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Moving In With Peace of Mind: 5 Ways to Secure Your New Home or Office

Whether it’s your very first home or the next chapter in your business journey, moving to a new property can be exciting. However, we know the process of moving can also become overwhelming at times. Here at Pop-A-Lock, we want to offer you some peace of mind by providing a few tips on how to secure your new property after you move in. 

Rekey ASAP: Rekeying your locks should be one of the first steps you take after purchasing a new property. There is no guarantee that a few extra spare keys aren’t floating around somewhere, which is why it is best to rekey your locks to ensure only you have access. Rekeying is a relatively simple process, and sometimes, you can even negotiate with your realtor to have the service completed before you move in.  

Consider smart locks: In the process of rekeying, you may want to consider switching your exterior locks to smart locks. With common features like auto-lock, remote locking and unlocking, and passcodes or fingerprint readers, smart locks are a more convenient option for controlling who has access to your property. Remote locking and auto-lock are useful features if you or someone else forgets to lock up, giving you that extra peace of mind when you aren’t around. 

Guard valuables with a safe: Keep valuables and other important documents protected in a safe. We recommend putting these items in a safe that only trusted people know about and have access to. Getting a safe that is rated against fire and water will also protect your items from the elements in the case of an emergency. Make the combination or passcode something you can remember but cannot easily be guessed by others, and do not write the passcode in a place where it can be found.

Consider a security system: In today’s world, security systems have become more affordable and common in many homes and offices. An alarm system and security cameras can help you keep an eye on your property and receive alerts if there is motion detected inside or around the exterior. With many camera options on the market, make sure to look at reviews and search for cameras with good night vision and motion detection. 

Inspect all window locks:  It’s important to remember that windows also serve as a point of access to your property. Whether it’s through an inspector or your own testing, make sure all windows lock properly and are securely closed. Window locks are also essential for keeping windows secure during extreme weather.

The bottom line

While moving locations can be stressful, you can count on Pop-A-Lock to be there for you when you need us. From rekeying to setting up cameras for a security system, if you need help securing your home or office – or find yourself locked out of it – call your local Pop-A-Lock or visit popalock.com. 

Pop-A-Lock was founded in 1991 by local law enforcement officers who recognized the need for a mobile, on-site locksmith in their area. Since then, Pop-A-lock has grown to become one of the nation’s largest and most trusted local locksmiths, providing peace of mind to over 8,500 communities. In addition to automotive services, Pop-A-Lock also offers at-the-door residential and commercial services. To learn more, visit popalock.com.

Safety Tips for Parents: Top Lessons to Teach Your Kids

Speaking to your children about safety is something that you cannot begin doing “too soon.” The topic of safety is crucial to learn as early as possible and is usually one that continues to be brought up all throughout their lifetime.

Teaching your children how to live their life while always considering safety is a great first step into the direction of giving them a healthy sense of independence. As a parent, it is always hard to see your children grow up, but discussing safety will help them learn about their own freedom.

When talking about your child’s safety, it can get complex and complicated. Keep reading to dive further into three areas of safety: in your home, in the community, and personal safety. By reading through some lessons you should consider teaching your kids, hopefully some will stick and you’ll be able to implement them starting today to ensure your child is living their life more safely.

Keeping your Home Safe

Your house is the one place in the world where you want to keep everyone and everything inside as safe as possible. It is also the place where you let your guard down the most. It probably feels normal to not hover over your children while home, because why would you? It is likely that your kids definitely reciprocate that attitude and probably don’t even consider things like “how do I maintain my own safety right now” while in the comfort of their own home.

Good lessons you can teach your kids is that no matter if you’re home or away, they are to never open the door for or talk to strangers. Go a step further and add that they are not to answer for anybody. Life gets complex, and creating the expectation that your children shouldn’t let people into your home, regardless of who they are, is a good rule.

Teaching your children the basics like knowing important information is a really good tip as well. The basics would be any beneficial phone numbers, how to contact 911, and their own address in case there’s a life-threatening emergency. 

