How Not to Lose Your Keys in 2020

Losing your keys is one of the last things that you want to happen in everyday life; you might be locked out of your car, running late to an appointment or caught out in the rain, which undoubtedly, would have a negative impact on your day. However, there is a silver lining to this situation, as like most things it can be avoided through some nifty gadgets and helpful tips!

 

Can keys be tracked?

Most key fobs do not hold within them the technology to track them; however you can get some great gadgets that will allow you to track your keys. These devices can often be attached to your key ring and be activated and tracked through an app on your phone.

 

Is there an app to find lost keys?

Some tracking devices, such as the Amazon Tile work with an app on your phone that will allow you to locate the most recent location that your valuable has been pinpointed in and if in range will allow you to send a push to sound an alarm on the device attached to your valuable.

 

What is the best tracking device for keys?

Amazon Tile on Keys

Our top pick for a key finder device is the Amazon Tile.

This nifty gadget can attach to just about anything; your key ring, your backpack and even your purse! Using the smartphone app, you can locate any nearby valuable that you might have misplaced by the Tile Mate playing a loud tune to help you find it one prompted.

But what if your missing valuable is out of range? Have no fear, the Tile Mate tracked and pinpoints previous locations so you will be able to see where it was last pinpointed, but it doesn’t stop there. Through the extensive Tile community you can report an item missing on the app and if it is close to one of the over 5 Million Tile users can report its location to help you find it. Likewise, should you lose your phone, simply double tap the Tile button on any Tile device to make your phone ring, even on silent.

However, what is probably the best feature is that it is compatible with Alexa, so should you lose your keys down the back of the sofa, you can simple ask Alexa to find your keys activating the loud tune from your Tile device.

With 3 ways of securing your valuables, through adhesive dots; allowing even items such as your camera to be secure, the thread Tiles; which can threaded onto just about anything, or the slimline card version; allowing for it to be discreetly slid into your purse or wallet, whatever possession you would like secure there is a version that will fit you!

Buy the Essentials Combo on Amazon for £58.93, which includes 2x Adhesive Tiles, 1x Thread Tile and a Slimline Tile.

 

What is the best budget tracking device for keys?

TrackR Pixel key tracker on a set of keys

If you don’t want to spend quite as much for the Amazon Tile but still want all of the great features then the TrackR Pixel is a very agreeable second.

With many of the same features as the Amazon Tile with the added bonus of being able to see the last several places that were identified and not just the last one, giving you more options to search should you lose something out and about. Another great feature of this device is the light up LED alongside the activated sound; this means that you’ll be able to find your keys in a flash.

For the more than affordable price of £13.99 from Amazon, will provide you with 3 tracking devices in 3 different colours.

5 Top Tips on How Not to Lose your Keys

 

1. Give your Keys a Home

Setting aside a set place for your keys will help to stop misplacing them when at home. A bowl or a set of hooks on the wall are easy places that you can throw your keys on when you get home. So when you get that sudden rush of panic ‘where are my keys’, you know that you would have put them in their designated space and

However, do keep in mind this space should be kept away from any windows to avoid ‘key fishing’, from burglars who may notice them when walking by.

 

2. Make Them Glow

Specialist luminescent paint will make anything you paint glow in the dark! Try painting one of your own keys, so if you’re searching in the dark you can easily spot them, with the added benefit that you can easily identify them in the day as well.  

If you rent a property, make sure that you don’t paint a key that isn’t yours as your landlord might not take kindly to painting their key, in this case try painting a bike lock key or another item on your key ring.

 

3. Big, Bold Keyrings

Decorative keyrings can be your best friend as they can make your keys easier to find at the bottom of your bag or when searching around the house, but they also make them easily identifiable. If you were to lose your keys, you could speak to someone of authority in the area you have lost them. Talk to a police officer or a shop manager, and enquire as to whether a set of keys has been handed in. If they have you can easily describe and identify them as yours by the unique and bold key rings you have.

 

4. Carry them in Secure Pockets

The most common way that your keys are stolen is through open pockets and bags. An expert thief would be able to grab something from your pocket or bag without you knowing in seconds. To prevent this make sure you put your keys in a pocket that is closed by a popper or zip and keys that are in your bags should be in an internal zipped compartment. This will reduce your risk of losing your keys through pick-pocketing.

 

5. Invest in a Bluetooth Key Finder

Unfortunately we are all bound to lose our keys at one point or another, however by investing in one of the products we have listed or even another one you have found that’s right for you can save you stress and time.

These products can help you find your keys faster and with more ease than ever before, so if you did lose your keys you’d be thankful you invested in a finder.

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/

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/

Bonfire Night Safety Tips

Bonfire Night Safety

Firework night is a great time to enjoy fireworks, sparklers and a bonfire party with family and friends. However it’s also a time of year where people can get serious injuries. Read our safety guide and make sure your family and friends are safe while having a good time.

Firework Facts-

 

  • Fireworks can travel at a speed of 150mph, the same speed as some aeroplanes and supercars!!

 

  • Three sparklers burning together will have the same heat as a blowtorch used to join metal.

 

  • It is illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under the age of 18.

 

  • Throwing a firework is a criminal offence and you can be fined up to £5000 for doing so.

 

  • In recent years there has been up to 990 injuries caused by fireworks in October and November.

 

Firework Safety 

 

  • Only buy fireworks that carry the CE mark.

 

  • Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back.

 

  • Never return to a firework once it’s lit.

 

  • Direct any rocket fireworks away from people and buildings.

 

  • Make sure to read all the instructions provided with the fireworks and follow them correctly.

 

  • Keep fireworks away from naked flames.

 

Sparkler Safety

 

  • Never give a sparkler to a person under 5

 

  • Always hold sparklers at arm’s length while they are being lit.

 

  • Only hold one sparkler at a time.

 

  • Do not wave sparklers close to other people.

 

  • Do not hold a baby and hold a sparkler at the same time.

 

  • Always hold a sparkler horizontally and away from your face.

 

  • Always wear gloves when handling sparklers, to protect your hands.

 

  • When the sparkler goes out, be sure to put it in a bucket of cold water.

 

 

Bonfire Safety

 

  • Appoint one person in charge of the bonfire.

 

 

  • Children should be supervised at all times.

 

  • Never pour petrol or paraffin onto a bonfire- it’s safer to use fire lighters.

 

  • Keep a bucket of water close by in case on an accident or emergency.

 

  • Make sure to tie back long hair and not wear loose clothing.

 

  • Choose a site away from wooden fences and sheds.