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The Pop-A-Lock Checklist to Making Sure Your Home is Secure

A family of three sitting around a white table.

Home is where the heart is – for most people, that’s their family. We’re sure you want to keep them safe. According to the FBI, there are over 1 million burglaries a year in the United States, with the average value stolen being $2,600. Unfortunately, burglaries aren’t the only threat. Roughly 350,000 home fires occur a year. Precautions to avoid these events are simple but often overlooked. Follow these guidelines to secure your home and keep you comfortable.

Roses climbing up a trellis leaned against a house with light gray siding. Plants are growing up the wall near a window.

Keep Your Yard Neat

Believe it or not, an unkempt yard can put you in danger. Tall bushes provide a place for burglars to hide from yourself and neighbors. Overgrown vegetation near windows can be especially dangerous in providing a way for burglars to discreetly sneak in. Excess foliage also makes fires easier to spread. In the event of a fire or a burglary, you’ll likely try to call 911.  Tall bushes will conceal your home number, making it difficult for emergency services to find your home quickly. By keeping bushes short, you can reduce hiding spots , prevent the spread of a fire, and increase the efficiency of receiving help in an emergency.

The outside of a house with outdoor lamps lighting the way.

Light Your Home and Advertise Your Security System

A lit entrance to your home is also very important. Burglars aren’t looking for a challenge. Make sure the driveway and entrance to your home are lit at night. Keep the backyard lit as well. You may even consider motion sensor lights or flood lights, which help to deter burglars. Also, it is important to keep the signs of your home security company visible. Burglars are three times more likely to rob a home that lacks home security. So keeping stickers on all your windows and a home security sign by the front door will help keep you safe.

A key in a door lock.

Secure Your Doors

Oftentimes, burglars will kick down a door that is locked. Keeping the deadbolt locked on doors will make this much harder. Most doors already have a deadbolt, but they can be easily installed if your door doesn’t already have one.

Sliding doors should also be double secured with a dowel rod or some kind of additional lock. Doors should fit tightly into their frames so they are not flimsy. Weather stripping can help secure a loose fitting door. Take it a step further by installing a heavier door made from metal clad or solid wood. These differ from hollow wooden doors or doors with glass windows that could be broken in just moments with little effort .

You’ll also want a way to see outside your door without opening it. Most front doors already have a peep hole, but if yours doesn’t, it’s smart to install one as soon as possible. Another alternative is a doorbell camera. Not only can you see who’s there when the doorbell is rung, but they typically save video footage of your front door throughout the day in case of any suspicious activity.

Stay Equipped For Fire Safety

Every home should be equipped with a fire extinguisher, smoke detector, and carbon monoxide detector. Roughly 50% of house fires occur in the kitchen due to cooking. It is important to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen for this reason. Additionally, be sure to replace your smoke detector batteries as soon as they go out. Most smoke detectors have a built-in carbon monoxide detector as well but if yours doesn’t, consider getting a separate device. Carbon monoxide is silent and deadly making a detector extremely important for your safety at home.

Two people sitting on swings facing each other.

Know Your Neighbors

In addition to the appearance and equipment in your home, it is important to know your neighbors. Get to know your neighbors on both sides of your home as well as across the street. They can keep you in the loop when you’re out of town or at work if they notice some unusual activity.

Take Precautions When Out of Town

Avoid sharing your vacation on the internet until you’ve returned home. Don’t tell anyone you’re leaving, except people you trust, like your family and neighbors. Have your neighbors keep an extra key on hand and collect your mail for you. Burglars will often choose a house that looks empty or has an overflowing mailbox. It is also a good idea to set a timer for the lights to stay on inside from the morning till about 6 p.m. After all, 65% of burglaries happen during the day while people are at work.

Pop-A-Lock puts your safety first. If you find yourself locked out, Pop-A-Lock will get a technician to you so you don’t have to break a window. We also have electronic locks if you’re looking to update your residential lock system. When following these guidelines, you will be able to enjoy quality time in your home, feeling safe and secure.

How Your Online Presence Might Attract Burglars

Blonde sitting on the floor with their back against a white brick wall typing on a laptop.

Today’s world of social media has made it easier than ever before for people everywhere to stay connected with one another, despite geographic boundaries. It also means that there are more opportunities online for criminals who seek out information on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms to burglarize homes or commit crimes while victims are away traveling or enjoying time off.

In fact, did you know that nearly 80% of burglars use social media to target their victims?

By posting too much about your life online, you may be unknowingly giving away too much information regarding your whereabouts that criminals can use to target you and your family.