There are steps as a parent that you can take to prioritize your kid’s safety at home. A few things you could do is install a security system. These systems will not only protect your children by giving you remote access 24/7, but they also serve to protect your home. You should also consider changing your locks if your home was recently purchased. This blog is a great resource for understanding the reasons on why this tip is useful.

Staying Safe in the Community 

Making sure your children are safe in the community follows some of the same guidelines as it would in the home – teach your kids not to talk to strangers, know important contact information, and so on. A few steps further would be to role play different scenarios that could occur in public. 

It may sound extreme, but playing out scenarios of what could actually happen if things went wrong in public could be a matter of life or death for your children. This goes for situations like kidnapping to scenarios like earthquakes, tornados, or fires. 

Maintaining Personal Safety

Personal safety is arguably the most important lesson you can teach your children. It will be the thing that your child will apply to all settings – private or public. As previously mentioned, safety is an ongoing conversation and this aspect will be important the older they become. 

Nowadays, social media is very prevalent and poses a major threat to the safety of those who use it. This blog on online presence even says that, “nearly 80% of burglars use social media to target their victims.” Teaching your children how to engage with others on social media, to vocalize their concerns, and always keep in mind the personal effects of social media-based interactions is a great way to keep them safe.

More Useful Resources

Pop-A-Lock has created loads of helpful tools to guarantee your family stays safe beyond the safety related conversations you’ll have with your kids. Along with this blog, you can find other useful pieces on how to ensure your home is secure as well as a handy security audit. This security audit will help you identify areas of your home that are susceptible to burglars and secure your home a step further in the event that you will ever need to rely on those measures to keep you and your family safe.

And, if you find yourself in need of a home, car, or personal safety revamp, your local Pop-A-Lock is here to help!

How Your Phone Can Keep You Safe Inside and Outside of Your Home

Personal safety is one of the most important things you should prioritize focusing on. Fortunately, our phones play a huge role in ensuring we stay protected at all times. Our smartphones make controlling safety in our lives easy and accessible – most security systems today can update you on threats through your smart device. There are also apps that you can download to guarantee your safety away from the protection of your home.

A photo of a woman holding a cellphone in her hands.

Here’s All the Details on Home Security Systems 

Your home’s safety can be jeopardized by burglary, natural disaster, house fires, and more. Luckily, you can stay up to date on situations that happen while away with the help of a security system. These systems communicate with your phone to alert you of danger and sometimes even contact the proper authorities before you realize an incident occurred.

Security systems work by using a variety of sensors placed around your home that monitor different types of threats. Some can be placed around windows in your home to monitor for broken glass, others send you an alert toxins are detected. A popular choice homeowners have opted for lately is surveillance cameras – these can be best used at your front door, inside your home, or all along the perimeter.

A photo of a security camera on the exterior wall of a house overlooking the side of the house and the yard area.

How Can Your Phone Keep Your Home Secure?

The technology that security systems use is very advanced and gives you the satisfaction of immediate protection when needed. Often, you can open the system’s app on your phone and control certain features from your smart device. This means that the next time you forget to lock your door or close the garage, just one tap on your phone will take care of it! 

Streamlining your home’s protection is never considered an unwise decision. Studies have shown that having an alarm system deterred 60% of burglars once they saw it. If that isn’t enough proof that security systems are crucial, another study showed that homes without a security system were burglarized 300% more often than those with one. Those statistics should make you realize that investing in effective and accessible security for your home is essential.

Your Phone Can Also Save Your Life

It’s a wild thought – the same device that calls your mom or gives you directions to brunch can be what saves your life. In the middle of a life-threatening situation or moments after a natural disaster strikes, your smartphone may be your only chance at survival. Androids and iPhones have a handy feature that sends your location to a 911 operator if you can dial the number on your device. This feature is helpful for those in situations where their life depends on being quiet or not speaking. 

