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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!

The 7 Things You Should Never Leave in Your Car

Person driving a car.

Never Leave These 7 Items In Your Vehicle

Innocent mistakes often turn out to cause the most disastrous accidents. Extreme temperatures can do much more damage than spoil wine or groceries. When items are left in the car at low or high temperatures, they are at a significant risk. Studies have shown that the temperature inside of cars can rise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes.  Here’s what you should never leave in your car to avoid putting your precious items and loved ones at risk.

A black pug looking out the open window of a red car.

Children and Pets

No matter how long an errand will take, you should never leave young children and pets alone in a car. Even if your car’s windows are cracked, the internal temperature of your car can reach dangerous levels in just 10 minutes. After an hour, temperatures can jump 45 degrees. Every year, an average of 38 unattended children, and hundreds of pets die from heatstroke in locked cars. Avoid a preventable tragedy and never leave your children and pets in a locked vehicle.

Black can of spray paint.

Aerosol Cans

Those labels on aerosol cans are there for good reason. As the temperature rises, the pressure inside an aerosol cans rises too. If stored in temperatures above 120°F, aerosol cans can reach dangerously high internal pressure levels. When left in the heat and/or direct sunlight, aerosol cans explode. This can cause serious injuries or damage to your vehicle.

An open pill bottle.

Medication

Did you know that most medications should be stored at room temperature? That’s because many active ingredients in prescription meds actually spoil or lose their effectiveness when exposed to high heat. A parked car never remains at room temperature, so avoid wasting medication and money by taking your medicine with you.

Apple laptop.

Valuable Goods

While extreme heat does not pose a high risk for most valuables, leaving them in your car presents a different kind of risk – thievery.  Leaving goods such as a purse, wallet, or electronics instantly puts a target on your vehicle for thieves. Even if you store these items out of view, be sure to hide charging cords and other less valuable items out as these signal to burglars there are more valuables out of sight.

Plastic water bottle.

Plastic Water Bottles

Many studies have found harmful chemicals such as BPA and phthalates in plastic water bottles. When left at high temperatures, these chemicals are leached into water from their plastic containers. Also, bottled water has a shelf life. If left for too long in a hot environment, bacteria and microorganisms can grow in the water posing a health risk for those who drink it.

Glass of white wine with the bottle next to it.

Wine

Picking up a bottle of wine after a long day at work is a treat most of us can appreciate. Just be sure to take your bottle of red, white, or rosé with you after you park your car for the evening. Leaving a bottle of wine in a hot car can alter the flavor and even spoil the wine. And if the liquid is left to heat up, it can expand and seep around the sides of the cork, resulting in spilled wine and a contaminated bottle.

Two full paper bags of groceries.

Groceries

Keep grocery shopping at the end of your to-do list to keep perishable items from spoiling in your car. Fresh produce, meat, dairy, and other goods should be stored in the refrigerator no later than two hours after leaving the store. In the summer months, however, food should be put away in the refrigerator no more than one hour after being purchased to avoid spoilage. Removing perishable items from your car promptly will also reduce the chance of leaving an unpleasant smell in your car.

Call Pop-A-Lock

If you find yourself locked out of your car, call Pop-A-Lock and we’ll assist you right away. Our locksmithing experts can unlock any vehicle in a flash. We’re here to help!

How to Organize All of the Keys on Your Keychain

Wall full of keys hanging on hooks.

Back to Basics

Our keychains do so much for us but after a while, they can easily get out of control. From bulky car keys to store memberships, it can be tricky to identify the right key with so much clutter. Let us help you organize and minimize your keychain to help lighten the load weighing down your purse or pants. Follow our step-by-step guide and be on your way to a sleek and organized keychain!

Three keys on a keyring on a white background.

Sort Your Keys

It might seem like an obvious first step, but it’s obvious for a reason. Organizing your keys is the perfect starting point to understanding what is essential and what isn’t. First, take all of your keys off of your existing keychain and immediate set aside items that are not keys. Including, but not limited to, souvenir keychains, duplicate keys, or keys that you no longer use. Next, sort your keys into piles based on their function such as house keys, car keys, or office keys. Doing this will allow you to have a sense of which keys you have more of and which keys can be grouped together. There will be more on that later. Finally, in each function group, organize your keys by their frequency of use. We recommend categorizing them into daily, weekly, infrequent, and rarely or never groups to establish which keys should be carried around with you or locked away in storage.

A hand with a keyring around the index finger.

