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Unlock Your Car Smarter, Not Harder: The 5 Benefits of Smart Keys

Smart keys use radio-frequency identification, or RFID, to communicate with your car. The key contains a chip with an encrypted code that only your car is programmed to recognize. The antenna on your car reads the signal from this chip when it is within range, allowing you to unlock your car and start your engine.

Smart keys are becoming increasingly common as they are much more convenient, have added security and safety benefits, and can save you money in the long run. Smart keys are a luxury when compared with traditional car keys. After reading over these benefits, it’s a safe bet that you’ll never want to use traditional car keys again.

The Most Convenient Kind of Key

Smart keys offer several features that are far more convenient than a traditional key. This includes automatic setting adjustments, easy unlocking, and the ability to drive as long as your key is within range. 

With most push-to-start cars, all you have to do in order to unlock your car is touch your hand to the door handle. Some cars even unlock automatically when the key is detected within a certain range.

Many smart keys can automatically adjust to your settings based on which key is in range. This is very convenient when there are multiple drivers for the same vehicle. The vehicle will adjust the seat and mirror positions to match the detected key. It can also pre-set the climate control and radio settings.

Some cars even allow speed restrictions to be set when used with a specific key, which is ideal for teenagers who are just learning to drive.

Also, if a smart key gets lost during a ride, you can still drive your vehicle as long as the key is within range. If the car starts, you won’t have to worry that the key is lost. You’ll know for certain it has been misplaced somewhere inside the vehicle.

If this happens to you, just be sure to search for the key once you arrive at your destination so you can lock the car. The last thing you want is to leave the key inside where a carjacker could easily enter your vehicle and drive away.

Smart Key Security

Your smart key can also protect your belongings – the system automates the car locking process and greatly reduces the likelihood of your car getting stolen.

Most smart keys will automatically lock your doors once you exit the vehicle. If you’re often forgetting to lock your doors, your smart key will do the hard work for you. 

Since the RFID signal sent between your vehicle and your key fob is unique to your car’s sensor, it’s incredibly difficult to steal a car equipped with a smart key. Even if a thief manages to break into your car and attempts to hotwire it, the engine will not start without the encrypted code from your key.

Safety with Smart Keys

In addition to keeping your car secure, smart keys can also keep you safe by preventing your encounters with criminals.

If you’re in an unfamiliar area, or a place with a high crime rate, you don’t want to spend time stuck outside of your car. If a criminal sees you fumbling with your keys, they may take it as an opportunity to steal your purse, backpack, or wallet. With a smart key, you can quickly get into your car as long as your keys are within range. 

Because the smart key operates by sending a signal to your antenna, it is impossible to lock yourself out. This saves you the risk of getting stranded in an unsafe area, or on a busy street outside of your car.

Save the Hassle that Comes with the Ignition

Traditional keys can be heavy, especially if you keep your keychain full. Over time, this weighs down on the ignition. Ignition wiring is also typically heavier, whereas push-to-start wiring is thinner and lighter.

With traditional car keys, you run the risk of your keys getting sticky and even breaking off in your ignition. Even if your keys don’t get stuck, the ignition could simply not work over time as the unique etching on your keys wears down.

A smart key operates by battery and will warn you well in advance when the battery is low. If the smart key battery is low but not dead, the car will still operate. When the time comes to replace the battery, it is a very simple process. You can open most smart keys without any tools and quickly pop in a new battery which only costs a few bucks.

While we can’t speak for all locksmiths, Pop-A-Lock can duplicate and program virtually any smart key. This saves you a ton of money from the expensive key replacements of a car dealership. A smart key will also save you the risk of needing to replace your whole ignition. Coupled with the fact that you cannot lock your smart key inside your car, you’ll be saving money.

Smart Keys are a Luxury

Arguably the best benefit of smart keys is the luxury aspect. Though some cars still come with traditional keys, smart keys are becoming the norm and the average car owner prefers a smart key. They are far more convenient than a traditional car key, and the ability to start your car with the click of a button is too cool to miss out on.

Overall, smart keys have many benefits that outweigh traditional car keys. They’re convenient, help keep you and your belongings safe, and require little maintenance. They’re a luxury item that any car owner would be lucky to have.

Looking to duplicate your car’s smart key? Your local Pop-A-Lock is here to help!

