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

Would the Traps from ‘Home Alone’ Work?

We are big fans of home alone over here at Keytek and have decided to look at the traps that Kevin Macalister sets up for the ‘Wet Bandits’ and whether they would be useful in actually securing your home.
Now in doing some research into the traps Kevin sets up and the real life consequences of using them on real burglars, we definitely would not advise that you employ any of these tactics. However, there is a ton of home security inspiration to be taken from the Home Alone movies. We will go through some of Kevin’s most ingenuous booby traps and advise you on how to secure your home.

The Spider Surprise

Kevin employs the use of his brothers’ pet tarantula to give one of the intruders a fright. Now, spiders are not the most common of pets in the average UK household. But other pets such as dogs can be a good deterrent to a potential burglar. The noise of them barking or moving around the house is an asset, and the use of a ‘beware of the dog’ sign is an extra precaution.

 

The Slimy Ladder

 

Kevin has the ingenious ideas of smearing the rungs of a ladder with goo, making it impossible for one of the ‘Wet Bandits’ to climb up. We can take two things from this, one; do not leave ladders in a place that they can be used to gain entry. Also you can invest in ‘anti-climb’ paint; this has a thick oily coating that looks glossy when applied. However, it remains slippery and makes it almost impossible for a burglar to climb your wall.

Let the TV do the Talking

‘Merry Christmas ya filthy animal!’ may the most iconic line from a fake movie within a movie. Kevin tricks the ‘Wet Bandits’ by playing a film loud on the television. While this is amusing in the film, the principle is solid. Sounds and lights will deter burglars from breaking in. You can set timers on lamps to come on and off periodically, to give the allusion of a presence in the house. You can even buy a T.V Simulator that flashes different coloured lights, so to someone looking through a window, the television seems to be on.

Secure the Perimeter

Kevin uses a couple of techniques to secure the perimeter of his home. He ices the stairs, the ‘Wet Bandits’ slip and fall, so are unable to reach the front door. He also heats up the front door knob to such a temperature that it burns the pattern into one burglars hand; he also throws bricks at them from the roof of the house. We do not suggest ANY of these however; securing your perimeter is a good idea. Your fencing, hedging or walls can attract or deter burglars. Check for weak spots, a rusty lock or unstable fence for example. A thorny hedge around your home can put thieves off, but you will need to make sure that passers by can still see the front of your home, so a burglar won’t go unnoticed. A gravel drive way is a great deterrent, as an intruder will be put off by the noise it makes when walking on it.

Get to know your Neighbours!

Kevin spends the entire movie scared of his ‘creepy’ neighbour Marley and does not go to him for help. But it is he that saves Kevin from the ‘Wet Bandits’ at the end of the film. If Kevin had got to know his neighbour; he could have gone to him for help straight away. It is important to get to know your neighbours as they are the people most likely to notice if something unusual has happened in your house. You can also ask then to keep an eye on your home if you go on holiday, move any post that may be hanging out of your door.

 

Kevin’s antics are extreme, and of course are done for comic effect, so we definitely don’t recommend you copy him. However a lot of inspiration can be taken from the Home Alone Movies; taking steps to protect your home and belongings is the most effective action you can take against burglaries. So make sure you don’t leave yourself venerable. Visit https://www.keytek.co.uk/security-tips/ to get more advice on how to secure your home.

Home Alone information from;

https://www.lv.com/atheart/stuff-we-love/lessons-learned-from-kevin-mccallister

https://www.youi.com.au/youi-news/5-lessons-we-can-learn-from-home-alones-kevin-mccallister

https://www.lv.com/atheart/stuff-we-love/lessons-learned-from-kevin-mccallister

Images sourced from;

https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/films/743992/Home-Alone-theory-Old-Man-Marley-Kevin-McCallister-Macaulay-Culkin-Roberts-Blossom

The Top 26 Torturous Home Alone Traps

Top 5 Wi-Fi Doorbell Cameras

In this age of smart phones, home hubs and app controlled heating; it’s not surprising to see the emergence of Wi-Fi doorbell cameras. We will do just about anything to keep our home and family secure, so are smart doorbells a worthy investment? We are going to look at the five most popular doorbell cameras in the UK and see what they offer.

