after a break in. This will help to decrease the risk of future burglaries and help to protect your home. 

 

  • Your Garden is Easily Accessed

The garden is normally a preferred spot for burglars as they can enter the house unseen and it is less risky. If you have weak garden security it could provide easy access to burglars to scope out your house and gain entry. 

We recommend installing high fences and secure gate locks to secure your garden. Find out more about how you can secure your garden through our Ultimate Security Guide (Link).

 

  • You Have No Security at All

Unfortunately having more than just locks on your doors are needed for security. A report found that 77% of people with just a basic security system are not burgled, and reports from former burglars have said they would seriously re-consider targeting a house with a security system in place. Not only does it make your home a high risk target, but provides peace of mind to you to know that your home is more secure. 

We recommend having high security locks fitted to your doors and windows and investing in some form of smart home security product, whether that be cameras, alarms or motion lighting every little helps. 

 

To find out more about British Standard Locks, click here.

To find out more about internal security cameras, click here.

To find out more about external security cameras, click here.

To find out more about securing your home, click here.

 

Burglary Statistics*

  • 422,000 burglaries were reported between 2018 and 2019 in England and Wales
  • There is a 15% decline in burglaries in 2018 and 2019 from the previous reporting year.
  • 47% of burglaries are ‘spur of the moment’.
  • Someone is home in an estimated 28% of burglaries. 
  • Only 14 arrests in 100 burglaries are made.

 

Repeat Burglaries

  • There is a 1 in 4 chance that a victim of burglary will be burgled again.
  • 1 in 6 burglary victims have been burgled three times or more.
  • 65% of people who have been burgled more than once experience it in the same house.

 

Security Statistics*

  • 1 in 4 people never lock their front door when they leave their home.
  • 4% of people never lock anything when they go out. 
  • 83% of people said they would call the police if they witnessed a neighbourhood burglary. 
  • 58% of people have adopted Smart Home products
    • 40% adopting outdoor lighting
    • 25% adopted smart cameras
    • 19% adopted smart alarms
    • 15% adopted smart locks
    • 53% of people who adopted smart product said they felt safer

 

Area Statistics*

London

  • 33% of people never lock their front door when they go out.
  • 48% of people don’t lock their back door.
  • The risk of being burgled in London is Double the UK national average.
  • Only 60% of people living in Greater London said they feel safe.
  • Only 63% of people living in the City of London said they feel safe. 

 

South

  • 83% of people lock their doors when they leave the house.
  • Only 1% of people said they would not take any action if they witnessed a break-in. 
  • 80% of people living in the South West said that they felt safe. 
  • 79% of people living in Bristol said that they felt safe.
  • 84% of people living in Plymouth said that they felt safe. 

 

North

  • 6% of people said they would not do anything if they witnessed a break-in. 
  • Only 58% of people who lived in Liverpool said that they feel safe.
  • Only 64% of people living in Manchester said that they feel safe. 
  • Overall 68% (2 in 3) living in the North East said that they felt safe.

 

Further Reading: 

What to do if Someone Breaks into Your Home

How to Restore Your Home Security After a Break In

*All statistics are from a small group representative of the population.

 

https://www.homesecureshop.co.uk/blogs/news/do-burglars-strike-twice#:~:text=Burglars%20thrive%20on%20opportunity%20and,to%20the%20same%20house%20twice.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/956906/burglaries-in-england-and-wales/#:~:text=Number%20of%20burglary%20offences%20in%20England%20and%20Wales%202002%2D2019&text=In%202018%2F19%20there%20were,with%20the%20previous%20reporting%20year.

https://www.safestyle-windows.co.uk/ask-an-expert/home-security/shocking-uk-facts-and-statistics-about-burglary/

https://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/household/empting-fate-one-in-four-admit-to-leaving-their-door-unlocked.html#:~:text=The%20research%20%E2%80%93%20carried%20out%20among,been%20burgled%20more%20than%20once.

House Robbery Markings

Have you ever seen a strange marking on the side of your house or nearby such as on the curb or on your bin? In recent times there has been much speculation about these signs and symbols being marked by burglars as to which homes to target, wittily dubbed the ‘da pinchi code’.

But is this something to be wary of, 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?

House robbery markings or burglar signs are simple line drawings and shapes that are supposedly code for whether or not the house is worth targeting. As well as indicating to other thieves in their ring these shapes reflect the type of people who live in the house, marking them as vulnerable, easy targets such as a single occupant household or elderly occupants.

 

‘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 the next day or following 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 are in need of a trustworthy Locksmith, contact us here!

 

Where are these burglar signs usually located?

The burglar markings are usually left on the property itself but can also be found nearby such as on the bin, pavement, the curb, a lamppost etc.

 

How do robbers pick a house?

Burglars who leave signs on houses or nearby have usually already scoped out the neighbourhood and indicated which house/s is the least risk to burgle. Planned burglaries in these cases more often than not will have had the house watched for a few days to discover who lives in the house and to understand the occupant’s daily schedule, whether they have up to date home security and whether there is anything of value inside the home. Find out further on in this blog how to prevent attracting burglars to your home!

 

How do you know if 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.

 

How to protect your home against burglars

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

  • Close and lock your windows and doors when leaving your home always, no matter how long or how far you will be gone.

 

  • Don’t leave valuables insight of any windows.

 

 

 

  • If you haven’t already, create or join your neighbourhood watch.

 

Upgrade your home security knowledge with Keytek®

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 check 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/

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