Get Crafty!

Your lifestyle is unique, so is your optimal key organization method. Whether you’re a fan of color coding or are a home decor fanatic, we’ve got some ideas for you to perfect the method to your madness.

Color Coding

Starting off with a tried and tested technique – color coding. This simple and visually appealing strategy will help you recall which keys serve which purpose just by looking at them. All it takes is visiting your local hardware store or searching Amazon to find key caps or covers in colors you like.

Labels

Our next tip is for label lovers! Labels, like color coding, serve as an excellent way to organize your keys in a more specific way than just using color coding. This step is completely personalizable and guarantees you will never mistake one key for another again.

Home Decor Solutions

Finally, there are several home decor options for organizing your keys such as key hooks and catch-alls. These are perfect additions to any entry way as there are so many styles to choose from and make forgetting your keys a difficult task.

A yellow key, turquoise key, and purple key lying on a white background.

Store Your Keys

To keep your keys sorted and secure while you’re on the go, here are our suggestions for the ideal ways to store your keys. For those keys you use less frequently or only in a specific location, we suggest finding secure storage to keep your keys protected. For example, put them away in the glove compartment of your car, in a safe, or even in a hidden drawer to make sure you control who knows about your keys. As for the essential keys you use everyday, keychains are not your only option. From the nifty, noise-minimizing Keybar to a convenient key wallet, there are infinite options to choose from.

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/

5 Signs Your Lock Might Need to be Replaced

5 Signs Your Lock Might Need to be Replaced

We depend on our locks daily. The motions of turning our keys or flipping the deadbolt switch behind us are so  route, we probably don’t think about it at all.  We simply expect our doors to lock securely. But like any other piece of hardware, locks are susceptible to damage and erode over time. To not risk compromising your home’s security, check up on your locks every now and then — they may need a little care, especially if they display any of the following warning signs.

5 Signs That Lock Needs To Go

1. Damaged or malfunctioning

This is perhaps the most obvious — and urgent — sign your lock needs to be replaced. If your lock is damaged in any way, you may experience issues turning the key or, in the worst case, the door may fail to lock or open entirely. If this happens with your door even once, it’s best to be proactive and look into replacement options before you risk a complete lock-out.

2. Wear and tear

Despite what our kitchen appliances may think, locks are probably the pieces of household hardware that see the most daily use. But because we’re constantly locking and unlocking our doors, the locks themselves are subjected to more wear, making them more likely to break down over time. This is especially true if your locks came with your home or apartment, since it’s difficult to tell how old they are, or if previous owners used excessive force on the lock. Exterior locks can also deteriorate as a result of being subjected to the natural elements. When locks begin to rust, they weaken from the inside, making for a difficult lock-up but an easy break-in.

3. New home or apartment

Whenever you’re moving  into a  home or apartment, replacing the old, pre-existing locks is the first step to shoring up your security. In most cases, property managers and landlords will not change out locks that are still in working condition, regardless of whether these locks have served multiple homeowners or renters.  This poses a potential security risk since previous  owners or renters may still have keys in their possession, in addition to any friends or family members they made key copies for. It’s unlikely that any of these people are ill-intentioned, but prevent any chance of a seamless break-in, it’s best to replace these old locks with new ones.

4. Recent break-in

 If you or someone in your neighborhood or apartment complex has been the victim of a recent break-in, it’s almost imperative that you get your locks replaced. If the burglar entered using brute force, it’s likely that the door or  locking mechanism is now damaged, making it all the more likely that it won’t shut or lock properly. However, if the burglar entered by picking the lock or using a poorly-hidden spare key, two things are almost certain: your locks are not secure enough, and criminals are likely to target you again. Replacing the lock is the remedy for both issues. 

5. Security changes

Often, you need to turn outward to properly assess whether or not you need a new lock. A single-cylinder lock may have served you well in the past, but if you notice a decline in the security of your neighborhood, it’s time to consider ditching your old locks for something more secure. Strings of break-ins, increased reports of violence, and vandalism are all common signs that your neighborhood is becoming less safe. When crime moves into your area, homes with weak defenses and mass-produced locks are often targeted first.

We’ll handle those locks

At Pop-A-Lock, our team of locksmiths are experts on lock replacement, ready to tackle your security needs. Just give us a call to chat about safety concerns, or to get a quote on replacing your lock. Whatever your needs, if there’s a lock involved, we’re the ones for the job.