 

Ring Video Doorbell 2

Price- £179.00 (Amazon 2019) Ring Website ring wifi doorbell

The Ring doorbell camera offers you 1080HD video, which is a pretty high resolution for a doorbell camera. It allows you to see, hear and speak to anyone that comes to your door from wherever you are. Ring provides instant mobile alerts and two way talk that you can answer from your mobile, tablet or PC. The Ring doorbell can be adapted to meet your needs; you can adjust the motion sensors. So if you own a cat that will be around your property, you won’t get an alert every time they move.

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 includes a quick release rechargeable battery, so you are able to charge it without having to take the whole thing off your front door. If you are worried about it being switched off for any period of time then we recommend you buy 2 batteries, so you always have power for your Wi-Fi doorbell camera.

The camera has a viewing range of 160 degrees and has adjustable motion zones. Don’t worry about having it outside in bad weather, as it can cope with temperatures as low as -5c and as high as 48.5c. it’s is also weather resistant meaning its fine getting rained on, snowed on or even hailed on. Ring will also connect to the Amazon Alexa, so you can see who’s at the door with an Echo Show or a Fire TV.

Ring is the most dominant presence in the Wi-Fi doorbell camera game, so you can be sure it’s the most advanced smart doorbell out there. However it does come with a rather large price tag. So it’s worth looking around to see what other doorbells are out there.

 

SkyBell Wi-Fi Video Doorbell

Price- £100.97 (Amazon 2019) Skybell WebsiteSkybell wifi doorbell

The SkyBell offers almost exactly the same features as the Ring Wi-Fi doorbell. The small difference being that with Skybell you get a notification when someone rings the doorbell, as well as motion notifications.

The set up seems relatively simple, as you only use 4 screws to mount the Wi-Fi door bell and can use any existing doorbells power wires.

The Skybell also features 2 way audio, meaning you can have a conversation with whoever is at the door. The app allows multiple people to have accounts, so everyone that lives in your house can have view who has been to the front door. Even at night you will be able to see clearly who is at your front door in full colour night vision. Also, if you’ve not had chance to look at who’s been around your property all day, then there is an ‘Active History’ function that means you can review any missed visitors, any answered video calls and motion alerts.

One of the biggest differences between the Skybell and Ring is battery vs hard wired, with the Sky bell being wired in. Depending on the doorbell you currently have, you may find the battery controlled Wi-Fi doorbell a little easier to set up. However if leaving something that controls your home security on a battery worries you, then having it wired in is a selling point.

 

Vivint© Doorbell Camera™

Price- Available on Request Vivint Website

The Vivint Doorbell Camera is probably the most elegant looking Wi-Fi doorbell on the list; it has a thin, understated design meaning that it is considerably more subtle than a security camera and some of the other Wi-Fi doorbells. It’s also comes with the standard features of a Wi-Fi doorbell camera, notifications and video footage etc. The video quality is slightly lower than some other smart doorbells at 720p HD and has a night vision feature.

Vivint promotes a discreet way to secure your home and boasts that it will warn you before a person even rings on your doorbell. On their website its says;

“The minimalist design of Vivint Doorbell Camera mimics a regular doorbell to blend seamlessly with your home exterior and keep your entryway feeling like a meeting place, not a TSA checkpoint.”

So if you’re conscious of advertising that you have an expensive smart doorbell attached to your door, the Vivint might be for you. To be able to use a Vivint Doorbell camera you will need to invest in a Vivint smart home monitoring package and this will cost you extra in equipment and monthly fees. Installation is a bit more involved and requires a specially trained engineer to come to your house and set it up for you. They do not specifically state the price of the camera on their website, but if subtly is your thing then Vivint is definitely worth looking in to.

August Doorbell Cam

Price- £200 (August website 2019) August Website

 

August is a big player in the smart home security game. They are best known for their smart locks that allow you to open the front door with your phone. However they also have a Wi-Fi doorbell on the market, the August Doorbell Cam. The August can be wired in using the same connection of your current standard doorbell, so there is no need to rely on batteries. You can then set it up inside by using the USB dock provided.

 

August differs from other Wi-Fi doorbell cameras by not having a night vision feature, but instead including a full colour light that will illuminate anyone standing at the door. However like the others it allows you not only to live stream footage from your front door, but going back and review anything you missed. The camera will start recording when it senses movement, so you shouldn’t miss anything important.

The instillation of the August is a bit more involved than some of the other options, as you are required to mount brackets and use a drill, which if you are not DIY minded, could be a struggle for you.