Family of three holding hands on the beach walking toward the water.

Posting About Vacations

For example, by posting about your upcoming trip to Hawaii on social media channels while you are at the airport waiting for a flight, it is possible that potential criminals can observe this information. This person may know when you will be away from home and choose to burglarize or steal items in order to capitalize on this opportunity.

Additionally, if these posts continue once you have arrived at your destination (such as images of you and friends frolicking on the beach with drinks), this could indicate that no one else is currently staying in the house, which would make it easier for someone who wants to burglarize or commit other crimes there without getting caught.

Monitoring your online activity before and during your trip is a good way to protect yourself from burglars, especially in the summer months, when more people use social media sites to post about their vacations.

What To Do Instead

Delaying your posts until after you have returned home is a great way of protecting yourself and your family so that your home and belongings are protected while away on vacation or a trip. If possible, it may also be helpful to refrain from posting any pictures of an empty house with indications such as, “I’m off to Hawaii today! Wish me luck! I will update everyone once I land. 🙂 xoxo” online if there are no plans for anyone else (including friends) to stay at this location during this period of time.

Even when you’re not on vacation you should still be wary about what you post on social media. If you’re going on a business trip, or even just staying with friends for the weekend, resist the urge to tweet about your location and where you are headed.

Person holding a cell phone.

Protect Your Profiles

Another way to protect your home and family is to change the privacy settings of your profiles to ensure that your posts are only visible to friends. This can help to keep burglars away from your home because their ability to burglarize or steal items is hindered if they do not know when you will be gone, how long for, and other details about the property.

Almost every social media platform allows for private profiles. This not only lets you keep your plans safe from the wandering eyes of criminals, but also lets you vet anyone who tries to follow you prior to giving them access to your personal life.

It’s Not Just About Vacations

In the same way that posting about your location can be dangerous, posting too much about your day-to-day life, family, and friends can put them at risk. For example, if you continually post about your childrens’ school events or trips, this can give burglars, or even kidnappers, too much information. They will know when you are typically home throughout the day, what school your child or children attend, and may even be able to find out what kind of car you drive.

Even though we live in an age of online sharing where everything seems like it should be public knowledge, taking precautions such as delaying posts about certain aspects of your life (such as vacation plans) until after you have returned home will help protect you and those close to you from becoming victims of crime while away on trips or vacations.

How Your Online Presence Might Attract Burglars

Blonde sitting on the floor with their back against a white brick wall typing on a laptop.

Today’s world of social media has made it easier than ever before for people everywhere to stay connected with one another, despite geographic boundaries. It also means that there are more opportunities online for criminals who seek out information on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms to burglarize homes or commit crimes while victims are away traveling or enjoying time off.

In fact, did you know that nearly 80% of burglars use social media to target their victims?

By posting too much about your life online, you may be unknowingly giving away too much information regarding your whereabouts that criminals can use to target you and your family.

Family of three holding hands on the beach walking toward the water.

Posting About Vacations

For example, by posting about your upcoming trip to Hawaii on social media channels while you are at the airport waiting for a flight, it is possible that potential criminals can observe this information. This person may know when you will be away from home and choose to burglarize or steal items in order to capitalize on this opportunity.

Additionally, if these posts continue once you have arrived at your destination (such as images of you and friends frolicking on the beach with drinks), this could indicate that no one else is currently staying in the house, which would make it easier for someone who wants to burglarize or commit other crimes there without getting caught.

Monitoring your online activity before and during your trip is a good way to protect yourself from burglars, especially in the summer months, when more people use social media sites to post about their vacations.

What To Do Instead

Delaying your posts until after you have returned home is a great way of protecting yourself and your family so that your home and belongings are protected while away on vacation or a trip. If possible, it may also be helpful to refrain from posting any pictures of an empty house with indications such as, “I’m off to Hawaii today! Wish me luck! I will update everyone once I land. 🙂 xoxo” online if there are no plans for anyone else (including friends) to stay at this location during this period of time.

Even when you’re not on vacation you should still be wary about what you post on social media. If you’re going on a business trip, or even just staying with friends for the weekend, resist the urge to tweet about your location and where you are headed.

Person holding a cell phone.

Protect Your Profiles

Another way to protect your home and family is to change the privacy settings of your profiles to ensure that your posts are only visible to friends. This can help to keep burglars away from your home because their ability to burglarize or steal items is hindered if they do not know when you will be gone, how long for, and other details about the property.

Almost every social media platform allows for private profiles. This not only lets you keep your plans safe from the wandering eyes of criminals, but also lets you vet anyone who tries to follow you prior to giving them access to your personal life.

