Posted on March 23rd, 2018 | 0 Comments
Now that huge advancements have been made in residential and commercial locksmith based security, there’s a huge variety of electronic door locks available on the market. This wide variety of locks come in an equally large variety of makes, models, sizes, and boast a huge amount of different features. In this brief blog post, the home security experts at Chicago Locksmiths will help you determine what the best electronic door locks for your home or business are.
Toledo Locks Electronic Jaen Lever
This relatively underdog lock brand offers many different types of electronic access options at a budget friendly price. This lock boasts solid anti lock bumping features, along with traditional key, electronic keypad, and infrared remote access options. It’s somewhat hard to install, and is not a smart lock, but rather simply an electronic lock - but a good one at that.
LockState RemoteLock 5i WiFi Electronic Deadbolt
This fantastic lock for property managers can work either as a deadbolt or lever lock, and can be programmed with up to 1000 customizable user codes in order to maintain key control. It has a privacy mode feature that can disable all access codes besides a master code, and has lockout functionality that is engaged if the wrong code is entered 5 times in a row. This lock can work even though power outages, and has sleep mode features. It’s easily installed, and can be seamlessly integrated into existing WiFi networks via a router.
This popular lock brand makes this high quality electronic lock that offers a superior level of security compared to others. It contains a Grade 1 deadbolt that’s resistance to forced entry attempts, has a built in alarm, and can be operated with a traditional key or a keypad - as well as voice commands. The lock can store upto 30 customizable user access codes, and it’s ease of installation varies on what the existing door hardware is. The Schlage smart lock comes complete with deadbolt, so it cannot be paired with existing locks, but rather it will replace it.
Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock Gen. 2
This superior deadbolt has improved security due to its military grade PKI encryption that protects it from cyber attack as well as smart key technology that protects from lock bumping or lock picking. It’s easy to install, and works with a Bluetooth mobile application. It can additionally be integrated with a whole slew of other smart home automation devices including the Nest Thermostat and the Ring Video Doorbell.
KABA Oracode 660 Electronic Keyless Lock
This popular choice for property managers that is available as a cylindrical or mortise lockset. It can be programmed with up to 128 customizable user access codes, with full time sensitive code features allowing for easy access for people like cleaners or pet sitters. Along with it’s access/lock control options, it’s very easy to install, and is more of a traditional electronic lock than a smart lock - but it can still be integrated for remote access through a web based keyless access system available in it’s upgraded version.
Posted on March 18th, 2018 | 0 Comments
When your home or business absolutely needs to be protected with the utmost level of strong security, it’s essential to understand all the variable factors of high security locks in order to determine what the best locks for your needs are. In this brief blog post, the residential security and commercial security experts at Chicago Locksmiths will help you understand exactly how to choose the best high security locks for your needs.
You want the lock cylinder to be made of a complicated internal makeup, reducing the chances that a burglar will be able by using a bump key, lock impressor, or picking. The more complicated your lock cylinder is, the fewer amount of people will even attempt to try to break through your security. If you’re looking for a keypad only door lock, you don’t even have to worry about lock cylinders.
You want the lock to be made of as much strong metal as possible. Since parts of the door need to be absent when the door lock is installed, requiring cross-boring, the door will be vulnerable around the lock hardware area. The best high security door locks add metal content that help protect this vulnerable area of your door. You can usually tell if a lock has a good amount of metal just by holding it in your hand. Heavy locks don’t utilize large gaps or plastic parts to reduce manufacture cost - while sacrificing security. Any good high security lock needs to have heavy and strong metal in spades.
You want your lock to have hardened steel bolts that can resist bludgeoning attacks like battering, sledge hammers, shoulder strikes, or kicks. Bolts should also be resistant to cutting with tems like hacksaws or reciprocating saws.
Criminals often utilize drilling as a breakin method. You want to ensure that your high security lock has set screws and a shear line protected with hardened ball bearings, and/or rotating anti-drill plates to help protect them from the risk of being drilled.
You want to ensure that you buy a high security lock that has patented keyways in order to maintain key control and reduce the amount of people that might be able to use your lock. You’re definitely going to want to know the right way to hide your spare keys (not under your mats!) but it definitely is an essential to ONLY EVER use locks that have special patented keyways.