How to Hide Your Spare Keys, the Clever Way

How to Hide Your Spare Keys, the Clever Way

key under doormat

No one plans on getting locked out of their homes, but anything can happen in the course of a busy day: keys can get lost, broken, or — in the worst case — stolen. Whatever the reason, the annoyance of losing your trusted key can turn to panic if it’s your only way back inside. To avoid calling a locksmith or that friend who’s bailed you out too many times, it helps to keep a spare key on the premises as a backup. But with added security comes added risk, especially if you plan on hiding your spare outside. With some careful planning, however, you can rest assured that your spare key is kept secret, and you’ll always have a fail-safe way to enter your home. 

Does Secrecy Matter?

If you think a half-inch doormat is going to thwart a burglar, think again. These criminals are experts on residential habits — they reside somewhere too, after all — and know all the commonplace hiding spots for spare keys. Since obtaining a spare means easy entry for burglars, they’ll thoroughly scan front yards when selecting targets, searching for tell-tale signs of hidden keys. Homeowners should be on high alert: dropping your spares in obvious spaces leaves you vulnerable to robbery, so if you’re going to outsmart a crook, you’ll need to look beyond doormats and flowerpots, and on to covert stash-spots. 

dropped keys

Top 5 Key Storage Devices

While fake rocks are cliche and obvious, fear not: you can still hide your key on your property through an assortment of discreet and innovative key-holders disguised as common lawn equipment. Typically found online, these holders run anywhere from $5 – $20 — proof you don’t need to break the bank to beef up your home’s security. 

  1. Faux Electrical Outlet:
  2. Sprinkler:
  3. Drain Cap:
  4. Garden Accessories:
  5. Lockbox:
key hiding places

Top 5 On-Property Hiding Locales

You don’t need to drop money on fake-out key holders to keep your spares safe. Your lawn and its surrounding fixtures contain a plethora of nooks and crannies fit for a key. 

  1. Bottle Method:
  2. Door Knocker:
  3. The Smaller House(s):
  4. License Plate:
  5. Tree:
garden space

Your Safety is Our Priority

Everyone deserves to feel secure in their home, and Pop-A-Lock believes in informing homeowners of any and all measures they can take to ensure their safety. Hiding a spare key is a good first-step, but if you’re in need of a little extra reassurance, call to speak with one of our expert locksmiths, or check out our website to learn more about our rekeying, lock repair, and installation services.

Secure Your Suitcase With these Helpful Tips

Secure Your Suitcase With these Helpful Tips

traveling with suitcase

Your possessions are never at greater risk than when you’re traveling. No hate to airport workers or your packing checklist abilities, but anything can happen in transit from one bucket-list location to another: suitcases fall open when sliding into luggage claim, zippers  break from frequent use,, or — in the worst case scenario — a lack of visible security can luer ne’er-do-wells into breaking open your bags and stealing your property. Though we tend to think about personal security in terms of online password protection or home surveillance, portable property like suitcases deserve the utmost protection as well. Here, we’ll go over the best ways to secure the bag. 

Does suitcase security matter?

When traveling, your suitcase is your life on wheels, and it’s a hub for sensitive materials — everything from your passport to your treasured plush toy. With all of these belongings in one place, and being dragged from one location to another, the risk of losing something valuable increases greatly. Thieves are aware of this fact too, and tend to target travelers whose attentions are divided while checking into hotels or gazing at maps of unknown cities. For these reasons, it’s important to seek out luggage with built-in security help, or to trick-out your current case with locks or tamper-proof devices.

Suitcase Checklist

Tamper-proof suitcase tips

  • TSA Compliant Locks:

Attaching a small combination lock to one or more of your zippers is one of the most common luggage security fixes. However, it’s important to note that you cannot padlocks or any old combination lock to your suitcase, no matter the heightened security these might provide. If you’re flying to or from airports within the United States or Canada, only TSA-friendly locks are permitted to fly. As mentioned above, these locks are small combination locks that can be opened through a universal key in case screening staff need to inspect your luggage. 

  • Numbered cable ties:

Another, more cost-efficient luggage securement method is numbered cable ties. While common cable ties are another effective method for binding your zippers together — simply thread the pointed end of the zip-tie through the open hole where the zippers meet, and pull through – numbered or “serialized” cable ties offer unique advantages, as they can’t be replicated. 