Maybe the threat you find yourself in is from a natural disaster. In this case, your phone can provide help by giving you a set of helpful resources for whenever things may not be functioning properly. After intense disasters, many phone lines could be damaged, so relying on an SOS style app might be the only way you’ll be able to communicate with others. Downloading any of these apps would be wise if you live in a hotspot for natural disasters or know that one is approaching.

A photo of a phone screen on the dial page with “911” typed in, ready to dial.

Can Pop-A-Lock Help, Too?

At Pop-A-Lock, we are dedicated to putting your safety first – that’s why we offer services day and night, year-round. If your home’s safety was recently jeopardized, then you might want to consider giving us a call. Rekeying your home after purchasing, once a roommate moves out, or after a break-in will help ensure overall security. Our technicians are background checked and are highly trained to provide you with the best service possible. 

We also offer a free security audit that you can do today! Running through this checklist will help you identify weak areas in your home and ultimately address how to improve them. Our team is always available to help you double-check any areas of concern you may have and can even guide you through solutions we offer, like a new security system!

Safe Travels: How To Secure Your Luggage

Now that travel is ramping up again, you may be planning a trip sometime in 2022. If you are, you’ll want to make sure you know everything about keeping your luggage safe. The fear of losing luggage can be daunting, but we’ve provided some tips to help you along the way. With the following suggestions, you’ll be able to keep valuable items safe and make sure your luggage makes it to your destination in one piece.

Pack Lightly

Less is more, especially when weighing the risk of losing items. Avoid bringing highly valuable or sentimental items. Take staple clothing items that you can wear interchangeably. For most travel purposes, you’ll only need a couple of pairs of shoes. You can find travel sizes of your necessities or get TSA-sized containers to put them in. You’ll also want to learn some suitcase organization tips. If you throw everything into the suitcase without care, you won’t have any idea if your luggage has been tampered with! Add only what you need, and do so in an organized fashion.

Get Creative With Valuables

If you decide to bring any valuables with you, get creative with how you store them. You can hide jewelry in socks, or mix it in with your toiletries. If you need to bring cash with you, tuck it into a book where it will be well concealed. Some have even opted to use empty deodorant containers as vessels for valuables. However, the most reliable place to keep valuables when traveling is in your carry-on. This way, you can keep an eye on them at all times. 

Follow TSA Guidelines

If you’ve traveled before, you’ve surely visited the TSA website to check which items are permitted. You may store liquids in bottles that are 3.4 oz or smaller inside a sealed quart-sized bag within your carry-on. Larger liquid containers can go inside your checked baggage, but it’s recommended to pack lighter with travel-sized containers. 

TSA also defines which locks to use when securing your luggage. TSA-approved locks can be opened with a universal master key. If you don’t comply with these guidelines, they’ll have to cut your lock open. When using the correct lock, the only people getting into your luggage are you and the TSA employees.  

Make Your Luggage Stand Out

If your luggage looks like every other suitcase at baggage claim, you run a much greater risk of losing it. The last thing you want is someone else walking off with your luggage because it’s identical to theirs. To help your luggage stand out, you can tie a colored ribbon around the handle or add stickers from your favorite vacations. In addition, you should always have luggage tags filled out on each bag or suitcase you use to travel. If your suitcase or bag does get misplaced, having a luggage tag is the most efficient way for someone to get it back to you.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Common sense tells us we should keep our luggage in sight at all times. The reality of this is, it’s easier said than done. If you travel with a carry-on, have it in your hands or your lap while you wait for the plane. If you take the tram to get across the airport, stay aware of what’s happening around you. Avoid looking down on your phone. Be careful in crowded spaces and hold tight to your items when you bump into people. This is an easy way for thieves to grab your bags without you noticing.

Track Your Luggage

As crazy as it may sound, you can buy a tracker to place in your suitcase and track it with your phone. It’s like you’re a secret agent all of a sudden! Be sure to read reviews on trackers, as some may work better than others. If your luggage ends up lost or stolen, a suitcase tracker will save you a lot of time and stress. Plus, you get to have a little fun in the process.