Will a Deadbolt Keep You Safe? What You Need to Know About Break-Ins

The doors to your home are the first line of defense when it comes to burglaries and break-ins. If you don’t have effective locks on your door, you’re skipping on a big part of your home’s security checklist. A deadbolt is the best way to keep your home secure and prevent thieves from knocking down your door.

Burglaries of residential properties account for 62.8 percent of all burglary offenses. It might sound silly to mention locking your door as a critical safety tip, but 34 percent of those burglars enter homes through the front door. If the door is unlocked, they can just turn the handle and walk right in! By keeping your door locked, you’re already one step ahead. Having a deadbolt on the entrance to your home will take a standard door knob lock to the next level. Forced entry is involved in 55.7 percent of burglaries, and a deadbolt will make breaking down a door remarkably more challenging.

What is a Deadbolt and How Does it Work?

A deadbolt is a lock used in addition to your regular door knob that is moved by turning a key or thumb without the use of a spring. They’re heavier and more secure than spring bolts, which work by compressing when the key is in the cylinder to unlock the door. Once the door is closed, the spring automatically jumps back. A deadbolt is manually locked when you are inside your home, unless it is a double-cylinder lock.

Deadbolts are made of three main parts: the cylinder, the throw or bolt, and the thumb. The throw is the part that slides in and out of the door jam and can be locked from the inside by turning the thumb.

Most residential deadbolt locks are single cylinders. This means the door can only be locked from within the house. A double cylinder deadbolt has key access on the outside, making it available to lock from either side of the door. Though the double-cylinder deadbolt is technically more secure, single-cylinder deadbolts are the better option for most homeowners. This is because when the double-cylinder deadbolt is locked, a key would be required to exit, which becomes a safety hazard in the event of a fire.

Where Should You Have Deadbolts?

Ideally, you should have a deadbolt on every entrance to your home –  the front door, the back door, and the door to the garage. Unfortunately, having a deadbolt on the door that leads to your garage is often neglected. The garage door is a vulnerable part of your home security system. They can be easily kicked in, and sometimes even lifted manually. If your car is parked in the driveway, avoid keeping your garage clicker in plain sight. However, if a burglar does get a hold of your garage door key, having a deadbolt on the door from the garage to your house will prevent any further danger.

Will a Deadbolt Keep You Safe?

Locksmiths say a quality deadbolt is the best resistance to a home burglary. But is this enough to keep you safe? Research says that when forceable entry is used, burglars prefer kicking down a door over breaking a window. The noise of glass breaking draws more attention and poses a threat to the burglar. This is a good thing – it means you can focus more on the security of your doors than windows, which means a deadbolt will be significantly helpful.

However, since the possibility of breaking down a front door still exists, some additional safety measures that work well in tandem with a deadbolt are having a strong door and secure door frame. Solid wood and steel-clad doors are much better at resisting a break-in. If your door is made from hollow wood, it may not stand a chance against threats.

Though having a strong door is important, it’s typically the door frame that caves in, not the door itself. Strike plates should be reinforced by 3-inch sturdy screws, and secured to the frame of the house. Also, be sure that your door fits snug within the door frame and consider installing weatherstrips if there are any gaps.

By pairing a quality deadbolt with a strong door and secure door frame, you’ll be in good shape for resisting break-ins. A deadbolt makes residential break-ins much more difficult, and will deter away burglars. A single-cylinder deadbolt is best for homeowners and can help you feel safer in your home. And be sure to give your local Pop-A-Lock a call for any and all deadbolt and locksmithing needs!

Everything You Need to Know About Child Safety Locks

Keep Your Child Safe at Home and on the Go

Child-proofing a space typically involves putting away breakable objects, covering sharp corners, and generally making any dangerous products out of sight and out of reach. When trying to make sure your kiddo doesn’t get into cleaning agents and chemicals or experiment with gravity by dropping your nice dishware, adding child safety locks to the cabinets seems like a promising solution. Much like how the rear doors on a car can be locked so a curious child doesn’t try to open the door of the vehicle, child safety locks prevent children from being able to open certain doors, cabinets, or drawers so they cannot access potentially dangerous or harmful items. 

There are a couple of key differences between child locks in a car and child locks used within a home, though. In a car, the driver seat typically has a button that will turn the child/rear door locks on, and, when enacted, permits anyone from opening the rear car doors from the inside. Even though they are most commonly used to deter children from opening the door when they’re not supposed to, the function paints with a broad brush and simply makes it so everyone is unable to open the door. 