High security locks should never have bypass methods like thumbturns - they are simply easy entry methods, and basically allow for the canceling out of the complex security enforcing structure of a lock allowing potential burglars to exploit a lock’s weakness. Make sure to research whether or not the high security lock that you are using has a bypass method.
Posted on February 18th, 2018 | 0 Comments
The expert residential locksmiths at Chicago Locksmiths regularly perform lockout services for our valued customers. There’s a few strategies, however, that homeowners can tackle when trying to regain entry into their homes that can be attempted before contacting a locksmith. In this blog post, we’ll detail what the first steps you should take are for when you experience a lockout.
Finding Spare Keys
If you have a pair of spare keys in your possession - or perhaps if a friend, family member, super, or property manager does - try and retrieve it. It’s always a good idea to leave a spare house key to a trusted neighbor to watch over for this exact reason. Sometimes other people hide spare keys on their property (although we advise really making sure that you hide them in a secure spot that burglars wouldn’t be able to find.) If you have spare keys anywhere, try and find them.
Other Entry Modes
There’s usually other ways into homes besides the front door (for better or worse.) If you find yourself locked out, look to see if any of your windows are open, unlocked, and accessible, or if your back door is open. In these cases you might be hoping for an easy alternative entry method - and if there is, it will serve you well in this time. But after getting in and getting your keys back, make sure to copy spare keys so you don’t find yourself in this situation again, and also make sure to plug up these holes in your home security so that burglars can’t enter your home the same way that you just did.
Try slipping a tool through the gap of the door to manipulate the interior thumbturn latch to open up the door. This won’t work with doors that have double sided deadbolts, and care should be taken not to push the door or lock out of alignment. If this won’t work, see if this strategy could work with any sort of windows or back doors if those are also not open - but be careful not to damage your locks with this too.
Contacting a Professional Locksmith
If you find that none of the above strategies work, contact Chicago Locksmiths. Our team can use the best methods to find you lockout solutions, whether it be making you a brand new working key, opening your door with bump keys or lock picks, or repairing your broken or malfunctioning locks. Contact us today.
Posted on February 23rd, 2018 | 0 Comments
Picture this scenario if you will: you’ve just finished a long day of work or grocery shopping, and find that you’ve accidentally locked yourself out of your car. This is a stressful situation made even more aggravating if you’ve had a long day or happen to be parked in the middle of nowhere - and if you find yourself in it, you might be finding yourself stressed over figuring out a way to get yourself into your car as soon as possible. This is never a good approach. The automotive lockout experts at Chicago Locksmiths have prepared a short list on the top reasons NOT to attempt to break into your own car during a lockout; instead, contact our team to get instant, safe assistance with your car lockout problem.
Amateur attempts at car unlocking or key retrieval could lead to physical harm from tools like crowbars or flat headed screwdrivers. Prying doors requires a great deal of force, and of course, when you’re working with industrial metal there’s almost always a risk. Don’t compound your stress over a lockout by risking physical injury.
Damage to your Vehicle
You will likely break your vehicle’s door lock, window mechanism, or even the window pane itself! At the very least, you’re highly likely to scratch up your car’s paint job or dent it’s body - both of which aren’t exactly cheap fixes. Don’t risk it.
Passersby might assume that you aren’t the owner of the car, and that you’re a car thief. If a cop sees you or is summoned to your location, they might think so as well - and if your registration or wallet is in the car, you have no way to prove that it’s yours until you retrieve it. Factoring in the high levels of stress and tension you already feel, it’s just not a good idea to get the police involved.
By being stranded outside your car, you are vulnerable to the advances of burglars or potential carjackers who are way less worried about the costs of breaking through your car’s windows. If you’re left locked out and feel unsafe, call Chicago Locksmiths for instant assistance.
It’s Just Not Easy for Amateurs
Most recently made cars are outfit with anti theft technology that poses a great advantage to automobile owners - this technology makes it much harder for amateurs to get inside a locked car, so even if you try try and try, and don’t damage yourself or your car, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to get in without the assistance of someone like the expert lock technicians employed by Chicago Locksmiths
Posted on January 23rd, 2018 | 0 Comments
Do you want to maintain your Chicago home security, or that of your business? Doing so includes ensuring that all areas of your property are secure, including outdoor sheds. Regardless of the specific use or purpose of your shed, they all require the security that strong locks provide - but choosing the proper one can be complicated. Here's a guide from the expert residential locksmith at Chicago Locksmiths on how to choose the best type of shed lock.