 

Netvue Vuebell Doorbell

Price- £89.99 (Amazon 2019) Netvue Websitenetview wifi doorbell

Like all the other doorbell cameras the Vuebell doorbell comes with its own app, meaning you can check the video feed from anywhere. The doorbell itself includes HD cameras, 2-way audio and Night Vision. The Vuebell automatically detects unusual motions and alerts you by sending a notification to your phone. Or if you are out and someone rings the doorbell you can have a real-time two-way conversation with them.

The camera is pretty good, with a wide viewing angle of 185 degrees and a vertical viewing angle of 118 degrees, meaning that the entire area around your front door will be covered. Like most of the camera doorbells, it runs on Wi-Fi, with Vuebell you can have it up to 100 metres away from your wireless router. That means it doesn’t matter where it is in your home, the connection will not suffer from inference. The doorbell also has eight infrared LEDs that can help you see things even at night.  You can capture a clear photo at night within five meters.

The Netvue is a good piece of kit if you’re looking to keep the cost down. However you won’t be able to connect the Netvue with any other smart devices, such as a smart lock or another smart camera. The Netvue does also have a slightly budget look about it.

Video Storage Fees

 

What most of the makers of these Wi-Fi camera doorbells fail to mention is that if you want to keep the footage of your home then you will need to subscribe to a monthly storage plan. As hours and hours of video footage takes up a lot of storage space, it’s not possible to store it all on the doorbell itself. Most companies will store your footage on a cloud based server, some may offer you some sort of free cloud storage, while others offer you none at all.

Ring

 

The Ring Video Doorbell may be one of the most advanced cameras out there, but they offer no free storage. This means unless you open a live stream immediately after receiving a notification, you might miss what going on. For the motion based video to be stored you have to subscribe to a ‘Ring Protect Plan’. You can either pay £2.50 per month (£25 annually) for their Protect Basic Plan, which will store all live videos for up to 30 days. Or you can pay £8 per month (£80 annually) for the Protect Plus Program. This is useful if you have more than one Wi-Fi camera doorbell, as the plan covers unlimited Ring devices. You still only have 30 days’ worth of storage with this plan, but you do get an extended warranty and discounts in the Ring store.

 

Skybell

 

Skybell does not offer a storage plan of any sort. But it does offer free 7 day storage, so if you are looking for a WI-FI doorbell camera that can store footage for a long time, the Skybell is not for you.

 

Vivint

 

As with the price of the actual doorbell, Vivint are not advertising the price of their video storage plan. However on their website it says you get 30 days’ worth of video (which seems to be the standard) for a ‘fraction of the cost of most video storage solutions’.

 

August

 

August does offer various plans, the Free Basic Plan offer 24 hours of saved video history; this comes automatically with the doorbell so there is no need to sign up. They do offer a ‘Premium’ storage plan, which is around £4 a month or around £50 annually. This offers 30 days of saved video history and saved video clips of all activity captured. On both plans you can download and share saved videos and everyone that has the August app can use it.

Netvue

 

Netvue does not offer any free video storage; instead they offer three paid plans. The first is Ring Video Storage which is around £2 a month (or around £20 a year); this plan will record and save any doorbell rings and conversations on the cloud for future viewing for 30 days.

The second plan is around £6 a month (or £69.99 per year) and offers 14 days of 24/7 recording. This means your doorbell will be recording continuously and you can access and review the footage for up to 14 days.

The third is around £1 per month (or £19 per year) and you are able view 10 second of any event, this is available to watch for 30 days.

 

So, Should you buy one?

Buying a WI-FI doorbell is a good investment in the security of your home, especially if you want to be able to connect with people at your front door while you are away. However, you do need to consider how much you want to spend and how much you are willing to pay for the video storage. We hope this guide has been useful and make sure you check out our other blogs on home security.

Images from;
https://august.com/
https://en-uk.ring.com/
https://www.netvue.com/
https://www.vivint.com/

August Smart Lock Buying Guide

If you’ve done any research into smart locks or smart doorbells then it’s more than likely you’ve come across August. They are giants in this field of technology, matched only by the likes of Nest and Amazon. The company August Home is based in California and released its first smart lock the ‘August Smart Lock’ in 2013. Two years later they released a new wave of products, including the ‘August Smart Lock Pro + Connect’ their second generation of smart lock. They also started selling video door bells, and as of July 2018 August Home has sold over one million smart locks and cameras.

 

We are going to take a look at the products August Home have to offer and help you decide which product is right for you.