Child locks for drawers and cabinets, however, still allow access to the inside, but only if the person knows how to get around the mechanism. These types of locks rely on the age and dexterity of a child to be relatively low, so they do not understand nor can they perform the required functions to open the drawer or cabinet. For adults, opening the doors should be relatively easy.

When to Use Child Safety Locks

Deciding when to implement child safety locks typically depends on when your child develops the motor skills that would allow them to open doors, pull-on handles, etc combined with when the child is able to move around independently (even for short periods of time!) But, frankly, there isn’t a time that is too early to install them. 

The more challenging decision is figuring out when to stop using child safety locks. There is no hard and fast rule about when to turn off the rear door locks in the car or when to uninstall the locks on the cabinets, but the best indication is going to be based on the individual child. 

A great starting point would be to identify your child’s overall level of responsibility, trustworthiness, and maturity. With a little focus and time looking at it, would the child be able to figure out how to bypass the lock? Has the child reached a level of maturity and understanding that they explicitly know not to play with cleaning chemicals? If you can answer yes to one or both of these questions, you can probably start taking the locks off. 

For things that would still be restricted, like alcohol in a liquor cabinet, consider getting a new lock with a key or code that only you have access to, so your child can’t simply figure out the system and open the door

Where to Install Locks

Now that we’re on the same page about what child safety locks are,  why they’re a great option, and when you should start and stop using them, let’s talk about where to place these locks. We’ve mentioned the kitchen a fair bit, so c on cabinet doors and drawers is a must, but barring the refrigerator and dishwasher are smart moves too. If locking everything that opens in your kitchen seems like too much, the places you should definitely lock are where chemicals are stored (think cleaning agents under the sink), objects are breakable (like a dishware cabinet),  and where sharp or other dangerous objects are stored (like a drawer with knives or other silverware). Another option is to rearrange your kitchen so these items are stored higher up, so they are out of reach for your children but still easily accessible to you. 

Other places to install child safety locks would be doors that lead to rooms you don’t want them entering, medicine cabinets or other places where pills are stored, and perhaps a drawer or part of a desk where sensitive documents and information are stored.

Types of Lock Options

Magnetic

Once installed onto the drawers and cabinets, the doors will remain closed unless you use the magnet “key” to open them. These locks come with an external magnet “key” that is easy to store above a child’s reach on the fridge door or somewhere similar. Simply hover the magnet over the door or drawer you want to open, and the magnet will release the lock inside allowing you to open it.

Electromagnetic

A little pricier than simple magnetic locks, electromagnetic locks can be controlled from your phone, so you don’t need to keep track of the extra magnet “key,” and you don’t need to be physically in the room to unlock them. Electromagnetic locks are also convenient because you can easily turn all the locks on or off with one simple click, so for example, a housesitter could easily access the contents of cabinets without having to bypass the child safety locks each time. 

Spring-style

This type of lock attaches to the inside of the door or drawer and allows you to open it about an inch before stopping. The abrupt stopping will deter the child from being able to access what is inside. In order for an adult to open the drawer or door fully, they simply need to press down on the spring-loaded latch to release its hold on the door. These locks are quite common and super easy to install. 

External

External cabinet locks are by far the cheapest option with the easiest installation process — no tools or screws needed. Simply slip the locks over the handles/ knobs on the exterior of the doors and it prevents them from being opened. In order to unlock these, a parent just needs to squeeze particular parts of the lock, and it will release. 

Window Safety: Things Burglars Know, And You Should Too

Window Safety: Things Burglars Know, And You Should Too

Burglary Enter

Evaluating Your Home

Even if you have a security system, chances are, you’re very prudent about making sure your front door is locked at night and when you leave your home because an unlocked door is just asking for burglars, right? But are you as diligent about locking and securing your windows?  Statistics show that a surprising 30% of burglars enter homes through an unlocked window or door, and 23% of burglars enter a property through first-floor windows. 