Padlocks are usually used on sheds, since any size or shape of door can be fitted with a padlock with the assistance of a hasp. Once a shed door has a hasp in place, all you need is a working padlock - but it’s still necessary to make sure the hasps themselves are secure. Make sure to inspect the hasp once the door is secure - the hasp should never show any of its screws. If the hasp isn’t secure, it won’t make any difference what type of shed locks you have. Since the shed is outdoors, you also want to ensure that you have a hasp or lock that can withstand weathering. Locks or bolts that are rusted can cause sheds to be vulnerable, so make sure that you get a weatherproof padlock.
Deadbolts aren’t always ideal choices for shed locks. It’s slim chances that you have the proper kind of door or door jamb for the correct installation of a deadbolt. But, sometimes garden sheds or similar structures can have normal door locks. If this is the type of structure that you’re working with you can look for garden shed deadbolts - but the door has to be thick enough to handle a strike plate to secure the deadbolt itself. You will have to cross bore into the shed’s door; remember, that a deadbolt is only useful when it is properly installed.
The majority of shed doors are too thin for deadbolts, but you might be able to use a rim lock (or rim latch) even if the door is thin, making them a widely used option for shed locks. Rim latch hardware can be positioned outside of the door itself on the inside of the shed - however, in order to use them you will need to make sure the shed door lock is secured on the crossbeam on the door’s framework. Just keep in mind that if the door itself is incredibly thin, it may interfere with the efficacy of any type of shed door lock that you choose to use, as something as simple as blunt force can damage it.
Posted on January 23rd, 2018 | 0 Comments
Chicago Locksmiths excels at providing vehicular locksmith services to the entirety of the Windy City. In order to do so, we need to be experts at all aspects of car security. Here’s a brief guide prepared by our expert locksmiths on how to ensure that your cars are protected from theft.
Keeping Doors Locked
Make sure that your car doors are locked at all times including when you are driving. Car doors cannot be broken through with the exact same methods that door locks can be, but that doesn’t mean that car thieves don't’ have a ton of tricks up their sleeves to steal your vehicle. There’s many car thieves that are crafty and pay attention to every opportunity they have to steal a car, including car jacking, so make sure your doors are always locked.
Never Leave your Car Fully Unattended
Try to park in well lit areas where they will always be in somebody's line of sight, as car thieves usually prefer to attempt stealing cars parked in isolated areas where their actions aren’t visible.
Don’t leave your car idly running
Car thieves often wait for an opportunity where they find a car idly running as it’s one of the smoothest ways to jack a car. Make sure to adopt the practice of turning your vehicle off and stowing all your property away if you’re moving away from your car at any moment- and make sure to take the keys with you!
Roll up your windows
Windows are one of the most common access points for car thieves, so make sure that they are always rolled all the way up when your vehicle is parked. This is a big mistake, as it gives thieves direct entrance to your cars, where if given enough time they can forcibly start the car’s engine.
Make sure that you have a car alarm installed or already present in your vehicle to help notify you or anyone in the vicinity of your vehicle that something shady might be going on. Most modern cars have keyless entry remotes paired with alarms - and you can even improve security through the use of a cruciform lock.
Make sure to have a vague idea of what your route getting to destinations are so that you are more prepared, and can be protected from the eventuality of a car thief catching you off guard when you’re stranded in a weird area trying to figure out directions. Of course, it isn’t always possible to have a detailed itinerary planned, but you really should do so when you can.
Make sure that your car’s door locks - and the lock’s cylinders, alarm systems, key fobs, and linked alarm systems are working properly. Without proper maintenance, it’s likely that eventually one of these systems will require repair, and without maintenance, you won’t even know if this is the case. Make sure to pay attention to how various systems of your car work as they function.
Don’t Keep Valuables visible in your car
When parking or leaving your car for any amount of time, make sure to place all valuables or objects that could inspire or tempt a potential car thief in your car’s trunk so that they are not visible. Sometimes, car thieves will do so much as to smash a car’s window simply to access objects that they’ve visually clocked as profitable to steal.