It’s Not Just About Vacations

In the same way that posting about your location can be dangerous, posting too much about your day-to-day life, family, and friends can put them at risk. For example, if you continually post about your childrens’ school events or trips, this can give burglars, or even kidnappers, too much information. They will know when you are typically home throughout the day, what school your child or children attend, and may even be able to find out what kind of car you drive.

Even though we live in an age of online sharing where everything seems like it should be public knowledge, taking precautions such as delaying posts about certain aspects of your life (such as vacation plans) until after you have returned home will help protect you and those close to you from becoming victims of crime while away on trips or vacations.

Home Alone: How Hero Kevin McCallister Kept His Home Safe

Season Greetings

While there are several simple steps you can take to protect your home, Kevin McCallister went the extra mile to stay secure. Left behind while his family is in Paris, Kevin notices some suspicious activity and has to find a way to fend for himself. Braver than the average homeowner, Kevin shows us some ways we can keep our home secure this holiday season.

Be Careful Who You Trust

Stay safe by keeping your plans to yourself and those you trust. The classic mistake the McCallister family made in the beginning of the movie is telling the burglar they’d be going out of town. Sure, maybe the burglar was dressed as a cop at the time, but you can never be too careful. If you’re going to be away from your home, it’s best to only tell the neighbors you’re close with. This also means resisting the temptation to post pictures of you at the beach or Times Square. Everyone has access to the internet, so it’s best to wait till you’re back from vacation to brag online.

Season Festive

Keep it Lit

They may have spilled their plans to the wrong guy, but at least they kept their house lit while gone. It is important to keep your home well lit to deter burglars and to easily spot abnormal activity. This includes not only the front door but the back of the house as well. Keeping each side of the home well-lit will make every point of entry more secure. Take it to the next step by creating timers for indoor lights to make it appear that someone is home. Kevin was sure to flip the basement light on the second he heard noises outside the door.

Signs of Activity

The burglars knew someone was home when they saw the light switch on, but they got really confused when they saw a whole party at the so-called empty house. Kevin was clever when he tied swings to mannequins to create dancing silhouettes from street view. Paired with holiday music and a cardboard cutout attached to a toy train, the burglars were easily fooled. I know we may not all have several mannequins laying around, but some implied human activity can still help deter burglars. Have your neighbors collect your mail or bring in your trash can. Afterall, burglars are more likely to choose the house with the overflowing mailbox.

Season Holidays

Home Security

We all know the classic “ya filthy animal” science in Home Alone. The second time the burglars came to the door, Kevin played a movie to sound like real dialogue. To make it even more believable, he added firecrackers to a pot the moment gun shots went off in the movie. Talk about special effects. While the movie audio was a great source of defense for Kevin, a home security system may be more practical for the average homeowner.

Toward the end of the movie, things start to get more intense. The burglars discover that Kevin is home alone and decide to finally rob the house, despite him being a child. Christmas Eve at 9 o-clock, Kevin maps out his plan. He is very strategic, creating a guard of defense at just about every corner of the home. 

Glass ornaments under the window, icy stairs, and tar on the basement steps all delay the burglars’ bad intentions. Hot doorknobs and heavy irons falling from the laundry shoot act as booby traps. He even lures them across a makeshift zipline just to cut the wires before they can make it across. Eventually, the burglars get Kevin in their grip. Just as Kevin sees his life flash before his eyes, the quiet neighbor comes to the rescue and the burglars get hauled away in a cop car. 

If the McCallisters simply had a home security system, Kevin probably could’ve avoided all these extra steps. 

While we love to give Kevin props for his cleverness, there’s some easier take aways to keep your home safe:

  • Be careful who you tell when you’re leaving town
  • Keep the house well lit on every side
  • Keep indoor lights on a timer
  • Have a trustworthy neighbor take out your trash and collect your mail
  • Invest in home security and keep the signs posted

We can’t all be heroes, but we can be smart when it comes to our home. If these tips and movie recaps weren’t enough, check out the home security audit on our website for a full checklist on staying secure.

Pop-A-Lock’s Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Outdoor Property Secure

Cozy porch with wicker couch and chairs in front of a stone fireplace.

Though exposed to the elements, our outdoor property is hardly less important than what we keep inside. From grills to gardening equipment to your treasured heirloom gnome, there is an assortment of valuables resting in our front and back yards. Only, with these treasures, we seem perfectly fine with leaving them in the open for all to see. 

If you’re bent on remaining the block’s ultimate grill master (i.e., keeping your equipment away from thieves), read on to learn 10 handy tricks to secure your outdoor property.