 

The Original- August Smart LockAugust Smart Lock

 

The original (and cheaper) version of the August smart lock, allows you to lock and unlock your door with your phone, while also giving keyless entry to family and guests. One major selling point of the August smart lock is that you don’t have to change your existing lock, it just attaches to the inside of your door, which also means you can use regular keys if needed. As with most smart locks these days, August had its own handy app, which allows you to see if your door is locked or unlocked and even alerts you if your door is ajar. The August Smart Lock works with accessories that August Home offer, such as the Smart Keypad and August Connect.

 

August Smart Lock Pro + ConnectThe Next Generation- August Smart Lock Pro + Connect

 

This newer (and more expensive) smart lock offers everything the original does, but also offers users connection to Siri, Alexa, and Google Home Assistant. Meaning if you have a larger smart home security system, the August Smart Lock Pro can integrate easily. You can also remotely control your lock from anywhere meaning you can lock and unlock the door wherever you are. Like with the original smart lock, your door will automatically unlock when it senses your phone in range, but with the Pro, you can also use your voice to unlock it via Siri and Alexa.

 

 

The Doorbell- August Doorbell Cam Pro

 

This does what is says on the tin (plus a little bit more). Essentially it’s a doorbell with a camera in it, so you can see who’s at the door before you answer it. But of course this being 2018, it comes with a lot more features than that! Via the app you can receive notifications when someone approaches your front door, no matter where you are. With the free Basic Video Recording subscription you can replay any video from the last 24 hours. It even offers full-colour HD at night, by using the built-in floodlight. So you don’t have to waste your time with grainy infrared night-time video. As with Augusts other products, they pride themselves on ease of installation. So the Doorbell Cam Pro uses the existing wiring that connects your standard doorbell and the included USB dock allows complete setup inside your home prior to installation.

 

Never miss a moment- Hindsight

 

As mentioned previously with the August Doorbell Cam Pro you get the basic recording subscription that allows you to view the past 24 hours of footage. If you would like to view footage from the last month then you can upgrade to the Premium for around £5 a month. Hindsight constantly monitors your doorway and captures the few seconds leading up to someone arriving on your doorstep. You then get an alert, letting you know that there has been some activity at your door.

 

August Smart KeypadNever hide a key again- August Smart Keypad

 

You never have to leave a key under the mat or under a plant pot again. With the August Smart Keypad you can unlock your door with secure codes. You can create unique entry codes to unlock your door without having to use a traditional key or smart phone. Meaning the August Smart Keypad is a better option for those with children, or older relatives that would struggle to use a key or smart phone. You can either have temporary codes that allow people access for a certain number of days or you can even set ‘recurring’ codes that only allow access for a specific time each week. Continuing the August tradition of products being easy to install, the Keypad is battery powered, so no need to wire anything. You just put in you 2 AAA batteries and stick it to the wall. Obviously the August Smart Keypad is compatible with all other August Home products, but works well as a standalone security measure.

 

Info from August.com

Best Outdoor Security Cameras

Upgrading your home security to include external cameras is a practical and effective way to protect your home. However to make the most of your surveillance requirements, you need to assess the needs of you and your family, as not everyone will need the same level of security.

So, we’ve put together a guide to help you look at which outdoor security camera is best for you, your family and your home.

What you need to consider

 

Weatherproof or Waterproof?

 

Weatherproof means that your camera will be able to withstand exposure to weather without deterioration, so your camera could handle wind, rain and snow without being damaged. Whereas waterproof would mean that your camera isn’t going to break if submerged in water; no water will get in to the components to destroy them. A consideration will therefore need to be the weather conditions where you live when selecting the best security camera for you. If you live in Scotland for example, which gets a lot of snow; it would probably be worth getting a weatherproof camera. But if you live on the South Coast of England where snow is a remote possibility, you could probably manage with a waterproof camera.

How much of your property do you need on camera?

 

A camera’s viewing angle will determine how much space the camera will cover. A camera with a wider angle will mean you need fewer cameras. You also need to think about the size of your property and how much you want in view, this will determine how many cameras you will need to buy or how wide the camera angle will need to be

 

How clear do you want the picture to be?

You need to think about what kind of video you want from your surveillance camera. The higher resolution the camera has, the better the picture quality will be. For a good quality image you need at least 1080p, or even higher if you want crystal clear images. It depends if you are going to be studying the footage every day, or only if there is an issue.

