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  • Power Outages And Security

    Posted on April 27th, 2017 | 0 Comments

    Both urban and suburban power outages cause major detrimental effects to security. Criminals consider blackouts an opportunity to commit crimes that they normally would be too scared to attempt normally - and it’s incredibly important to stay fully prepared, one step ahead of the criminals, by letting the experts at Chicago Locksmith help prime your home for full levels of security.

     

    Chicago Locksmith can be the Light you need in a Blackout

    The darkness during blackouts can be incredibly scary when you consider the amount of burglars, muggers, and looters who run rampant during these days. At Chicago Locksmith, we maintain a constant dedication to protecting your home or business during these times. In order to protect your property during blackouts - and every other day - you can rely on our locksmith services which include:

    • High Security Locks
    • Biometric & Digital Locks
    • Security Systems
    • CCTV Surveillance
    • Safes
    • Buzzers
    • Wireless Locks

     

    24/7 Locksmith Service

    If your area suffers a blackout, and you experience a security breach, Chicago Locksmiths is available 24/7 to provide you emergency assistance. Of course, if you feel that you are experiencing a break-in, contact the authorities first, but if you want to help continue protecting your property, contact us for instant locksmith service that can help bolster and reinforce your property to help protect you from the risks associated with blackouts.

     

    Staying Prepared During Blackouts

    Besides calling Chicago Locksmith, if your area experiences a blackout, you can stay safe by following these easy tips.

    • Keep a supply kit full of flashlights, first aid materials, food, a battery powered radio, flashlights, and water in a location that will be easily accessible in the dark.
    • Conserve your vehicle’s gas in case you might need to use it.
    • Have portable, battery charging packs for your phone - or car operational USB chargers, in case the outlet electricity doesn’t work.

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  • Neighborhood Security

    Posted on April 28th, 2017 | 0 Comments

    When most people move into a brand new neighborhood, they inquire about its level of safety. There’s fantastic new tools for people to help inquire about, address, and analyze neighborhood based security issues in their area. One of these tools is the SpotCrime Crime Map, which aggregates all local crimes reported in any given area. Crimes are shown through icons positioned on the map - and the icons expand when clicked to show the type of crime committed, as well as its date and time.

     

    One reason that you might want to track the kinds of crime committed in your area, as well as their frequency, is so that you can stay prepared and take the necessary steps to prevent becoming a victim of these crimes. SpotCrime allows you to do so by having alerts sent to your email or social media platform, so you will get instant alerts if a crime is committed in the vicinity of your home.

     

    Neighbors

    Make sure to meet your neighbors. Many areas have block parties, yard sales, a communal block watch patrol, or other such events and groups. Having a sense of community in your area helps prevent crime even more so than police much of the time, because community members look out for one another. Even something as benign as a communal sports game can helps strengthen these community bonds. Your neighbors are the ones who will keep tabs on your home when you’re away - and they can notify you if they witness any suspicious activity going on by your home after you leave on vacation.

     

    Beautification

    Having your area regularly maintained can help deter thieves from feeling like they can strike there. Broken windows and graffiti send the unconscious message to people that there’s a lax aspect of neighborhood solidarity, and that the area is more vulnerable to crime. Of course, not everyone has the physical means to keep their property looking pristine - so it’s important to help your neighbors to sp; it’s not only the right thing to do, but it promotes a sense of community that can help protect you as well.

     

    Support Local Businesses and Institutions

    Empty storefronts and abandoned businesses also contribute to crime. By supporting local businesses, you can keep a sense of healthy community alive in your area. Empty storefronts lead to vandalism, which can in turn lead to more extreme and harsh kinds of crime - while also depreciating the property value of your area.

     

    Keep Watch and Protect your Neighbors

    Be a good neighbor. If you see anything that looks strange or suspicious, notify your neighbors. You can look out for eachother. It’s possible that your neighbors aren’t even aware that their windows are broken or have had a break-in - and looking out for those in your community goes a long way to exponentially increase the level of security in your neighborhood.

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  • Gun Safe Safety Basics

    Posted on April 18th, 2017 | 0 Comments

    There’s many reasons to maintain a gun safe at your home or business, as it helps you maintain strict control of who can access your firearms. This is a fully necessary precaution once you think about the amount of people that might pass through your home on a regular everyday basis.

     

    Most states have strong laws that require access restriction for firearms. This also provides insurance against the possibility of losing your guns during a break-in - which can provide it’s own slew of anxieties and severe dangers.