Top 10 Ways to Secure Your Yard

1. Put it Inside

No matter your security measures, nothing beats the safety of the great indoors. If you keep an array of items you can’t live without — flat screens, sound systems, gardening equipment — outside, it may be best to bring them into a designated indoor storage area such as your garage before dark each day. At the very least, consider putting your items in a shed or outdoor lockbox. After all: out of sight, out of mind. If a thief can’t see anything worth their time at first glance, they’re less likely to snoop around.

2. Install Flood Lights

Across the U.S., burglary rates increase by 10% from daytime to night, revealing a pretty intuitive truth: thieves crave the cover of darkness. Not only are passersby or property owners less likely to spot them, they’re also more likely to be knocked cold sleeping. A motion-sensing floodlight can solve the former. No matter if animal or man creeps past, motion-sensing flood lights will leap to action, bathing the intruder in light while lending the impression that their every movement is being watched.

3. Increase Visibility

Thieves are more likely to target lawns with plenty of hiding spots. Large shrubs and tall grass provide excellent coverage, while unkempt foliage implies absence, making your home even more likely to be targeted. The solution is simple: keep your yard clean. Trim those hedges, mow that grass, tame that ivy — anything to improve visibility. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even consider planting a few cacti or burglar-proofing your landscaping on the whole.

4. Install a Security System

This option is slightly lower on our list due to high costs and maintenance, but in reality, nothing beats a top-of-the-line outdoor security system in terms of protection. Not only do video systems allow for easy monitoring of all outdoor activity, but the very sight of a camera or alarm system can also be enough to scare away a thief. You could say they’re a bit camera-shy.

5. Give the Appearance of Security

Just because a system is out of your budget doesn’t mean you have to settle for subpar security. Often, the mere appearance of a high-end security system can be enough to give thieves second thoughts since, most of the time, they’re not ones for researching. To look thief-proof, you can install fake security cameras (they still have very real-looking blinking red lights), in addition to security company yard signs and window decals.

6. Padlock Your Shed

While sheds make for an excellent space to stash and preserve outdoor equipment, they’re also one of the most frequently burglarized property items — mainly due to their owner’s lack of security. As such, it’s important to attach a sturdy, weather-proof padlock to your shed’s door handles (and be sure to lock up before heading inside after a day of gardening!)

7. Use a Steel Cable

Think your outdoor sports bar lounge is pretty sweet? So does the neighborhood thief. While locking up your flatscreen and grilling equipment seems obvious, your furniture is also a target and deserves protection as well. One way to achieve this is through using a steel cable — a flexible cord found at nearly every hardware store. After wrapping the cable around furniture legs and flossing it between every item, you can then affix a padlock to secure both ends of the cable, effectively tying everything together. This makes it nearly impossible for a thief to run off with a chair without dragging the entire set behind them.

8. Fortify Your Fence

Often, yards are burglarized as a result of shoddy fencing. If your fence is falling apart, replete with gaps, or using gate locks that no longer work, it might be time to revamp your fort. Looming, metal fences or fences with minimal spacing between planks are best at deterring burglars. If you want to get real intimidating, you can even fix metal spikes at the top of the fence as a kind of bougie barbed wire.

9. Install Gate Alarms

It’s understandable to not want an outdoor alarm blaring for the whole block to hear, but pool and yard gate alarm systems can be a great way to both alert you to nefarious activity and scare away impending intruders.

10. Get a Dog

If your dog’s bark is bigger than his bite, he’d make an excellent doggie defense system. Having an outdoor dog reduces your chances of being burglarized drastically since no thief wants to battle Fido over some lawn chairs. Putting up a “Beware of Dog” sign regardless of your dog’s real temperament can further drill home the point: your yard is off-limits.

Young blonde child in a blue tank top holding a garden hose with water spraying out of it and putting their hand into the water stream.

We Mow Down Yard Thieves

Not literally, of course. That said, Pop-A-Lock’s home security audit is sure to put local thieves out of business. After searching high and low for security weak points on your property, one of our safety experts will recommend solutions to fortify your home. Call today for a free quote or visit our site for more info.

The Best Places in Your Car to Store Valuables

White SUV on a dirt road in front of mountains.

You’ve heard the rule before: don’t leave anything that you value in your car unattended, especially in plain sight. For anyone with nefarious intentions, getting their hands on precious items is as easy as peeking through the window of a car and seeing a laptop, phone, wallet, jewelry, or other valuables lying around. Luckily, if you find yourself in a situation where you have no choice but to leave your items in the car, there are ways to conceal them, keeping them out of sight for burglars and car thieves.