Do you need Night Vision?

The most likely answer to this question is…yes. What’s the point of having a security camera that can’t capture images at night? To get a high quality image you will need to buy a camera that has infrared technology. Most security cameras will have this, but if you want the highest possible quality image then you will need to buy one with a high number of infrared LEDs. The more infrared LEDs you have the more range you will have with the night vision.

 

Do you want to be able to access your camera on your mobile?

 

This is popular feature because it allows you to check in with your home wherever you are. You will need to make sure you choose a camera that is compatible with your phone and be prepared to pay a fee for your footage. Most cloud based features will require monthly or yearly fees payed to the company that makes the camera you choose.

 

How much do you want to spend?

You can get pretty cheap basic security cameras, but it is a case of ‘you get what you pay for’, one or two basic cameras will be around £150-£250 but if you want multi-camera, indoor and outdoor top of the range camera with all the fancy extras, then you could be looking at thousands of pounds.

 

The best Security Cameras out there…

1.     Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera

 

£168 from Amazon- www.amazon.co.uk/Nest-Cam-Outdoor-security-camera/dp/B01MG7M0XR

Features

  • 24/7 live video. 130° Wide-angle view lets you look after your home in 1080p HD, day and night.
  • Receive a phone alert or email when nest cam detects activity.
  • Weatherproof, cable and adaptor, so you can leave it out in the rain.
  • Talk & listen feature. Meaning you can speak to get someone’s attention or tell the postman to leave the parcel by the door.
  • Night vision. With 8 infrared LED, night vision evenly illuminates the scene.

This nifty little camera alerts you via your mobile phone if something is happening around your house by detecting motions and sounds. It can even alert you with a photo from the ‘event’ whether that is the cat knocking a plant pot over or someone breaking a window. It’s also extremely clever, it knows when it’s recording a person, so it can alert you specifically when someone is walking up to your door. You can also ‘talk and listen’ with the Nests inbuilt speaker and microphone.

The Nest Cam Outdoor is weatherproof and extremely easy to install; you can either get a Nest Pro to install it for you, or you just plug in the cable and adaptor, mount the camera and you’re ready to go!

 

https://nest.com/uk/cameras/nest-cam-outdoor/overview/

 

2.     NETGEAR- Arlo Pro 2

£565 (for a 2 Camera Kit) from Amazon- www.amazon.co.uk/NETGEAR-VMS4430P-Security-Rechargeable-Wire-Free/dp/B0777V7VH6/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1532942288&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=outdoor%2Bsecurity%2Bcamera&th=1

Features

  • 1080p HD Quality
  • Sound and advanced motion detection-get instant notifications sent to your smartphone or email.
  • Weather resistant- IP65-certified to stand the rain, sun, heat or chill.
  • Arlo basic 7 day cloud recording
  • Night Vision-turns on automatically in low light so you can see clearly, even in the dark.
  • Activity zones- highlight areas in your camera’s view where you want to receive motion and sound alerts.
  • The Netgear Arlo is one of the more expensive cameras out there, but it comes with a shed load of features. Its night vision automatically turns on in low light, so you don’t have to worry about missing anything in the evenings. Like the Nest, the Arlo also has a microphone and speaker, so if you see a delivery man, you can ask him to put your package round the back (and probably scare him!). It is fully weather resistant to stand rain, sun, high or low temperatures, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking. With the Arlo you have a Smart Security Siren, meaning you can set off a 100+ decibel alarm from your phone, if you see something suspicious whilst watching the footage away from home. The Arlo works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFITT and Stringify.  Arlo will store all footage from the past 7 days, but this does come with a cost and is currently only available in the US.

https://arlo.com/en-us/products/arlo-pro-2/default.aspx

 

 

3.     YI Outdoor Camera

£79.99 from Amazon- https://www.amazon.co.uk/YI-Wireless-Weatherproof-Surveillance-Detection-H30/dp/B0776V3CG5/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1532942288&sr=8-6&keywords=outdoor+security+camera 

Features

  • Weatherproof
  • Deterrent Alarm
  • 1080p HD
  • Enhanced Night Vision
  • 3 Meter Cable
  • YI Home App

The YI Outdoor camera comes with a reasonable price tag, and you still get some good quality features. It boasts a 110 degree wide angle lens with 3.9mm focal length, and along with flexible mounts which means you get a huge range of vision. It also has an inferred night time function and colour switch filter to give you the best quality images at night. It comes with its own app, this is great as you can live stream the footage anywhere; you can also share the footage with up to 5 different people. Meaning that if you are going on holiday you could ask friends and family to keep an eye on your house. The 3 meter cable is useful, as you won’t have to struggle to plug it in, or uses extension leads.

