Home Security in Period Properties

Period properties combine class and style with both character and history, but can prove a challenge for security, especially if you are living in a listed building with restrictions or conservation area regulations. One of the main challenges can be home security, as period and heritage properties often have outdated security systems, making them easy targets for criminals. Modern security solutions can be introduced to increase the security of your traditional property and these are worth the investment. It is also possible to install security measures that work with the aesthetics of your property and its setting, without disrupting its visual appeal.

 

Home Interiors Chandelier on ceiling. Luxury Vintage Chanderlier

 

Window Security

Period properties have older windows such as wooden-frame sash instead of the lockable, double glazed uPVC windows that modern houses often have. You should consider looking at specialist sash-window locks as these will provide higher levels of home security. However, these might be subject to restrictions so you should always check with your local council’s conservation officer first before making any changes. You could also consider installing collapsible grilles for the insides of your windows; these may disrupt the period aesthetics but they do fold away when needed. These retractable security grilles are a good deterrent for burglars and also offer a higher level of security.

 

White Window

 

Door Security

Period doors can often be very thin, and therefore can be vulnerable to crime. If you have wooden doors, you could consider turning them around so that they open outwards instead of inwards, as this makes it harder for thieves to kick them in.

Georgian homes were built during the 18th Century and are often very symmetrical with large solid front doors, whereas Victorian properties were built during the 19th Century, identifiable by their red brick, large bay windows and gothic architectural style. Victorian front doors were representative of wealth within the community, presented through colourful, patterned tiling in the artwork on the door. If your door is from the Victorian or Georgian era, it may  not be as durable or sturdy as more modern doors to protect from intruders, with an increased risk of age and wear making it vulnerable to break-ins.

There have been advancements in door security for period properties, with improvements supported by the government’s Building Regulations. Doors should meet or exceed the British Standard PAS24 and locks should conform to British Standard 3621 . You should check that your new front door meets the latest minimum British Standards in aspects of glass for security, thermal ability, energy-efficiency and safety qualities. Modern security systems can be installed to your period front door and property, ensuring that its original charm and elegance is sustained to achieve a period aesthetic without compromising security. In order to protect your period property, the main doors should have a door viewer, such as clear glass or a window next to the doorset, a door chain or limiter. A door chain or limiter is not always necessary and there can be alternative ways to identify visitors, such as electronic audio-visual door entry systems.

Furthermore, a good locking system will ensure that your home is secure, by having locks built in with bars, bolts and support structures to strengthen the body of your door. Locks available for timber doors are considered far superior and stronger than those for uPVC, composite or aluminium doors, as these can be worked into the door and provide you with the flexibility to choose from a range of high-quality door locks. If you do not have a timber door, there are options for improving uPVC door security, these can be secured by design accreditation and police approved. Examples of these include: anti-snap locks, uPVC door handles, door chains and sash jammers to improve the security of the door, these prevent the door from opening if the lock is broken or opened. High bolts or dog bolts can also be fitted to an opening door, as when it is closed hinge bolts will prevent the door from being forced open off the hinges.

 

Mortice Locks

There are many options to increase security solutions through the use of locks for period doors, such as mortice locks. Mortice locks are fitted inside the edge of the door, these make it difficult to break into as most of the locking mechanism is contained inside the door frame. They are visually pleasing as less of the locking mechanism is visible, and therefore do not compromise the style and aesthetics of your original period home.

 

Door handle with knob

 

Deadlocks

You could also consider using deadlocks or deadbolts as a secure locking system, manually operated using a key. When a deadlock is unlocked, it is held in the withdrawn position. These are much easier to unlock in emergency situations, such as fires overall providing higher safety measures.

 

Modern Security Solutions

You could consider installing modern technology and security solutions into your period property, whilst retaining its grandeur and style. A requirement of home technology is to install alarm systems, alarm bell boxes and CCTV systems, all of these can be hidden if you do not want them to affect your house’s period style. Modern lighting is also ideal for preventing burglaries and you can find specialist security lights in a period style or adapt outdoor lighting with a standard movement sensor.