The inside of a car showing the front seat from the back.

Glove Box

The obvious option for hiding things you want to keep out of sight is your car’s glove box. The issue lies in the fact that glove compartments more often simply conceal your belongings, rather than protecting them. If a thief is already rooting around inside your vehicle, the first area they choose to check will more often than not be the glove box.

Unfortunately, locking the glove compartment is also not always a viable option, as it can draw unwanted attention to that area of your car, and burglars will assume that it is locked specifically to protect something of great value.

That being said, glove compartments are a handy option for stowing away documents, phones, and wallets in specific situations. If you are in an area where your parked car is not left for extended periods of time, and where it will be protected in the case of a break-in, glove boxes will do the trick. This can be somewhere like a parking lot or garage, or in the driveway of your home. Your belongings are usually safe in a glove compartment when there are cameras around to watch for criminal activity.

Center Console

Every car has a center console between the driver and passenger seats that can hold anywhere from a few small items to an entire purse or backpack! Stashing away items that are of importance to you (or items that may draw the attention of criminals) at the bottom of this compartment can protect you, your vehicle, and your belongings in the event of a break-in.

The downside to utilizing this compartment is that, just like the glove box, the center console is one of the very first places that are searched by individuals looking to take your things. Because of this, using the center console should also be limited to small amounts of time in well-lit, well-guarded areas.

Small TV screens on the backs of the front seats in a car.

Special Compartments

It is not uncommon for your car to have one or several secret hiding spots, often in places that cannot be seen from outside of the vehicle. Reading your driver’s manual can clue you in to where these spots are located, and help you stash away those priceless items when you’re leaving your car unattended.

Some examples of compartments that most vehicles are likely to have include things like the pockets on the backs of the passenger and driver’s seats, as well as underneath floor mats and inside the center console in the back row.

An open book with sticky note tabs sticking off the pages.

No Secret Hiding Spots? Make Your Own!

If your vehicle does not come equipped with clever places to stash valuables, the good news is that it’s very simple to find your own! These are a few locations that most cars have that make for great undercover safes for when you have to leave a valuable item behind:

  • Empty (or not so empty) containers: Boxes from things like tissues and sanitary products and containers such as first aid kits are typically avoided by burglars as they are not expecting to find your items there.
  • Hollowed-out books or manuals: Cutting a hole in a thick book or driver’s manual allows you to safely stash your phone or wallet in the glove compartment without worrying about anyone snooping around. Just one thing: make sure to avoid cutting a hole in your actual driver’s manual! You never know when you may need it. Use a fake one instead.

Extra Tip: Be Smart When You’re Hiding Your Things

If you know you will need to leave items in your car, it is recommended that you stash them before parking or exiting the vehicle. You never know when someone might be watching you put your smartphone in a book, or your wallet in your first aid kit.

Pop-A-Lock’s top priority is your safety. So when traveling by car and leaving valuables inside, use these tips, and remember: Pop-A-Lock provides car door unlocking services for when you accidentally hide your car keys along with your wallet or phone!

How Your Secrecy Can Be the Best Security Layer

How Your Secrecy Can Be the Best Security Layer

screen privacy

When it comes to protecting your data and your workplace, there are many options for business owners. Your organization can invest countless hours and funds into procuring the best security solutions and systems, but at the end of the day, you may very well be missing one extremely crucial aspect of security. Organizations and businesses run on people. Ensuring that your employees can be trusted to protect your business (the same way that your security system does) can be game-changing, and can help avoid some very sticky situations.

tinted computer screen

Secrecy vs. Privacy

As we progress further and further into the digital age, it becomes increasingly clear that in actuality, privacy is the pinnacle of security, not secrecy. Though it may seem like a matter of semantics, these two words have very different meanings when defined:

  • Secrecy is hiding information that can be otherwise easily obtained through simple observation or analysis, while
  • Privacy is preventing the information from being intercepted when it is being shared between two or more parties, especially online.

When put into the context of security (especially digital), we can see that privacy measures are put into place to ensure secrecy. Therefore, you cannot have one without the other. That being said, let’s look at some of the things you and your employees can do about privacy!

anyone can see your screen

Privacy through Confidentiality

Privacy in and outside of the workplace can have a great impact on the overall security of your business’ information. This is also where educating your employees on how to protect confidential information comes into play. For example, if your organization has added layers of security on the premises (such as electronic access control or keypad locks) it is important that employees and management alike are taught not to give out any information that can be overheard or seen by outside individuals. This includes keypad combinations, the location of the business, and even what kind of security precautions have been taken. Having this information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, can aid an individual with malicious intent to have unchecked access to your organization’s information.