Posted on December 8th, 2017 | 0 Comments
If your key continues to turn inside your door lock beyond the normal turning distance it can signal that there’s a minor to major malfunction occurring within your lock mechanism. This situation can call for a lock repair, or potentially a full lock replacement depending on the gravity of the error. Here’s a guide prepared by the experts at Chicago Locksmiths as to the various reasons your keys might be turning inside your door lock.
Broken Lock Tailpieces
The tailpiece is a major element that allows the lock’s latch or bolt to be activated - if the lock or latch cannot be engaged, the lock simply won’t work. Issues with tailpieces usually involve a disconnection that makes a separation between the two sides of the locks that makes it impossible for the tailpiece to properly rotate and activate the lock.
Faulty Door Installation
This usually occurs after DIY attempts to install doors - and highlights the importance of getting a professional to carry out all door installations. If the tailpiece cannot be properly connected to the rest of the lock mechanism due to a misplacement/misshaping of the door itself, it, again, cannot properly turn and activate the lock itself.
Broken Lock Cams
The Cam, like the tailpiece, helps activate the lock’s bolt or latch - and although they are often conflated within locksmith vernacular, they are actually different parts that carry out similar actions. The cam is a piece of hard metal or plastic attached to the back end of the lock’s cylinder and can motion the lock bolt to disengage or engage - and if it’s broken, it will not be able to either turn in its intended direction, or catch the lock properly, resulting in your key turning weirdly in the lock.
Use of the incorrect Cam
Since cams, like tailpieces, are 100% necessary parts of locks, if, somehow, the incorrect type or size of cam has been used within your lock cylinder, it will not properly ‘catch’ or allign in order to properly engage the lock (usually since it’s too small and cannot reach it.) This is just another example of the issues that can be avoided by having your locks installed and serviced by an expert licensed professional.
Posted on December 18th, 2017 | 0 Comments
Mailbox burglary is more common than publically estimated - and it can be quite serious, as if valuable information is stolen from your mail, you can experience identity theft and a whole slew of stressful theft related situations. Here’s a guide to the important facts that you absolutely need to know before you install a lock on your mailbox - or ask a licensed commercial locksmith expert at Chicago Locksmiths to help you do so.
What type of lock will you use?
You first need to decide which lock device method you will use - from locksets and padlocks to locking mailboxes. Padlocks aren’t usually well suited for locking mailboxes, and can only work on a few that have a portion that a padlock can be successfully attached to. Locksets for mailbox locks are usually similar to filing cabinet locks, and they are usually also inferior to the locks used on doors in residential or commercial contents, like mortises or deadbolts. You can also choose to investigate locking mailboxes that have a built in, set in lock in the front - these sometimes allow your mail to be sealed in once placed inside through an access panel, like a coin bank.
How will you get to your mail?
This depends on what kind of lock you install with your mailbox. You need to make sure that the lock doesn’t prevent mailpeople from being able to place mail in your box, but also that it’s not so weak that random people can access it too. The best approach is to have a mail deposit slot, as mentioned above, and another entry method that allows for you to access your mail - usually being a set in lockset, but in some situations, padlocks can also be used, especially on outdoor mailboxes.
What will the mailbox and it’s lock be made of?
Since many mailboxes are situated outside, it’s important that they are made of weather resistant material that has longevity and durability in mind. You need to make sure that you also install with materials that are tamper proof, and cannot be forcibly opened up or even cut through. Steel is a fantastic option.
What volume and frequency of mail will you be receiving?
The size of your mailbox has to be determined by what kind of mail you expect to receive, as well as how much of it, and how often you will receive it. If you simply expect letters once in a long while, a small size will be sufficient. If you receive regular periodicals and magazines, you want a slightly larger size that can accommodate the deliveries without bending them. And, if you regularly receive delicate or large parcels through the mail, you will want to consider getting an official Post Office box, or installing a large mail retrieval access point - which will, in turn, require a larger lock.
Posted on November 18th, 2017 | 0 Comments
Home upgrades aren’t just great times to improve the aesthetics and comfort of your home - they are also fantastic opportunities to improve your home security infrastructure! Here’s a guide prepared by Chicago Locksmiths about all the different security measures that you can take into consideration when you are undergoing a home upgrade.
