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 a thorough comparison 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. Have a look on our ultimate guide to traditional locks here.

Traditional Lock

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. Read our ultimate guide on smart locks here!

Smart Locks

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 they 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.

 

versatility & Control

The Smart Lock market is growing very quickly, and more options are constantly introduced to the market. When it comes to versatility, Smart Locks come on top of the competition. Although the device is controlled by a phone or other smart device, regular keys will also work most of the time. Some Smart Locks have fingerprint scanners on the inside, while others have touch sensors that actuate the lock to open or close a door. In terms of versatility, some Smart Locks can even connect to different other smart devices, including the Amazon Echo.  As for control, you can use key tag, keypad, or your mobile phone to control your lock or even to log in activities and see who has accessed your door when you are away. Traditional locks wouldn’t be considered as versatile. There are many options with different brands in the market, but the way to use them is often somewhat the same.  As for traditional locks, you can control who has a key and ensure that you have high security locks fitted, but this does not protect you from having your keys stolen.

Smart lock vs traditional lock cost

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.

The Future of Home Locks

The future of technology holds many aspects in home security. The main concern is what the future will be like in terms of home security, especially when it comes to your property’s first line of defence, which is your lock. In fact, smart locks will be part the ever changing technology just like other smart device. Just like any other technological device, it is very expected that smart locks will the future of home locks, with convenience taking a huge aspect of it.  In fact, in 2020, 47% of UK households own already a smart home device, apart from smart TVs and watches.  Therefore, it is not a surprise to expect that convenience would win and the future will be mainly smart locks.

 

For a full buyer’s guide on Smart locks visit our Smart Locks Blog.

Call Keytek® Today!

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

Hiring a professional Locksmith to fit these is the only way to be sure that your locks are insurance compliant. Keytek® offer a free home security check with every job we do, so if you book us in for the day you move we can appraise your home and give you our best advice on how to keep the burglars away.

You can find a rough guide for the cost of Locksmith services on our Locksmith Prices Page.

What to do if someone breaks into your home

While it is very unlikely that you will be confronted by a burglar breaking into your home, as most break-ins happen when a house is empty. However, it is always best to be prepared for the worst case scenario. In 28% of burglaries someone is thought to be home when a someone breaks in , if this does happen then it could be an extremely traumatic experience and you might not know what to do. We detail below our suggestions of ways to handle it should this happen to you.

Burglar in your Home? Get to a Safe Place outside your Home

Your first course of action should always be to escape, in the majority of cases a burglar will want to be in and out as quick as possible. They will most likely have their exit route planned, which statistically will be out of the back, according to safe.co.uk; ‘burglars will have a clear exit to the rear of the property through the back door before heading upstairs to check the bedrooms’ so we advise trying to hide yourself away from this route. It is never a good idea to confront a burglar, so confrontation is a last resort, as this could provoke a violent reaction. Nothing they could take is worth risking your life for.

 

Activate Your Burglar Alarm System

Plan B would be to use you burglar alarm, if you have one., this is especially useful if you have one with a panic button, if you don’t have an burglar alarm like that then try the alarm button on your car keys. Anything that is loud and will bring attention to your house will spook a burglar, hopefully enough for them to leave.

 

Hide and Try to Call the Police

Hide. Grab your mobile phone if you can and get somewhere safe. The best place to be is somewhere you can either lock the door from the inside or barricade yourself in. Call 999 as soon as you can and explain that someone has broken into your home. It will be difficult but try to be calm and explain what is happening in short and concise words. However, if you feel that speaking or making a noise would endanger your life or give away where you are hiding then you can stay silent and press 55 (silent solutions) and this will alert the police that you need help but cannot make a noise. Keep the line open so they can hear what’s happening and sit tight and wait for the police.

 

Be Calm, Collected and Compliant

However, you could be in the situation where the other plans fail, so you arrive at plan D. You come face to face with the burglar. Easier said than done but it’s very important that you stay calm, the calmer you stay the calmer the burglar should be. Don’t shout or scream, keep your voice as normal as possible. Don’t make any sudden movements or move towards the burglar, hold your hands up and be compliant; tell them that you are cooperating and they can take whatever they want, nothing you own is worth your life. Whether or not the person’s face is covered, it’s advised that you don’t make eye contact with the burglar, it could be interpreted as a sign of aggression and the burglar might feel like you would be able to identify them afterwards.

 

 

What to Do After a Break-In

The first thing you need to do on discovering your home has been broken in to, is call the police. If you are 100% sure the burglar is out of the house then you need to call 101. However, if there is any doubt in your mind to whether they are still around, call 999 from a safe place. Its very important that you don’t touch anything as the police forensic team will look and test for finger and foot prints. If the burglar is no longer in your property and the situation is non urgent then the police should arrive within a few hours, they will take a full, written statement from you, try to be clear and gove any relevant information you have. Once that is complete you will be issued a crime number, this is essential for you to make an insurance claim. It is then that you need to call an emergency locksmith, who can change or repair your locks and do any boarding up to make your home secure again. To find out more about emergency locksmiths, visit or Emergency Locksmith Page.