That being said, if one of your employees must give out information of this nature, be sure to educate them on how they can do it safely. This includes things like:

  • Not saying passwords, combinations, or giving insights about security protocols out loud, especially in public settings.
  • If sending private information online, be sure that the Wi-Fi network that is being used is a secure one. If no secure network is available, use a trustworthy VPN.

Why Personal Privacy Matters

Privacy and secrecy must be kept in mind, no matter if you are part of a highly specialized organization, or just want to further ensure the security of your personal information. Oftentimes, access to personal information, especially digital, means a way into your workplace data.

Protecting your personal information can be as easy as keeping passwords and login information organized. To read more about how you can do this, check out From Our Lock Experts: How to Organize Combinations and Passwords.

How to Keep Your Belongings Safe in a Shared Space

How to Keep Your Belongings Safe in a Shared Space

safe shared space

Dorms

Keep your room door locked

Agree with your roommates to always keep the dorm room door and windows locked. It only takes a few seconds for a thief to take thousands of dollars of expensive items like your laptop, iPad, jewelry, and even expensive school books.

Don’t leave valuables out in plain sight

Thieves are opportunists and are looking for items to steal. Hide your cash, purse or wallet, jewelry, laptop, and any other important items when not in use. “I trust my roomie but when she has people over, I put my stuff away. Leaving my wallet and electronics laying around is too much temptation,” says USC student Paige Abbassi.

Keep an inventory of all your valuables

Keep photos and serial numbers of your valuables. In the unfortunate case that you or your roommates become victims of a dorm theft, being able to provide campus police with a list of stolen items and their descriptions may increase the odds that they will be recovered.

Get insurance

Should a loss occur, having insurance can help you quickly replace stolen items without a huge cost to you. Your parents’ homeowners insurance policy may cover your dorm room valuables at no extra cost. College Student Insurance provides dorm room policies to cover your valuables.

Coworking Spaces

Coworking spaces are known for being cool, trendy, and flexible places to work. Whether it be freelancers, startup companies, large businesses, part-time hobbyists, or remote workers, coworking offices attract a wide range of people coming from a variety of backgrounds. As such, they need to accommodate each type of worker accordingly, ensuring that the space is not only a nice environment to work in, but is also suitably protected.

Businesses need to protect their company data and trade secrets, after all, so keeping their working environment secure is vital. From cybersecurity threats to physical thieves, there are a number of ways in which coworking spaces can be breached. Make sure yours isn’t by implementing these three methods.

Protect your network

Despite the fact that coworkers can work across a plethora of industries, it only takes one bad member to compromise the data of hundreds of others. Therefore, establishing a strong and secure network is key to preventing this – keeping all your coworker’s digital information safely protected.

Hackers tend to target Wi-Fi networks so, rather than hosting all your co-workers on the same network, allocate each of the credentials and a unique password. Alternatively, take it one step further and set up individualized networks for each of your members. This ensures that even if one network gets hacked, the others won’t be affected.

Also, think about investing in an electric timer to shut off Wi-Fi access overnight when nobody is there to keep an eye out on it.

Lock your doors

A pretty obvious one, but having effective physical security measures is just as important as having online protection. For example, having high-quality locks on your doors, windows, and storage cabinets can go a long way in keeping your coworking space secure.

Likewise, access to the building should only be given to members who actually work there. Whether this access solution is smartphone-based or utilized using access codes/smart cards, granting individual admission to users is probably the most foolproof way of ensuring important data stays safe.

Plus, thanks to cloud-based access control systems, you can now control who has access to certain rooms and areas in your coworking space. You’ll also be able to keep a log of who logged in, meaning you can stay on top of the inner goings-on in your office.

Watch out for theft/damage

Another fairly obvious security system to have in place is CCTV. Even in the most loving communities, belongings can get lost or stolen so, with a surveillance camera in place, it’ll make it that much easier to rectify issues. Not only that, but it takes the pressure off you need to physically be there all the time – smart surveillance systems allow you to monitor office activities via Wi-Fi when you are away.

You should also install an effective fire alarm system and have it checked regularly. The last thing your coworkers need is for their data to be unintentionally destroyed through insufficient fire safety at your office.

Bike Safety: Security and Storage Tips and Tricks

Making Your Bike Theft-Proof

bike tire assembly

Whether you commute by bike every day or are more of a casual hobby rider, the possibility of someone stealing your bike is always a looming threat. Fortunately, there are a lot of great security and storage options available to protect your bike as best as you can. We’ve compiled some of our most trusted tips for bike safety, security, and storage, so you can feel confident knowing your bike is protected.