Doors are one of the most commonly upgraded parts of a home. Without strong doors, your security is incredibly weak. When upgrading your home, assess how well your doors can hold up to physical attack. This includes all aspects of the door including it’s hinges and it’s frame. Of course, you’re going to want to consider exactly what’s behind the doors as well when you assess how important it’s upgrade is.
Door and Window Locks
This is an essential part of home upgrades unless you already have an incredibly strong deadbolt lock. You want to make sure that your door locks not only help keep unwanted people out, but don’t place people inside at risk during an emergency where they may have to quickly exit the property. Window lock upgrades should also be taken into consideration after testing the strength of your window locks - especially those that are easily accessible from outside.
Window films are thin protective layers that help increase the security and resistance of glass windows, elevating your security. They prevent burglars from being able to break through your windows to enter your property. They are hard to detect from outside and help make windows shatterproof - but should not be used on windows that are meant to be potentially used as auxiliary emergency exits.
Surveillance cameras can heighten your security when placed outside your front door, allowing you to monitor and maintain your home security. CCTV cameras help deter potential thefts or burglaries, and even a fake mock camera does a great job as a deterrent.
Every home needs a well functioning alarm system. THey help boost the security measures of your building, and often allow you to monitor the status of your home from far away - notifying you if there’s unapproved entry into your home, and automatically contacting the authorities.
Window and Door Sensors
Like alarm systems, these sensors notify you or the authorities if doors or windows are opened or tampered with in an unapproved context. They often come together with CCTV camera packages, but can also be purchased as stand alone equipment - and they really do help increase the layers of your home security. They are made up of a simple circuit that triggers an alarm when the circuit is broken. One great benefit of these sensors is that they are very difficult to spot, and are small and subtle.
Posted on November 23rd, 2017 | 0 Comments
As with home security, the best practices for retail security involve placing multiple security layers on top of one another. Here’s a great guide as prepared by the experts at Chicago Locksmith to building an ideal security infrastructure and maintaining ideal security practices at your retail location.
Assess the Retail Layout
First analyze the layout of your location to help you figure out what security solutions should be implemented that won’t interfere with your existing security layers. Note access points, areas where items of value are stored, cash, and all exits. You want to structure your retail security according to a framework that works best with the type of business that you are maintaining.
Re Enforcing Access Points
Fortify your entrances and exits - maintaining and improving door locks, and considering their durability and longevity. Make sure to invest in high grade commercial door locks - we recommend mortise locks in commercial settings. Additionally, install window and door grilles on your property alongside with high security padlocks, and window security film.
Surveillance cameras are an absolute must, allowing you to monitor customers and employees, minimizing loss of property. Install surveillance cameras on the entrances and exits of your store, near your Point of Sale systems, cash areas, and really any areas that anything could go wrong. Make sure to install them close enough to get a clear picture, but far away enough so that random people cannot tamper with them.
Install alarms and sensors at all access points to prevent unauthorized access. You can also choose to install RFID alarm tags onto your products (ideal for clothing) that can alert you if anybody tries to grab a product and simply walk outside. This is an ideal use of security layering, as it provides protection from actions that a security camera might not catch.
Ensure that your lighting allows your security camera maximum capture coverage, as well as that all points of entrance, exit, and egress are well lit (for both security and safety purposes.) Motion sensor lights are a great way to cut your energy bill.
Ensure that your Point of Sale systems are protected on both a physical and data based level. Physically bolt down your POS systems so they can’t be picked up and taken away, and lock all your cash drawers so that someone can’t just open them up. Cybersecurity is essential for preventing hacking and ensuring that all credit card information remains secure.
Make sure that you implement key control as well as a security hierarchy in your business, in order to help restrict access to sensitive areas, or foster an environment where you will be more likely to notice any strange goings on. For example, only cashiers and managers should be able to log into a POS terminal giving them access to the cash. And only people approved to shut down the business at night or open it up during the morning should be given a key to provide entrance to the business when nobody is there.
Cash Handling Protocols
Set an official system of rules and process for handling all cash during the day, and at the day’s end, to ensure that no money goes missing before it ends up in your safe. As a general rule, it’s always best to implement as simple a series of rules among as few people as possible in order to guarantee compliance