    Safes and Firearm Insurance

    Safes are a good alternative to firearm insurance, as insurance offers requires an appraisal, a rider to cover the firearm’s value - and it won’t cover the replacement value in the end, just the market value. If it’s a family gun, you will not be able to recover the sentimental value of the gun. Additionally, many insurance companies even require that guns be kept inside alarmed and certified safes.

     

    Gun safes last for life. Other items of furniture can wear out or go out of style - this even includes cars or tools! This is why it’s necessary to buy a size of gun safe that can practically last for your entire life - you can’t just buy one that fits your current firearms, but has extra room in case you eventually buy more. Gun safes are usually bolted to the floor - which might not be a possibility if you live in a home that you’re renting.

    Fireproof Gun Safes and Additional Security Measures

    It’s also necessary to make sure that your gun safe also operates as a fire safe. If a fire breaks out inside your home, you will have to quickly rush out, and won’t have the time to open safes to collect your valuables. Gun safes that are also fire proof can hold other important things - and are often the only item left standing if the fire is particularly extreme. The majority of gun safes don’t have fire safety - as the majority of them are purchases simply for access restriction - so it’s absolutely necessary that you pay particular care when you’re purchasing one, because if you’re spending money to ensure the safety of your guns, you might as well really ensure their safety. It’s also necessary to use gun locks and trigger locks as a method of access restriction. The absolute best way to keep your guns secure, besides fire proof gun safes, is to make sure your house is fully primed for full security - which includes an alarm system, reinforced doors, deadbolts, secure windows and garages, and a bevy of other security tactics that a licensed, talented locksmith can help you implement at your home.

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  • Interesting Facts About Locksmiths

    Posted on March 19th, 2017 | 0 Comments

    Locksmithing is an ancient field that has only grown more advanced and complex over the years. Anybody who practices it’s true art needs to be both trustworthy and skilled. Here’s some fun facts about locksmiths that you might not know.

     

    Apprentices are Common

    Many locksmiths receive on the job training. You need to be an apprentice first in order to become a locksmith. This is both for practical and ethical reasons. The mentor of apprentices make sure that their apprentices are honest and trustworthy,s o they will do justice to the true honor of the profession, and not use their knowledge for evil.

     

    The first professional locksmith was in 1788

    Yes, the oldest lock was found in the Khorsabad Palace in Nineveh, and is estimated to be 4000 years in age. However, the first serious locksmith profession was in 1788, when England’s Rover Barron patented his double acting tumbler lock.

     

    Lockpicking Championships Exist

    The Open Organisation of Lockpickers offer a championship called the Dutch Open, started in 2008, which is a major event which involves the competitive opening of locks - all without the use of keys, or breaking the locks - tools are provided however.

     

    The magician Harry Houdini was a locksmith

    The famous escape artist and magician Harry Houdini was once a professional locksmith. In 1904 Harry Houdini was challenged by a London newspaper to break a special pair of specially manufactured handcuffs which took 5 years to make. Of course, he was able to use his expert knowledge to do so.

     

    A king of France was betrayed by a locksmith

    During the French Revolution, the King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette were given up to the guillotine by Francois Gamain, a locksmith.

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  • Why Price Doesn’t Always Determine A Quality Lock

    Posted on March 13th, 2017 | 0 Comments

    Here at Chicago Locksmith, we are often asked what kinds of locks are the best for home contexts. However, we tend not to favor one manufacturer or company over another one. The quality of a lock system is not determined by its packability - however this factor SHOULD be taken into consideration. Yes, some of the most expensive locks are impossible to pick, however the true security amounts from not only the lock’s strength, but how strong the door is, and how well it’s bolted into it’s frame. A high quality lock paired with a cheap door or doorframe won’t do that much to prevent a break in.

     

    Picking

    Sometimes cheap locks can be easy to pick, and expensive ones can be easy to pick. It’s easier to pick locks with short pins. It’s harder to pick locks that have a mixture of long and short pins. In order to determine what kind of pins your lock as, look at your key - if it has both deep and shallow cuts in it, it’s harder to pick your lock.

     

    Another aspect of packability is what quality the lock’s metal is made of, and how well it was installed. Good locks are both solid and heavy, and are mounted steadily within the door. All deadbolts should fit cleanly inside their drilled space - and often locksmiths won’t make a deadbolt hole large enough for it to sit properly inside, which increases the vulnerability to crowbar attacks. All bolts should be durable and solid, and should slide fully into the door frame when activated.