For the price it’s a great little camera, and has the useful features that you find in the more expensive outdoor security cameras.

http://www.yitechnology.com/yi-outdoor-camera

 

4. Ring Spotlight Cam Battery

£199.99 from Amazon- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ring-Spotlight-Cam-Battery-Security/dp/B077VXQX7P/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1533716127&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=ring+spotlight+cam&psc=1

Features

  • Advanced motion detection
  • Custom motion zones and scheduling
  • Instant motion-activated alerts
  • Motion-activated spotlight
  • Infrared night vision
  • 110-decibel siren alarm

 

With the Ring Spotlight Cam, you can protect every corner of your home, its wire free and boasts a HD camera that lets you hear and speak to anyone on your property, from your phone or PC. You can set instant motion activated alerts, that send a notification to your phone when ring senses someone is on your property. The built in spotlight is what makes the Ring stand out from the crowd, the light means you get sharp image quality through the night. It does also have night vision, if you don’t want the light to come on at night. If you do spot an intruder then you can remotely set off a 110 decibel alarm, to help scare them away. It’s also weather resistant and can survive in temperatures as low as -28 degrees and as high as 50 degrees, so you wont have to worry about it.

The device runs off a battery there are no wires, meaning you can pretty much install it anywhere. The battery is detachable so you don’t have to move the entire camera when it needs a charge. This might be a downside for anyone buying the Ring Spotlight Cam, the camera will be out of use when the battery is charging.

Ring has just been brought by Amazon, so it’s a huge company. Meaning if you have any problems with your camera, you’re more than likely going to be able to get it sorted.

5.     Blink XT One Camera System

 

£149.99 from Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075RHX3WP/ref=twister_B07F6X2DHW?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Features

  • HD Video up to 1080p
  • Temperature Sensor
  • Motion Detection
  • Weatherproof
  • Instant Alerts
  • Live View
  • Low-Light Illumination
  • Infrared Night Vision

The blink camera claims to be the ‘most affordable, battery powered outdoor’ security cameras available. It does pack a lot of punch, with its infrared night vision and live HD video. The blink is weather proof and includes temperature sensors to make sure you are always getting the clearest image. Like the others on this list, it has a motion detector that will send video with audio to your smartphone, when it senses movement.

The big selling point of the Blink is that you don’t have to pay a subscription to store your footage. You can also view live footage from anywhere on your smart device. The other selling point of the Blink is that the battery life is around 2 years, so you don’t have to worry about changing them regularly.

https://blinkforhome.co.uk/collections/outdoor-security-cameras/products/blink-xt-outdoor-camera

6.     Netatmo- Presence

£210.00 from Amazon- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outdoor-security-camera-Netatmo-Presence/dp/B01LY7NQ8D

Features

  • Receive customised notifications to your device
  • Time-lapse feature
  • Entirely weatherproof
  • Long detection up to 20 meters
  • Free video storage

 

The Presence camera boasts some of the same features as the Blink, as it has no subscription fees for storing your video. That’s not the only good feature about the Presence; you can live stream and view your home in real time.

At night you can watch discreetly with Presence’s infrared night vision, or you can turn on the cameras floodlight. This can be done via the app or you can choose for the floodlight to react to movement by setting the sensors.

Presence is specifically designed for outdoor use so can withstand the elements; rain, snow, moisture as well as dust and dirt, by using a thin film coating solution (HZO technology). It’s also very simple to install and can just replace your existing security light. You can also be sure that no one else is looking at your video footage, as the Presence uses bank-level and end to end encryption to protect your privacy.

https://www.netatmo.com/en-GB/product/security/presence

Smart Locks vs Traditional Locks

Having a secure door lock is one of the most effective ways to protect your home and ever since Smart Locks came on to the market, there has been an ongoing debate about whether they are A) safe, and B) more secure than Traditional Locks. We are going to look at some of the pros and cons of smart and Traditional Locks, and see which comes out on top as the most secure.

Traditional Locks

When we talk about ‘Traditional’ locks, we are referring to the typical locks you see on pretty much every door; a Euro Lock, Mortice, Yale type (Night Latch) etc. These are the locks that you know already, and will most likely have on your door. These locks need a physical key to open them.