You could also consider fitting spy holes, door chains and bars to your period front door, carefully designed to retain your door’s style but also to prevent intruders. You could consider replacing the spy-hole with a security camera or smartphone app for peace of mind. Wireless technology can be an asset to period properties and can be easily fitted without damaging its original features. You can also use remote monitoring and viewing from your smartphone to identify visitors without affecting your personal security. It is also possible to automate security functions and control them remotely from your smartphone or computer. Discretely styled monitoring equipment and wireless technology can allow higher levels of security for your home, whilst retaining the period aesthetic and in some instances, you won’t fall under planning legislation.

 

Top Tips for Ensuring Home Security for your Period Property

  • Hide all keys, especially away from the letterbox as a device could be used to hook keys through.
  • Install a visual burglar alarm and outside lighting.
  • Ensure you have good rear and outside fencing to protect your property.
  • Improve natural surveillance at the front of your property, e.g. trim high hedges.
  • Mark your property with postcode and house number and register your property for free with Immobilise. The system where you can register your valuable to reduce crime.
  • Consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.
  • Avoid becoming a victim of a distraction burglary, if you’re unsure of who is at your door, don’t open it, check the identity of the caller by calling the company they are claiming to be from.
  • Use automatic timer-switches to turn on your lights and radios when it gets dark.
  • Use the Royal Mail’s ‘KeepSafe’ service, they keep your mail for up to two months while you’re away to prevent mail sitting on your doorstep as a sign that you’re away.

 

Home Surveillance

 

References
https://www.thevictorianemporium.com/publications/advice/article/home_security_tips_for_period_properties
https://www.londondoor.co.uk/modern-security-for-period-front-doors/
https://www.londondoor.co.uk/period-front-door-ideas-to-complement-traditional-features/
https://nhic.org.uk/2019/03/8-points-to-consider-when-choosing-a-new-front-door/
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/443221/BR_PDF_AD_Q_2015.pdf
https://www.ikslocksmiths.co.uk/blog/choosing-door-which-type-door-most-secure/
https://www.police.uk/crime-prevention-advice/burglary/
https://www.locksmiths.co.uk/faq/upvc-door-security/
https://www.vibrantdoors.co.uk/news/?p=2020
https://www.ikslocksmiths.co.uk/blog/front-door-security-tips/
https://www.safety.com/door-security/#gref
https://www.ikslocksmiths.co.uk/blog/upvc-door-locks-problems-prevention/
https://broadswordsecurity.com/news/how-to-secure-your-listed-building-heritage-property/

Smart Doorbells – Do they work? How Secure are they?

Smart doorbells are becoming increasingly popular due to the consumer market becoming more involved with the Internet of Things or IOT (noun: “the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data”).  For instance, asking your Alexa or Google Assistant to turn the lights off without having to move a muscle is an example of the Internet of Things as one device communicates with another via the internet to complete an action with the command of your voice.

Smart doorbells work in a very similar way as when activated (in numerous ways depending on the brand and model) it sends a notification onto your smart phone via the designated app. But are smart doorbells secure and how do they work?

 

How do Smart Doorbells Work?

Smart doorbells work much like a standard doorbell; they sit on the wall outside your home and have a button to press so visitors can ring your doorbell and alert you to their presence.

The difference is you can see who is visiting your home even if you’re not there as they are fitted with cameras and many are fitted with two-way audio systems. The majority of smart doorbells work with wiFi and link through an app on your smartphone or even through your smart home hub.

 

What are the Benefits of a Smart Doorbell?

Security. Above all smart doorbells help improve the security of your home as someone is always ‘home’ or rather you the homeowner can always monitor your home. Here are a few reasons below on the benefits of installing a smart doorbell.

Smart Doorbell Video Camera

The video camera element on a smart doorbell adds an extra layer to your home security as it allows you to see who is at your home without having to open the door. If there is a shifty character at the door, opening it will leave you vulnerable to a potential attack and home invasion. Additionally, if you are worried about a burglar approaching your door or if a burglar has attacked your home, you can show the police video evidence which will significantly increase the chances of them catching the culprit.