That being said, this is merely a method to tamper-proof your bag; since most zipper suitcases can be opened using a ballpoint pen, zip ties or any other zipper locking mechanism cannot guarantee the safety of the bag’s contents. However, cable ties work as great deterrents, while numbered cable ties can help serve as proof of tampering should your luggage arrive opened or with a common zip-tie replacement. 

  • Tamperlock:

When in doubt, turn to luggage security experts. Tamperlock is a luggage security service that ships tamper-proof seals directly to you. You then only need to follow three steps to seal your bags: first, loop the supplied zip tie through the hole in your zipper, and then through the Tamperlock tag. From here, palace your zipper in line with the bag’s handle, then loop the tag around the handle. Finally, secure the numbered tag in place. 

  • HomingPIN tags:

Though there are several high-end luggage tracking options on the market, if you’re looking for a low-cost way to monitor your bags, HomingPIN is the service for you.

After registering your contact details on the site, plus noting basic information about the size, type and color of your bags, you travel as normal. The tags are integrated with lost-luggage services at every airport, meaning if your suitcase disappears in transit, carriers and ground handlers have all the information they need to track you down and get your bag back to you.

 

  • Luggage wrapping services:

If you’re worried about people cutting the fabric, forcing the zipper or tampering with the lock to get stuff out of (or put things into) your bag, consider a luggage wrapping service. Vendors offer this option in many major US and international airports, typically using a machine to encase backpacks and suitcases in many layers of transparent plastic film. There’s also some limited protection that comes with all that plastic – your gear will still get damaged when the baggage handler drops or crushes it, but minor scratches, spills, and rain will only affect the wrapping, not the valuable contents.

Suitcase

Pop-A-Lock has the key to security

We may not specialize in suitcase security, but we do know a thing or two about keeping your home, business, and automobiles safe. From 24/7 lockout assistance to smart lock installation, we’ve got your back. Call PAL today to get a free quote, or check out our website to learn more!

Traveling Passport

Going on a Trip? How to Stay Safe and Vigilant While Traveling Alone

Going on a Trip? How to Stay Safe and Vigilant While Traveling Alone

Travel Ready

Traveling alone, whether it be for business or pleasure, can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially when it comes to protecting the things that matter most: your belongings and your personal safety. Having your mind occupied with constant worry about your general well-being is no way to travel, so take some safety tips from your local friendly locksmiths.

planning

Research, Research, Research

Doing your research prior to taking a trip is always a smart move, but looking into where you’ll be staying and exploring the surrounding areas is that much more important if you’re planning on traveling by yourself.

This doesn’t just mean finding a good restaurant to grab dinner, or looking into museums and tourist spots. Find the nearest convenience store, subway station, bus stop, or gas station. To take it a step further, you can locate the nearest emergency departments to be even more prepared in case of an unexpected event or emergency.

Open Public Spaces

Do Your Best To Blend In

Common tourist destinations are like carnivals to pickpockets and other petty criminals. Looking out of place or lost in a big, crowded city can make you vulnerable to being approached or becoming a victim of one of these people.

There are several ways to avoid this problem, but they all boil down to the same concept: not drawing attention to yourself. Dressing as close to the local style as possible, or wearing inconspicuous clothing in general, is the easiest first step. There are also several clothing items and accessories you can invest in that will give you an added layer of protection, such as anti-theft wallets, jackets, and backpacks.

If you do get lost or need some help orienting yourself, it is vital to be discreet when looking at maps or asking for directions. Having confidence and an unassuming look will get you a long way when you’re alone in a foreign place.

Traveling Passport & Wallet

Keep Track of Money and Important Documents

Losing your wallet or a major document is the fastest way to ruin your trip, and can cause immense stress, especially if you are in a foreign country. Making copies of documents such as passports, boarding passes, and tickets to events or tourist attractions can ease your mind and give you some time to truly unwind and enjoy your vacation. You could also consider taking advantage of the power of the Internet by storing all of your documents on the cloud.

In terms of money, there are several ways to ensure that you’ll be good to go when purchasing local food or some silly souvenirs for your friends and family back home. Aside from investing in an aforementioned anti-theft wallet, you can also take precautionary measures upon your arrival at your destination by utilizing the currency exchange at the airport. This means less conversion math and more fun for you!

Travel Responsibly

Your safety is of utmost importance to us, so giving you tips and tricks on how to be wise and confident while traveling is too! Keeping your home and family safe while you’re away, well, that’s our job.

Finding yourself in need of locksmithing services? No matter where you are, Pop-A-Lock is glad to help. Give us a call today!