If knowing these statistics is enough to make you question the safety and security of your windows, keep reading for some expert advice for how to better protect yourself and your home from intruders and burglaries.

window lock safety

Install Window Locks

The first and easiest option for deterring intruders and securing entries to your home is by installing locks on your windows. There are a few different types of window locks with their own locking mechanisms and cater to different styles of windows. Some types include:

  • Pin locks
      • When engaged, pin locks prevent your windows from being lifted from the outside or inside. This type of lock is particularly useful for ground floor windows.
  • Sash locks
      • Typically used for double-hung windows (ones that open from the top and bottom), sash locks allow you to open the window and lock it in place. These are a great option for people who like to keep their windows cracked open while they sleep, but don’t want to risk a potential intruder being able to easily enter. 
  • Hinged wedge locks
      • This type of lock is used specifically for double-hung windows and makes it so that the window cannot be opened. If you want to be able to open the window partially, you can install the lock higher up on the window frame and decide the amount you want to be able to open the window.
Burglary Leaving

Upgrade Your Security System

Even if you already have an alarm system for your home, you should consider investing in an outdoor security system or install equipment that will deter intruders.

  •  Motion-sensing lights 
      • These illuminate when they sense motion within a predetermined range. Installing lights like these immediately deter burglars because they essentially shine a spotlight onto any nefarious character lurking around your home, thus exposing them and compromising their cover of darkness. 
  • Security cameras
      • Security cameras are a great option if you’ve been having suspicions about potential burglary threats or have heard disconcerting noises outside your home. Because you can personally decide where you want to place them, security cameras allow you to keep an eye on the parts outside your home that see less foot traffic or could be prime break-in targets.
Window safety

Reinforce the Glass

If the thought of a potential intruder smashing your windows and leaving dangerous shards of broken glass everywhere causes you great anxiety, you might want to consider replacing your window’s glass. Typical window glass is annealed glass, which only cooled once after it has been shaped.

  • Tempered glass
      • Tempered glass is 4 times stronger than annealed glass and, if broken, crumbles rather than shattering. 
  • Plexiglass
      • While glass is in its name, plexiglass is actually made of acrylic, but looks remarkably similar to regular glass. Plexiglass is about 10 times stronger than annealed glass and is impact resistant, making it a great option for discouraging burglars. 
  • Polycarbonate windows
      • Polycarbonate is even stronger than plexiglass and would be a great, strategic choice for windows that seem particularly vulnerable to break-ins. Because of their high price point, it isn’t the most cost-effective solution for all windows, but using it for one or two specific windows could be well worth the money if it means thwarting burglars.

If you’re interested to learn more about how to secure your home, contact your local Pop-A-Lock! You can even perform a Home Security Audit by filling out the checklist and answering questions. Once you have a better understanding of the safety and security of your home, call PAL to install, repair, or replace any locks and make sure you keep burglars out!

Carrie Underwood Locks Child in Vehicle

Pop-A-Lock was mentioned in Disney’s parenting blog Babble and Yahoo! Parenting blog.

Pop-A-Lock is very proud of singer Carrie Underwood for successfully breaking in to her accidentally locked car to rescue her 4-month-old son and her dog. Reported by the popular Yahoo! Parenting blog and Disney’s parenting blog Babble, Carrie realized she had locked her son and pet in the car and immediately broke in to rescue them after calling the police.

The articles remind parents that the best way to handle this extremely stressful situation, after calling 9-1-1, is to call Pop-A-Lock, utilizing our free service for children locked in vehicles.

Pop-A-Lock COO Interviewed for Nails Magazine

COO Rob Reynolds was interviewed for an article on protecting client data for businesses.

Nails Magazine’s latest article on protecting consumer data for small businesses features Pop-A-Lock COO Rob Reynolds. The article discusses security practices to put in place, using advice suggested by security professionals. Rob’s tip for businesses was to have a fireproof, bolted down safe, with a key that prevents itself from being copied. As Rob mentions, these safes don’t have to be an eyesore; a hired designer will be able to blend a reliable safe into your business environment.

School Shooting Prevention: Pop-A-Lock® Offers Schools Free Security Audits

Pop-A-Lock offers sincere condolences to the families that lost a child in the fatal school shooting that occurred last week at an Oregon high school.

Although these tragic cases cannot fully be prevented from taking place, Pop-A-Lock – the most trusted team of security professionals in the nation—pledges to support school districts throughout the United States by offering free security audits to analyze  schools’ security systems to protect its students, teachers and administrators.

“We’re greatly saddened by the recent rash of school shootings throughout our country,” said Pop-A-Lock Director of Operations, Rob Reynolds. “This violence is senseless and can be significantly mitigated by readily-available security technologies in the marketplace today.”