Furthermore, if you are expecting a delivery you can see exactly the time of day it was delivered and where the worker left your package. As well as that you can rewind the video to see if any friends or family visited whilst you were out and can see the exact time the kids get home when they ‘promised’ they were back before curfew.

Two-Way Audio

Many smart doorbells are fitted with a two-way audio system meaning you can talk to someone who is stood outside your home through your smart home and the smart doorbell device. Any potential burglars are more than likely to make a run for it if you speak to them through the smart doorbell once knowing that you can see and hear every move they are making.

Can’t make it to the door in time for the speedy delivery driver with your parcel? Not to worry, with the two-way audio you can let them know you are on your way to the door or if you’re not home tell them to leave it in a safe place to avoid a time consuming trip to the post office.

Smart Locks

Not only are smart doorbells compatible with your smart phone and smart home system they are also compatible with smart locks. Smart locks in connection with a smart doorbell unlock your door through facial recognition. For one this combination is great if you have your hands full and your keys are lost in the bottom of your bag and secondly, you can never get locked outside as you won’t need your keys!

For more information on smart locks check out our blog The Best Smart Locks for 2020 here!

 

What is the Best Smart Doorbell?

 

Ring Video Doorbell 2

Ring Video Doorbell 2 is one of original smart doorbells on the market that offers a wide range of features. We’ve chosen it as the best in our roundup as many other sites have included the Ring Video Doorbell 2 in their list as well as it achieving a 4* rating on Amazon.co.uk with 4,247 reviews at this current point.

1080p HD Video

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 features 1080p HD video with a live view feature and infrared night vision so that homeowners can manage their properties security with a crystal clear view.

Two-Way Audio

The two-way talk feature is very handy and includes noise cancellation so you and your visitor can communicate easily.

Motion Activation

With built-in motion sensors you can set up alerts to your smart phone, tablet or computer every time that the motion sensors are activated.

Alexa Activated

The Ring Doorbell 2 works in conjunction with Amazon Alexa including all Echo devices and Alexa enabled devices such as the Fire tablets.

Cloud Storage

It is possible to rewind, save and share the footage captured by the Ring smart doorbell with the additional monthly subscription of cloud storage via Ring. Prices start from £2.50 a month for one device.

Price

At the time of writing the Ring Video Doorbell 2 costs £119 at a discounted rate on Amazon. The usual price of this smart doorbell on Amazon is £179.

 

What is the best Budget Smart Doorbell?

 

360 D819 from Gearbest

We’ve chosen the 360 D819 as our best budget smart doorbell as it includes many of the top smart features of the Ring Video Doorbell 2 at a cheaper price without the need to pay monthly for cloud storage. The only difference we notice from the specs is that it doesn’t seem you can connect this smart doorbell to your wider smart home devices.

1080p HD Video

Like the Ring Video Doorbell 2 the 360 D819 features 1080p HD video quality and a 162 degree wide-angle view so you never miss a beat!

AI Facial Recognition

This feature is learnt after it sees a face over a number of times so that it can accurately detect family, friends or strangers.

Two-Way Audio

Again like the previous smart doorbell this one features two-way talk so that you can communicate with your visitors without having to open the door and even when you’re not home!

Motion Detection

A smart feature this doorbell offers is that if it suspects suspicious activity outside your door then the video shooting will be pushed to your phone so you can keep an eye on it.

Cloud Storage

What makes this device more affordable than its counterpart is that there is no need to pay a monthly subscription for the cloud as 48 hours of cloud storage is included free of charge. You can also buy an extra memory card up to 128GB to store the files on.

Price

The current asking price on Amazon for the 360 D819 is £84.95, including free delivery.

 

Keytek® Locksmiths Blog

Like our blog? Why not have a look at our others including What is a Smart Home? and The Best Smart Locks for 2020. We cover all things security in our blog, so whether you’re moving house and need some security tips, looking to update your home security or wanting safety tips over the holidays we have the blog for you!