Bike Security

prepared with bike lock

Types of Bike Locks

Bike locks come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and security levels, so knowing the differences between them is an important part of choosing the best one for you. 

U-Locks: Also called D-locks because of their shape, these locks are some of the most highly recommended for cities and other high-density areas. U-locks are incredibly strong and are unable to be cut with bolt cutters but aren’t overwhelmingly heavy, making them a great choice for most people. At first, it can certainly feel awkward trying to secure your bike with a U-lock because of its shape and inflexibility, but it gets easier with a little practice. Unless your U-lock is particularly large, you’ll need to lock your bike to relatively thin posts, bike racks, railings, etc, which can make finding a spot to park a little more challenging sometimes. 

Chain Locks: Offering high levels of strength plus greater flexibility in movement, chain locks are tough to beat. The thick, reinforced chain is difficult to cut but can easily be wrapped around multiple parts of your bike before securing it to a rack or other post. Depending on the size and shape of your bike, you might even be able to secure the bike frame and both tires using only one chain lock. The major drawback to chain locks, however, is that they’re quite heavy, so in opting for high security and flexibility, you lose out on it being lightweight. 

Cable Locks: By far the most common kind of bike lock, cable locks are also the most affordable option. You can choose between combination locks — which are great if you have a tendency to lose keys — or keyed locks — which are a solid bet if you have trouble remembering lock combinations. However, cable locks are incredibly easy to break and cut through with simple tools, making bikes locked with them a very easy target. That’s not to say you should never buy a cable lock, however, they’re not the most secure so are inadvisable for many areas.

bikes locked up

Lock Your Bike Like a Pro

Now that you’ve invested time and money into choosing a good bike lock, it’s time to learn how to use it correctly. A strong, sturdy lock can lose most of its efficacy if not used properly, meaning you could have the toughest lock on the market, but if you don’t lock your bike smartly, someone could still manage to steal it. The following guidelines should help ensure your bike is well protected: 

  • Make sure your bike is locked to a fixed, immovable object like a post or bike rack that is cemented into the ground. Otherwise, someone could lift up what your bike is locked to and slide the lock right off. 
  • Try to include as many parts of your bike inside the lock as possible. Always start by locking the frame to the rack and then try to get a tire in as well if possible! If your lock allows, securing the frame and both tires to the stationary object is ideal. 
  • Park your bike in the middle of the bike rack. The ends of the rack offer the most access for a potential thief to break your lock and make off with your bike. 
  • Use multiple locks if necessary. Some U-Locks come with an additional cable lock that can reach and be looped through the front tire. If you’ve secured your frame and back tire but are worried about someone making away with your front tire, you could opt for 2 U-Locks instead. While 2 U-Locks are more secure, this method also ends up being much heavier because of the weight of both locks.
  • If you have a keyed lock, try and angle the key slot towards the ground. This simple tip makes it much more difficult for someone to pick the lock or tamper with the locking mechanism.
bikes in a row

Bike Storage

While parking and locking your bike in public places can seem the riskiest, 50% of bike thefts actually occur on private property. It is imperative to always lock your bike, and lock it well, even around your home. If you are able to store your bike indoors or have a private garage, that is ideal, but realistically, many people don’t have either of those options available to them. Communal storage facilities in some apartment buildings are an excellent option as long as you are diligent about locking your bike after each use. 

The extra couple of minutes it takes to lock and secure your bike can be annoying or frustrating, but it is so much better than having your bike stolen or damaged.

bike lock

Pop-A-Lock is Here to Help

The reality is, even if you do everything right and try to make your bike as secure as possible, your bike still could get stolen. No lock is 100% unbreakable or impenetrable, so if someone does manage to get through your lock and deterrent strategies, it can be incredibly frustrating. 

We also know that sometimes we make mistakes ourselves — losing keys, forgetting combinations, locking ourselves out, you name it. If you find yourself needing a professional’s help to get out of a sticky situation, call your local Pop-A-Lock; we’re always here to help.

The Best Ways to Secure Your Garage or Parking Location

The Best Ways to Secure Your Garage or Parking Location

parking lot

Despite being incredibly valuable — probably our most valuable asset — cars are often left outside, unprotected. This is even more surprising when considering that, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 1 in 10 property crimes occur in parking lots or garages. The reason for the frequency is simple: home garages are easy to break into, while public or private business garages provide ample coverage and target options. Given the prevalence of automotive crime, we clearly have a lot of work to do when securing our idle vehicles. 