     

    Keyways and Home Security

    There’s four main popular residential keyway designs in the United States. These include Kwikset, Schlage, Yale, and Weiser. While many other key patterns are made, the majority of them are made for business security applications. Many outside companies make their locks according to the key designs of the big four companies mentioned above. Lowes ‘Carriage House’ lock design uses the Kwikset Keyway, as well as Home Depot’s ‘Defiant’ locks. Yale utilizes Kwikset keys in its residential lock systems, however it has it’s own type of lock for it’s commercial systems. Schlage makes its own keys for it’s own locks. Sergeant is a particularly high quality lock, that does have some residential offerings, but mostly focuses on making commercial locks.

     

    Again, we want to stress that the true quality of a lock lies in how well it’s installed. The most ineffective lock, is a poorly installed one - so even if your lock is expensive, you need to make sure it’s installed perfectly in order to really get the most out of it.

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  • What Does It Mean To Have A Bonded Locksmith?

    Posted on March 22nd, 2017 | 0 Comments

    Many of our customers inquire about what terms such as ‘Licensed, Insured, Accredited, and Bonded’ mean. Here, courtesy of the expert locksmiths at Chicago Locksmith, is some information about exactly what bonding means, and why it’s important.

     

    Types of Bonds

    Surety Bonds

    There’s two main types of bonds. Surety bonds ensures that you will get quality performance out of a locksmith. For example, if a small locksmith company is hired to provide and install locks for large construction projects, they will issue a surety bond in order to guarantee the building owners that they will start and complete the job in a quality fashion. If the locksmith ends up ditching the job, the paid for bond will allow the construction company to use that money to pay someone else to complete the work. Surety bonds help to guarantee successful work outcomes, and demonstrates a locksmith’s serious dedication to their service.

     

    Guaranty Bonds

    Guaranty bonds promises clients that the individual person - ie: the specific locksmith working for the locksmith company - is trustworthy. The bond promises that if somehow the customer is hurt or stolen from, that they will be fully reimbursed. This is often seen as a cross-over aspect of liability insurance - however it covers purposeful neglectful or damaging acts, rather than a sheer focus on accidents.

     

    Why Bonding Matters

    Locksmiths have a great deal of influence over their client’s safety and security. They need to ensure that all information pertaining to their client's security - notably, their key codes - remains fully confidential. Bonding helps promise our customers that the locksmiths they work with are trustworthy, and that they can have peace of mind in knowing that if anything does happen, they will be fully reimbursed according to the stipulations of the bond. Always ask locksmiths to see the bond itself before they work to make sure they are serious. Chicago Locksmith is proud to provide our customers the dedication for quality work completed - a dedication reflected in our full licensing and bonding.

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  • Brief School Safety Statistics

    Posted on January 6th, 2017 | 0 Comments

    School safety has become a hot button issue in the news media. Here’s Chicago Locksmith’s brief guide to some of the safety statistics that define security in our nation’s schools, as reported through data gathered by the Journal of School Health, and the National Center for Education Statistics.

     

    • Metal detectors reduce the chances of weapons being carried within the school by 5.8 percent, and one being carried while heading to or leaving school by 7.5 percent.

    • When asked if security officers should search student with metal detectors, 40 percent of boys and 57 percent of girls said yes - in total, 49 percent of children surveyed.

    • Administrators estimated that violent crime was reduced by 32 percent, drug crime by 14 percent, with an overall crime reduction of 32 percent.

    • 3 percent of students between 12 and 18 said they were scared of being attacked inside or on their way in and out of school during the school year, with the same amount of children mentioning having the same fear when school is out.

    • Between 85 and 89 percent of public schools reported crimes, with about 65 percent of those cases being reported to the police.

    • Vandalism was recorded as occurring between 46 and 49 percent of the time.

    • 9 percent of teachers reported being threatened with violence by students.

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  • Building Exit Devices

    Posted on January 4th, 2017 | 0 Comments

    In order for commercial buildings to stick to official fire prevention and building codes, it’s essential that you have proper exit devices in place in order to keep all building occupants safe.

    These rules change based on how many occupants are inside the building. Door exit devices are usually installed on the side of the door that swings out to open, in order to prevent any sort of unauthorized access while allowing for full free egress.

     

    These systems were first implemented  in the USA after a slew of deadly building fires, notably the terrible Uroquois theatre fire of 1903. Exit devices were made to open outwardly, to accommodate the rapid flow of people who may be rushing to leave a building.

     

    Correctly Installed Exit Devices

    There’s 3 commonly used varieties of exit devices that get used today: mortise lock exit devices, vertical rod exit devices, and rim lock exit devices. Rim locks are the most commonly used variety, and are named after the rim lock latches commonly sold in the early 1900s in the East Coast and in the Midwest. These locks get mounted on top of the secured area of the door frame, and have a latch that is positioned over the surface strike.