 

https://www.techhive.com/article/3277467/best-video-doorbells.html
https://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/gadgets-tech/best-video-doorbells-a9135211.html
https://uk.gearbest.com/access-control/pp_009314368068.html

Video Doorbell 2

Love Lock Bridges Around the World!

Love is in the air this week and many couples around the world will be signifying their undying love by attaching a love lock with their initials engraved to a bridge and throwing the key into the water below; the love is then thought to be locked into place for eternity.

Love locks have become more and more popular over the last two decades with new love lock locations sprouting across the world. Take a look at our favourite 10 love lock bridges below!

 

Most Ljubavi, Vrnjačka Banja, Serbia

Most Ljubavi or the ‘Bridge of Love’ in Serbia has had love padlocks secured to its bridge dating back over 100 years. This according to many sources is where the love lock tradition began, today there are hundreds of love locks lining the bridge and the story attracts visitors to the bridge from across the world.

Where is the love lock bridge in Serbia?

The love lock bridge in Serbia is located over the river Vrnjacka reka in the Park Promenade.

Can you still put love locks on Most Ljubavi?

Yes, currently you can still put love locks on Most Ljubavi and you can buy locks nearby.

 

Pont des Arts Bridge, Paris, France

The padlock bridge in Paris is arguably the most famous love lock bridge in the world situated conveniently in the ‘City of Love’.  Although it may be the most famous, the Pont des Arts Bridge love padlocks are no more. With hundreds of love locks being added every year the bridge could not cope with the weight which amounted to around 45 tonnes and posed a danger to the historical bridge and the people who walked across.

Where is the love lock bridge in Paris?

The love lock bridge in Paris is situated over the river Seine close to the Notre-Dame de Paris.

Can you still put a lock on the bridge in Paris?

No, due to the weight of thousands of locks Paris officials removed them and put up Plexiglass to prevent more being added.

Why did Paris remove lovelocks?

In 2015 Paris removed the lovelocks to help maintain the structure of the bridge as previously railings on the bridge had fallen off and there was a danger the bridge could deteriorate further.

What happened to the locks on Lovers Bridge?

Paris auctioned the locks in bundles or as the whole railing when they removed them from the bridge. They donated the money between three charities that were helping refugees in Paris and raised a total of €250,000.

pont des arts bridge

 

Luzhkoz Bridge, Moscow, Russia

To combat the potential hazard of damaging the structure of the bridge, Moscow installed metal ‘trees’ along the centre of the bridge which has space for hundreds of locks to be secured onto. The love lock trees became so popular that the authorities extended the trees to along the entire street that sits next to the canal.

Many brides and grooms visit the love lock trees on their wedding day to lock in their love and celebrate with a traditional toast of vodka!

Where is the love lock bridge in Moscow?

The love lock bridge in Moscow sits over the river Moskva River in the district of Tset near the State
Tretyakov Gallery.

Can you still put love locks on the bridge in Moscow?

To prevent damage to the structure of the bridge Moscow officials installed metal structures in the shape of trees to encourage visitors to continue with the love lock tradition without causing any damage.

 

Mt. Huangshan, China

Possibly the highest location where you will find the love lock tradition is Mount Huangshan which is often described as the ‘loveliest mountain of China’. It is renowned for its beautiful scenery which is why it has probably attracted couples as a place to place their love locks to lock in their love.

The tradition supposedly started here as it was inspired by a true story of love between a forbidden couple who jumped into the valley below so that they could be together forever.

Where are the love locks on Mt. Huangshan?

The love locks on Mt. Huangshan are particularly found on Lotus Peak which is 1,800m above sea level.

Can you still put love locks on at Mt. Huangshan?

Yes, you can put love locks on the mountain, as long as you aren’t afraid of heights!

 

Hohernzollern Bridge, Cologne, Germany

The love locks started appearing on the Hohernzollern Bridge in 2008, in 2011 they were counted and found that 40,000 padlocks had been attached to the bridge. It has been estimated that, that number is now 8 times higher!