Here, we’ll cover our top safety tips for when your car is parked in your garage, a public garage, and a business’ private garage.

Home Garage Security Tips

Personal garages are home not only to one or multiple cars, but also lawnmowers, lawn equipment, sporting gear, decoration storage, and much, much more. With all these valuables in one location, it’s surprising to consider that home garages are the most vulnerable part of a home’s structure and are a frequent entry-point for invaders. As such, it’s important to consider beefing up your garage’s internal security and not becoming too relaxed when handling garage-bound items. Here are some things you can do:

  • Always Close the Garage Door

The most common cause of garage burglary is a simple mistake: leaving the door open. The fix (closing the door, of course) might seem simple enough, but it’s important to diligently practice closing your garage door every time it’s opened, in addition to locking the house door inside the garage. 

  • Secure Garage Door Windows

Although it’s better to not have garage door windows at all, the second-best option is to secure these openings. Since thieves often use garage doors to scope out a property’s offerings — or even as a means to enter the residence — placing a dark tarp over the glass could work as a great deterrent to both issues. 

  • Install Floodlights

Most thieves target home garages because they know it’s the place most likely to be neglected by property owners. Prove them wrong by installing motion-activated floodlights. Not only will these shed some much-needed light on nefarious activities, they also lend the impression of greater security surrounding the garage area. 

  • Hide Keys and Garage Openers 

Often, homeowners will leave their car keys or garage door openers in cars parked in outside driveways, assuming their neighborhood is too safe for burglary. Be smarter: thieves can target nearly any neighborhood of their choosing. As such, it’s important to bring your keys inside every time you return home.

  • Install a Garage Alarm System

When installing alarm points in your home’s security system, don’t overlook your garage! Having a motion-activated alarm can both alert you to shady activity and scare off thieves.

drive way

Public Garage Security Tips

Although public garage security is largely out of our control, that doesn’t mean we should leave our well-being to chance. Here are three important steps to securing your car in a public garage:

  • Look for Visibility

When selecting a parking spot in a public garage, be sure to choose a spot with great visibility, meaning plenty of light and space. Thieves love to target cars parked behind shadowy columns, or cars parked away from fellow travelers since they’re less likely to be spotted. Luckily, you can avoid this situation altogether by parking among other cars in a spacious, well-lit area. 

  • Always Lock Behind You

A simple mental slip — forgetting to lock up when in a public space — can result in a huge expense for vehicle owners should a burglar break a window or, heaven forbid, steal your car. Stay present when leaving a public garage and wait to hear the beep! of your car locking behind you. 

  • Secure your Possessions

Do as the common parking lot security sign says and lock your car, take your keys, and hide your belongings. Prowling car burglars are more likely to target a car with valuables on display, so be sure to stash any laptops, purses, and shopping bags under seats or portable blankets when locking up. 

Business Garage Security Tips

Business owners have an obligation to provide safe parking to employees and customers alike. Failing to do so could result in an immense amount of personal guilt, not to mention losing out on greater patrons and workers. To provide top-notch security and safety to whoever leaves their car at your doors, we recommend the following: 

  • Install Emergency Stations 

These security devices are the large, metallic boxes with blue lights you sometimes see near parking garage elevators or exits. A small dial box allows garage attendees to easily alert security or law enforcement in case of an emergency. Given the added safety emergency stations provide, it’s not surprising that the mere presence of one or two boxes on each garage floor can be enough to reassure drivers that their car is in good hands, while also deterring potential thieves. 

  • Access Control / Install Security Gate

If your business parking is exclusive to employees or if you’d like to keep an eye on the clientele entering your garage, installing an access card station or security booth is the way to go. Assigning parking garage access cards to each employee to be used at a corresponding entrance booth ensures that each person entering actually works at your establishment. A security gate, on the other hand, could perform the same function with the added security of on-hand security personnel to deter on-foot intruders, or used more casually in order to ensure people entering are true customers. 

  • Install Video Surveillance 

Having a visible, video surveillance system throughout your garage is a fantastic way to both deter thieves and monitor suspicious activity. With a 24/7 security team on standby, situations that would turn dangerous can be quickly identified and de-escalated. 

empty parking spot

We Have Cars On Lock

When most people think “locksmith,” they think of people who repair locks on homes and businesses, and they might be right. But when it comes to Pop-A-Lock, this definition should be expanded to include automobiles and overall personal security. No matter if you need car rekeying, key fob duplication or your door is in a jamb, we’re here to help. Check out more of our services here: https://www.popalock.com/automotive/