     

    Mortise lock exit devices are made of a mortise lock sans deadbolt, which are usually attached within the door’s pocket. As the push bars get pushed in, the tail shaft (otherwise known as a spindle) turns which releases the latch bolt and lets the door open.

     

    Bolt type exit devices are fairly new mechanisms; when they are locked, they cause the deadbolt latch to move to touch the strike, minimizing the space between the bolt and the strike.

     

    Panic bars

    All exit devices are either non fire rated (panic bars) or fire rated exits. Panic bars are made up of a door latching mechanism, and an activation mechanism that causes the door to unlatch, opening up in the direction of the egress opening whenever a force is placed on it. The panic latch has to have an unlatching force which is a maximum of 15 pounds, and it has to be able to get operated by any regular person, as opposed to someone with specialized training.

     

    Fire Rated Exit Bars

    These door latches can get fitted onto fire proof doors, and help provide a barrier for smoke or flames. These doors are self-closing and automatically latching, but they can’t ever get locked from opening to the outside while anybody is inside the building.

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  • When Keys Get Stuck In Car Ignition

    Posted on January 30th, 2017 | 0 Comments

    There’s many reasons that car keys sometimes get stuck inside the ignition of the vehicle. If it occurs constantly, it’s most likely a structural issue with the ignition switch itself. There’s a large chance that there’s some sort of wire or button inside the structure that houses the ignition mechanism that’s misaligned, preventing the key from turning to the fully disengaged position where it can be removed. This counts as a full jam in the device - but if you jiggle the key around or lightly hit the steering column, the key can be released.  Here's Chicago Locksmith's automobile expert's guide to stuck car keys.

    Locked Steering Wheels

    There’s other situations where there’s no inner structural malfunctions, but the steering wheel itself is locked in a closed position. In these situations, you just need to slightly rotate it left or right to help release the key. Another tactic to implement is to check to see which direction the car’s wheels are turned to, and turning the steering wheel in the other direction. When cars get parked with their wheels facing opposite directions, it can put great pressure on the steering wheel making it jam. When you release it with this method, there’s a loud click, signaling that the ignition is freed up.

    Manual Removal

     

    You might be trying to move your key when it breaks off inside the car ignition. Try to use pliers to manually yank out the part of the key that you have access to. If you don’t see it, try applying a small amount of superglue to the head of the key that broke off, stick it inside so it can touch the part that broke it off, wait a few minutes, and pull it out. REMEMBER: only use a small amount of superglue, as if it get’s into the mechanism it can break it.

    If the key is STILL stuck, it’s probably due to a shifter mechanism malfunction. In this situation you will need the help of a professional. Call a licensed car repair service as soon as possible, as these malfunctions can cause airbags to suddenly be deployed, which can be quite dangerous.

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  • Process Of Rekeying

    Posted on December 1st, 2016 | 0 Comments

    lock-rekeying

    Re-keying is a unique, convenient, and special service that saves our clients much time, money, and stress. You might be wondering how rekeying is exactly so beneficial. Well. here’s how.

    What’s a Rekey?

    Rekeying at it’s most essential core is the process of changing a lock so a different key can work it. The process was first invented by Solomon Andrews of the State of New Jersey in 1836 - and involves the modification of the tumbler configuration of a lock that allows a brand new key to work with it, while rendering the older key non-working. Tumbler configurations are made up of a steady line of pins that only allow for a lock to open when the correct key is inserted, and the slots align properly.

    Reasons to Rekey

    • If you lose your keys you should get your locks rekeyed. It puts your home security at risk, and someone can potentially find your keys and enter your home when you're not there.
    • When buying or renting a new apartment it's a safe practice to rekey your locks just in case the previous occupant of the space still retains ownership of the keys. You don't want a stranger rifling through your things.  If you have your home for a long amount of time, you're risking lot's of people having access to your personal property.
    • If you have antique locks you should rekey them as they often have malfunctions, and increase the risk of home break-ins.

    Benefits of Rekeying

    Rekeying offers fantastic advantages over full lock replacements. First of all, rekeying doesn’t require the time and cost intensive process of fully replacing an entire lock piece - it only changes the interior pins within the lock, so a brand new key can operate it. This is a much cheaper and simler option than a full lock replacement, and it’s also a fantastic safety and security strategy for homeowners, business owners, and even realtors who want a sense of security in knowing that no previous tenants of their property (or anyone who has a previous key) can access their property, and potentially steal from them.

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