The bridge is mostly full with padlocks now but there is still a small section of space left that is located in the last third of the bridge opposite Cologne Cathedral. Can’t make the trip to Cologne? Not to worry, you can add your virtual love lock here: http://www.lovelockbridge.cologne/index.html#virtual

Where is the love lock bridge in Cologne?

The Hohenzollern Bridge crosses the Rhine River and is located in the Innenstadt district, buses, trains and trams also cross over this bridge.

Can you still put love locks on the bridge in Cologne?

Yes, you can still add your love locks to the Hohenzollern Bridge, if you can find room that is!

cologne germany bridge at night

 

N Seoul Tower, Central Seoul, South Korea

The N Seoul Tower or the Namsan Seoul Tower is a communication and observation tower based on Namsan Mountain in Seoul and is 236m above sea level. Like the rest many locals and tourists flock here to attach their love lock onto the railings of the observation deck. The N Seoul Tower encourages couples to leave their mark by selling the locks and have installed ‘heart’ benches that dip in the middle so that it forces the couple who sit upon closer together.

Instead of throwing the keys off the top of the tower as this poses as a danger to those below there is a post box at the top of the tower to post your key to keep the lock from being unlocked. Posting the key is a great idea that could be adopted by many other famous love lock bridges sites so that it does not end up in the sea and pose a threat to marine life.

Where are the love locks in Seoul?

The love locks in Seoul are found on the observation deck on the N Seoul Tower.

Can you still put love locks on N Seoul Tower?

Yes, you can still add love locks to the lock trees or the railings at the top of the N Seoul Tower.

N Seoul Tower South Korea

The Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge), Amsterdam

In Amsterdam there used to be a two love lock bridges. First there was the Magere Brug more commonly known as the Skinny Bridge in Amsterdam and the Staalmeesterbrug. From 2015 these locks have been removed due to the bridges not being able to operate properly as parts had been broken off.

Amsterdam is still a romantic city with its 165 canals and its ‘chocolate box’ houses. To symbolise your love with your partner in Amsterdam the tale goes that if you kiss your significant other whilst passing under the skinny bridge the love will last forever.

Where are the love locks in Amsterdam?

Previously the love locks were found on the Skinny Bridge in Amsterdam but they have since all been removed.

Can you still put love locks on the bridge in Amsterdam?

No, since 2015 Amsterdam officials have removed all locks in Amsterdam in worry that they will cause damage to the bridges like they did in Paris.

amsterdam skinny bridge

 

Butchers Bridge, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Butchers Bridge overlooks the river Ljubljanica in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. The bridge was designed in 1930 by architect Jože Plečnik and was finally opened in 2010. Since its opening Butchers Bridge has become a popular spot for tourists to attach their love padlock to the bridge.

Where are the love locks in Ljubljana?

The love lock bridge in Slovenia is called Butchers Bridge and crosses the river Ljubljanica facing the bigger ‘Dragon Bridge’.

Can you still put love locks on Butchers Bridge?

Yes, you are still allowed to put love locks on Butchers Bridge in Slovenia. This is one of the few bridges left where love locks are permitted and there is still some space left at this current time.

 

Brooklyn Bridge, New York, US

Brooklyn Bridge which opened in 1883 is part of the iconic New York City skyline and is a popular filming location for TV and film. Like many other love lock locations you are no longer allowed to attach love locks to Brooklyn Bridge.

The Department of Transportation said goodbye to the love locks after following suit of the Pont des Arts Bridge and after the weight of the locks snapped the street lights on the bridge due to the pressure and causing one of the lanes to close for two hours!

Where are the love locks in New York?

The love locks in New York used to be on Brooklyn Bridge in the Two Bridges district but have since been removed.

Can you still put love locks on Brooklyn Bridge?

No, like many other bridges around the world you can no longer put locks on Brooklyn Bridge. There is a fine of £100 for those caught locking their love locks.

Brooklyn Bridge New York

Ponte dell’Accademia, Venice, Italy

Like Paris, Venice is another romantic city that many couples travel to as a romantic gesture. There are many proposals and celebrations of anniversaries and to mark the special occasion what better way than to attach a love lock?