In wake of previous school shootings, Pop-A-Lock recognized the need for security audits in schools to help prevent tragic events like this one. As a result, in 2013, Pop-A-Lock started offering free school security audits to schools throughout the country.

The program provides:

  • A comprehensive online checklist of physical infrastructure security needs
  • On-site assessments by a Pop-A-Lock security professional available free of charge on the company’s Website at: http://www.popalock.com
  • Insight into the most basic security measures, such as key access control and sophisticated technology such as perimeter surveillance
  • Company technicians available to perform a comprehensive facility security assessment on-site

“Pop-A-Lock is committed to working with schools across the country to keep our children, teachers, and administrators safe,” Reynolds added.

There is a huge range of interventions that can be deployed in any facility, including K-12’s, to improve security measures. These range from establishment of protocols, rehearsal drills, evacuation plans, lockdown procedures, identification systems, and beyond. Some schools are deploying RFID tracking devices and readers throughout the facility to track student movement in order to make their attendance reporting more robust and automated.

School administrators can contact a local Pop-A-Lock franchise at 1-800-POPALOCK, to schedule a walk-through with your maintenance team to go door-to-door and make notes of specifically what areas need attention. By taking the time to assess your facilities’ security, you will increase the life safety and security for the students and staff.

Pop-A-Lock of Mississauga Sponsors Neighborhood Watch Program

Pop-A-Lock of Mississauga, owned by John Inglis, was recently recognized by Safe City Mississauga Crime Prevention, as a sponsor for the neighborhood watch program.

The company is known for sharing tips for creating a safer home and business. It makes sense that Pop-A-Lock of Mississauga would sponsor such an important program. Along with being named sponsor, Pop-A-Lock provides co-branded brochures, window clings and decals with their service number to all neighborhood watch participants. If there is ever a need for locksmith services, the phone number will always be readily available for anyone that needs it. Pop-A-Lock also provides Lost Key Return Tags, a free program to everyone, if you lose your keys, Pop-A-Lock will return them to you at no cost. Go to popalock.ca for more details on this valuable program.

The sold out event was attended by the community, business partners and sponsors. The keynote speaker for the evening was Chief Jennifer Evans of Peel Police. Also in attendance were Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion and representatives of all levels of government.

We appreciate the great job being done in Mississauga and the efforts of John Inglis and his team. The safety and security of the people in our communities will remain Pop-A-Locks’ top priority.

Pop-A-Lock Partners With Storage Treasures / Storage Battles

Pop-A-Lock is pleased to announce an exclusive agreement with Storage Treasures / Storage Battles.

Most of us have seen on TV shows focused on abandoned storage units and the battle people face in acquiring the contents. While some units are disappointing, others can be worth a small fortune.

Storage Treasures / Storage Battle, North America’s largest and fastest growing online self-storage auction company and Pop-A-Lock have partnered to offer customers lock cutting, photographic and inventory services. Pop-A-Lock is North America’s most trusted group of locksmiths. This relationship will streamline services for the managers of Storage Treasures / Storage Battles and their customers.

James Grant, CEO of Storage Treasures / Storage Battles said, “This added service will bring convenience and a time-saving option to self-storage facility managers who no longer desire to cut their own locks, take pictures and inventory their storage units in preparation for sale. This will also reduce their liability, as an insured third party will be performing this duty while being observed and witnessed by the facility manager.”

Pop-A-Lock has locations throughout the United States and Canada, making the decision to partner an easy one. Don Marks, CEO says, “Pop-A-Lock is the preferred provider to numerous corporate strategic partners. Our large footprint, prompt response, latest technology, and top quality make us the first choice for security. We look forward to working with Storage Treasures / Storage Battles and their innovative, industry leading marketing and methodology.”

Storage Treasures / Storage Battles has more than 4,000 self-storage facilities that hold online auctions on their website. The company averages more than 4,000 online auctions a month with a database of 800,000 registered buyers. They expect business to continue to grow, possibly doubling in 2014.

Pop-A-Lock services will enhance the buyers experience through the services they will provide. Customers now will have an increased sense of security knowing that Pop-A-Lock is handling this task on their behalf.

For more information on the companies, go to popalock.com, storagetreasures.com and storagebattles.com.