 

What am I allowed to do if someone breaks into my Home?

If someone has unlawfully entered your home, you are entitled to act in self-defence using reasonable force. The CPS have stated that you do not have to wait to be attacked to defend yourself, but you must only take actions that are deemed necessary to the situation. The general rule of lawful self-defence is that the more extreme the situation the more force you could reasonably use.

However, it is strongly advised that you never actively try to confront an intruder but rather firstly get to a safe location and then call the Police through 999.

 

How do you Report an Attempted Break-in?

Calling 999 is reserved for when you or another are in immediate danger or if the crime is currently in progress. If a break in has been attempted but you do not feel in immediate danger and it is not an emergency then we suggest calling 101 which will send you through to the non-emergency Police line.

What Attracts Burglars to Homes?

Burglars will pick houses that they believe they can break into with ease. They will look for secluded areas by your house where they won’t be disturbed while breaking in. They will use overgrown bushes and trees for cover, especially if you have no external lighting. 47% of burglaries aren’t planned and are carried out on the spur of the moment, so it’s very important that you make your home as secure as possible. Leaving valuable items in plain view is also what can attract a burglar to your home.

Clearly visible valuables can be a cause of why opportunistic burglars might target your home as most will want to be in and out and grab as much as possible, so if they know what already might be on offer they are more likely to target that house. If you’re home looks very secure, this could mean a burglar moves on without trying to break in.

 

Do Burglars Come Back After a Failed Attempt?

There are a number of things that thankfully could have prevented a burglar from entering your home; however this doesn’t mean that they won’t try again. Unfortunately the burglar thought that they would have been able to enter your home and would have targeted you for a reason, there is a chance that they still could think they may be able to do it successfully at a later date.

 

How to Protect Against Future Burglaries

Consider Installing a Burglar Alarm

The physical sight of a burglar alarm is a great visual deterrent to ward off any burglars scouting the area but also provides the sense of peace that if someone was to enter your home the burglar alarm would sound, alerting people in the area of a break in and scare off the burglar.

Act like More People are Home

If you are home alone and the doorbell goes you should always try to make it sound as though you are not home alone, you could do this by shouting “Can some get the door please” before opening the door yourself. Deterring burglars is all about appearance, giving the facade that your home isn’t easy to break into, that there are multiple occupants in the house are factors that would be considered when a burglar is choosing a target.

Teach Children How to Respond To Strangers and Intruders

A knock at the door can be exciting for children, running up to see who it is and want they might want, but this can be partially dangerous if they were to accidentally let in a stranger. Teach your children to never open the door, especially if home alone, but instead turn on a light somewhere in the house and notify someone that there has been a knock at the door.

Invest in a Few Simple Items to Make your Home Less of a Target

There are multiple things that you can do to make your home more secure and a less attractive target to intruders. Simple things such as outdoor security lights, thorny bushes and anti-climb paint are all blockers that you can implement to secure your home. To find out how to secure all the different aspects of your home head over to our Ultimate Home Security Guide.

 

Change your Locks after a Burglary

Once the police have left your property then you should call an Emergency Locksmith, if any doors or windows are damaged, or if you need emergency boarding up services. Keytek® Locksmiths has local Locksmiths available 24/7 so we can help you out whenever. 28% of people will get burgled for a second time at the same address, so it is important that your house is secure. Burglars will often target the same house again because of ease and familiarity. They might think they have been successful once, so they can be successful again, so it is imperative that you engage a fully accredited, trustworthy Locksmith to make your home secure again.

 

For more info on what to do after a break in visit our Burglary Page.

 

 

https://www.aviva.co.uk/news-and-guides/article/what-do-if-someone-breaks-into-your-house/
www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/natureofcrimeburglary/yearendingmarch2016
www.modernsurvivalblog.com/security/21-things-your-burglar-wont-tell-you/
www.independent.co.uk/life-style/call-999-emergency-services-what-to-do-if-cant-talk-advice-crime-accident-police-ambulance-a7524196.html
www.citizendefensetraining.com/safe_at_home.htm
www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/legal-rights-attack-intruder-home-12505317
www.safewise.com/home-security-faq/house-break-in
www.aol.co.uk/money/2017/02/15/why-burglary-victims-are-targeted-again-several-times/
www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/how-think-like-burglar-revealed-10366694
www.securitygem.com/what-to-do-after-a-home-burglary/
www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/how-think-like-burglar-revealed-10366694

 

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?

These so called ‘robbery markings’ or ‘burglar signs’ are simple drawings and shapes that are reportedly ‘code’ for whether the house is worth targeting. These drawings are also said to highlight to other thieves, what type of person lives at the house; whether they are vulnerable, elderly or a house of single occupancy etc.

 

‘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 marks themselves are often left somewhere on the property, such as a garden wall or driveway. But they are also found somewhere nearby, such as on a bin, lamppost, the curb or pavement.

 

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/