As you may have guessed like many other love lock bridges around the world it is illegal to do so in Venice. Like the other bridges across the world, Venice can’t take the weight of the sheer amount of love locks attached to the bridges which causes the historical structures to buckle under the weight.

Where are the love locks in Venice?

The love locks in Venice were on the Ponte dell’Accademia bridge over the Grand Canal outside the Accademia.

Can you still put love locks on the bridges in Venice?

No, it is not permitted to put love locks on the bridge in Venice as the structures are too weak to cope with the weight.

 

Love Lock Bridge Alternatives

The notion to lock in your love with your significant other with a love padlock is still a popular attraction for tourists. But with bridges and other historical structures unable to take the weight of thousands of love padlocks cities are turning to other ideas like the love lock trees in Moscow.

In Uruguay thousands of love locks have been secured onto a fountain placed on a street corner in Montevideo. So many so that the owner has renamed the fountain to ‘The Fuente de los Candados’ or the ‘Fountain of Locks’. In Toronto’s Distillery District they have turned the love locks into a piece of art by installing a metal railing with a heart shape and the word ‘Love’ spelled out for tourists to attach their love padlock.

 

The History of Love Lock Bridges

There are several tales and legends about where the history of love locks originated but most commonly the history refers back to Most Ljubavi, the love lock bridge in Serbia. The history is not one of love however but one of tragedy as a young couple fell in love and would meet on the bridge every night. Due to the war the man was sent away on duty for the military and whilst in Corfu fell in love with another woman.

The woman is believed to have died young with a broken heart and since young girls in Serbia would come to this bridge with their loves and engrave their initials onto a lock and lock it onto the bridge so that their love would be never ending.

 

The Future of Love Locks 2020

With many cities banning love locks not only as they are causing damage to the historical architecture but they are also adding to the excessive waste that is consuming earth. As the love lock tradition is to throw away the key often into the river below once locked.

The future of love locks is turning digital, there are a few websites out there that allow you to create a digital love lock. On these sites you can choose design and write a couple of lines and ‘attach’ these locks to ‘anywhere’ in the world. This allows couples to take part in the love lock tradition without causing any harm to the earth or risk being fined.

love locks around the world infographic

 

10 Most Famous Love Lock Locations

  • Most Ljubavi, Vrnjačka Banja, Serbia
  • Pont des Arts Bridge, Paris, France
  • Luzhkoz Bridge, Moscow, Russia
  • Huangshan, China
  • Hohernzollern Bridge, Cologne, Germany
  • N Seoul Tower, Central Seoul, South Korea
  • The Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge), Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Butchers Bridge, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Brooklyn Bridge, New York, US
  • Ponte dell’Accademia, Venice, Italy

 

https://locksafeguard.com/love-lock-bridge-locations/
https://theculturetrip.com/europe/serbia/articles/heartbreaking-origin-love-locks/
https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/love-padlocks-cologne-s-hohenzollernbruecke-bridge
https://www.connexionfrance.com/French-news/Paris-love-locks-raise-thousands-at-auction
https://www.easemytrip.com/travel/10-of-the-most-famous-love-lock-destinations-in-the-world.html
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/feb/14/the-lock-of-love-padlocks-on-bridges

Is Airbnb Safe?

 

Every two seconds around the world someone books a room through Airbnb! It is currently has an estimated worth of over $35 billion and has big hotel chains quaking in their boots! Unlike hotels where the property has been designed for the comfort of frequent guests, Airbnb allows hosts to list their own homes for others to stay in whilst they aren’t there. So how do you stay safe when booking and staying in an Airbnb property?

 

Safety Checks when Booking

 

1.      Read the Reviews

Reading the reviews from previous guests and how much they rated it will give you a good indication of what the property was like and whether there were any problems. Airbnb only lets previous guests write a review so although it isn’t 100% guaranteed as reviews are so individual you can probably count on them to describe their own experience true to words.