Smart Locks

When we talk about ‘Smart’ locks we are referring to a lock that is controlled by your phone, or another devise such as a fob. These locks use either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and not a physical key to unlock your door.

Door Lock Security

This one is the biggy. Which lock is actually more secure? The one big issue facing Smart Locks is that anything that is connected to the internet can be vulnerable to hacking. So if you install a Smart Lock for your home, there is a chance someone could break in by hacking the lock. This is one fundamental flaw that affects all Smart Locks.

With Traditional Locks it’s hard to give an overview of safety because they are all different and many factors have to be taken into consideration. However, we will just look at common locks that you will find on your front door, like a Euro or a Mortice Lock, as there are vulnerable to picking.

Traditional front door locks are susceptible to breaks in; arguably just as much as or even more so than a Smart Lock. An experienced burglar can snap a Euro Lock and gain entry to your house in seconds (see more on our lock snapping page). You can invest in an anti-snapping lock, but this is still vulnerable to ‘picking’.  This is also true of Mortice Locks. You can get high security locks that are anti-snap and anti-pick.

When deciding which the most secure lock is for you home, you need to think about whether it’s more likely an intruder will pick your lock, or hack it. Statistics show us that burglary is a crime of opportunity, so it’s not likely an intruder will have pre planned to hack into your smart door lock. As discussed, Smart Locks often run off Bluetooth or Wi-Fi so there is always a chance this will fail, potentially leaving your home vulnerable.

There is a lot of debate about which lock is the most secure lock for your home. Both have the strengths and weaknesses.  So, comparing them on secureness might not make you decided one way or another. It’s the other factors that might make up your mind.

Convenience

This is an area where Smart Locks definitely come out on top. The ability to let someone into your home from miles away is great. Especially if you have children that tend to misplace their keys during the school day. In this day and age, people are generally never without their phones, so it’s a good way to ensure you are never locked out.

With Traditional Locks, if you want to grant someone access to your home while you are not in, you would have to trust them with a key, or leave on under the mat (which we strongly advise against). These can both cause security issues, as it’s an open invitation to any burglar who finds it and you trust someone not to lose the key. Having a Traditional Lock also means that if you lose your key or lock yourself out, whomever else has a key would need to physically come to your location to let you in.

However, a phone running out of battery, having no internet access or something disrupting the Bluetooth means that you could be locked out of a Smart Lock. Most Smart Locks do have a key override for this reason, but you may feel this defeats the object of having a smart door lock, a physical key is never going to run out of battery or lose connection.

Smart lock vs traditional lock cost

Generally speaking, Smart Locks are more expensive than Traditional Locks and this could be a big factor in your decision. So we will run through some general prices and what you get for your money. (This is not taking in the account the cost of hiring a locksmith to fit/replace your locks)

Depending on what door you have the cost for a new lock will change. A replacement cylinder for a uPVC door starts at £25 for the most basic lock. This price will change if you have a wooden door, as you will probably need a Yale lock replacement or a Mortice Lock replacement. With a Yale Lock you can just replace the cylinder and that starts at £15 and upwards, but if you needed the whole lock and back set replaced, the price starts at £35. When changing a Mortice Lock you need to decide if you want a 3 Lever or 5 Lever, (5 Levers are generally used for external doors, and 3 Levers for internal).  5 Levers start at around £45 and 3 Levers at £25.

If you wanted high security locks then the price will jump up again. For the highest grade anti-snap or anti-bump lock, the price will start at £30. Higher security Mortice Locks start at around £40.

There is no denying that Smart Locks are more expensive than Traditional Locks. The cheapest Smart Lock out there is the Candy House Sesame Smart Lock and that’s around £100. The bigger names for Smart Locks out there are August and Yale and they will set you back around £250-£300 for the basic package. You have to think whether or not the extra cost is worth it, but you get all the benefits; lock and unlock your house from anywhere, send friends and family virtual keys and receive notifications about whose entering and leaving.

Smart Locks will use the same mechanisms as Traditional Locks, so really you are paying extra for convenience. If you wanted to pay extra for home security, you might be better off investing in an entire smart home system that includes cameras, motion detectors and an alarm system.

To find out more about the different Smart Locks out there visit our Smart Locks Blog

Pictures and Info from;
https://august.com/
Trusty Joe