 

2.      Weather and Travel Advice Check

Do your research on your chosen destination before booking to ensure that it is safe to travel and double check again in the days and weeks leading up to your trip. It is especially important if you are travelling to somewhere where there may be strikes e.g. political strikes and somewhere where extreme weather happens frequently.

 

3.      Travel Insurance

Straight after booking take out travel insurance. Should you get injured on holiday you don’t want to be left with a sore head and an empty wallet!

 

4.      Secure Payment

When booking, always pay through Airbnb rather than paying the host directly. Airbnb have a secure payment system that has a ‘multi-layer defence strategy’. Going through Airbnb ensures you won’t be subject to scams and they are able to offer refunds in some circumstances. Airbnb states that they will never ask you to wire money across or prove credit card information so if this does happen to you, report it to Airbnb immediately and do not send and money or reveal the information.

 

Safety Checks on Arrival

 

1.      Carry out a Property Safety Check

When you arrive at your accommodation walk through the property and do a risk assessment. Make note of where all the emergency equipment is, including the fire alarms and fire extinguisher. If you can’t find something important, contact the host immediately to ensure your safety.

 

2.      Emergency Numbers

Write down the local police and hospital/ emergency room numbers and addresses.
In an emergency, most people panic and make silly mistakes. Be prepared with the numbers to hand so if the worst were to happen you save time trying to locate the correct place.

 

Airbnb Community Standards

Airbnb has set values of trust they expect their hosts and guests to follow and have established them into five standards. These are – safety, security, fairness, authenticity and reliability. You can read these more in-depth here: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/trust

 

Keytek®

 

Like what you read? Take a look at all of our other blogs for all things security based!

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/

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is a night for fun and game, with great costumes and lots of sweets. However if your children are going out for Halloween then you need to take some precautions to make sure everyone has a safe time as well as a fun time.

 

It will be Dark! 

 

  • Bright Costumes– wearing dark colours makes it harder for your child to be seen at night, so try dressing your kids up in bright costumes and add some reflective stuff to dark costumes.

 

  • Make it glow– A perfect way to jazz up someone’s costume is to add some glow sticks, bike lights or reflective tape. Not only does this add some fun to the costume but also makes your child easier to be seen.

 

  • No Masks!– Putting a mask on your child may obstruct their view in the dark, try using face paints instead. This means your child will be able to see cars when crossing the road and save them bumping into other trick or treaters.

Is their costume safe?

 

  • Make sure it fits– Be sure that your child’s costume is not too long for them, walking up and down the street in the dark with a hem that too long is a recipe for disaster.

 

  • Do they have allergies?– Make sure your child is not allergic to the face paint you want to use, so they don’t have a reaction before they go out. It’s also important to make sure they wash it all off properly before bed.

 

  • Is it Flammable?– This one is a biggie. There are lots of candles out on Halloween, and if a cape or flowy costume gets caught on the flame then it can be very serious. Make sure any costume you buy has the CE mark that means its flame-retardant. We also suggest using lights instead of naked flames to light any pumpkins or other decorations.

 

Stay safe on the street 

  • Teeny-tiny Trick or Treaters-anyone young or not old enough to wonder the streets by themselves must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

 

  • Go as a group– older children should go out in groups, which route they take should be approved by and adult and they need to stick to it. Use phones to check in regularly and set a curfew for them to be home by.

 

  • Go to Halloween friendly houses– not everyone celebrates Halloween, only go to houses that you know, or that have Halloween decorations outside.

 

  • Never go in– Children should always stay on the doorstep, they should never enter a house of someone they don’t know.

 

  • Follow the rules of the road– children should cross the road carefully, using crossings where possible. If you are driving then you need to go slow and be vigilant.

 

What’s in the bag?

  • Check the Sweets– have a look through all the sweets your child has collected to make sure they are all safe. Any that look tampered with or homemade should be thrown away

 

  • Food Allergies– Make sure there are no sweets that will set off your child’s allergies, and if you’re not sure, just throw them away.

 

  • Spare a thought for teeth- Sweets are extremely sugary, make sure you child brushes their teeth properly after eating them.

 

 

Have a fun and safe Halloween!