Purchase Travel Insurance

When in doubt, travel insurance is always a great option. Not only will travel insurance protect you from any health issues or injuries while you’re out of town, but it’ll also reimburse you for missing luggage, unlike most airlines. However, as with all insurance policies and documents, be sure to read the fine print. Every insurance company varies in its maximum coverage amount. If you’re traveling with valuables, you’ll want to be sure the insurance will cover those as well. Some travel insurance policies also result in a deductible when your luggage is misplaced. In most cases, it’s still worth it to purchase insurance.

Traveling can be stressful, but that shouldn’t take away from the fun. Packing lightly, tagging your luggage, and investing in travel insurance are only a few of the ways to keep your luggage secure. Pop-A-Lock is here to help you worry less and explore more in 2022 with these simple tips.

Locked Out? When to Call for Help and When to Do it Yourself (And How)

We’ve all experienced that dreaded moment of being locked outside of our own home. In many cases, it can be tempting to try and break in. Not only can this damage your door, but it can look suspicious to people passing by if they do not know you. If you must break into your own home, we have a few tips on how to do so.

What to do Before Trying to Open the Door Yourself

Attempting to break into your house can leave you with a damaged lock, doorknob, or door frame. If you’re considering hacking your way into your home, walk through these steps first.

  1. Get A Spare Key From a Family Member, Friend, or Neighbor

Maybe you lent your key to a neighbor so they could watch your house when you went on vacation. Or maybe you gave a spare key to a friend or family member for this exact reason. Either way, if you’ve given anyone a spare key to your house, see if they can let you in.

  1. Call Another House Member

If your house member isn’t home and they aren’t locked outside with you, they more than likely have a key in their possession. Though having a house member come to your rescue is ideal, you may not always have the luxury.

  1. Call Your Landlord or Apartment Concierge

If you rent a house or an apartment, it should be fairly easy to get back in. Either your landlord or the office of your apartment complex will have a key to your place. However, if it’s after hours you may be out of luck.

  1. Check for an Open Window or Back Door

Though it’s never a good idea to leave any door or window open, it’s worth a shot to check in this case. Do note, however, that if an upstairs window is unlocked, it is not worth it to attempt climbing up your roof to get in. It’s always better to play it safe, even if that means waiting for a locksmith to come to your location.

When Should You Do it Yourself? And How.

If you do attempt to unlock your door yourself, be sure you have an adequate reason to do so. If you’re truly in a time pinch and can’t wait for a technician to reach you, we have some tips on how you can unlock your front door. However, these methods only work if you have certain tools available – even if those tools are things like a credit card and bobby pins.

  1. Use a Credit Card

Credit cards aren’t just for emergency purchases – they can be used to unlock your door in an emergency. Simply place your card between your door and the door frame. Then, press the card away from the doorknob and towards the frame of the door to undo the latch. Keep in mind, this could damage your card so it’s best to use a plastic card you no longer need.

This method will only work on a spring bolt. If you have a deadbolt lock, you’ll need to try a different method.

  1. Remove the Doorknob

If you have a Phillips screwdriver, you can try removing it altogether. Unlike other methods, removing the doorknob is non-damaging so it can be a great place to start. However, this method will not work if your doorknob is tamper-proof. 

  1. Pick the Lock

Picking a lock sounds simple but it can be the most challenging option to unlock your door. You can use this step-by-step method to pick the lock with hairpins but it won’t work as efficiently as professional locksmithing tools would. 

When to Call a Locksmith

At the end of the day, your best option to unlock your door is to call a professional locksmith. A trained technician will be able to get you back into your home without damaging your locks. Plus, a professional locksmith can make a copy of your house key so you don’t end up in this situation again.

If you wind up locked out of your residential home, a Pop-A-Lock expert will be happy to assist you. Your safety is our number one priority, and we aim to get you back on track quickly, safely, and at an affordable price. For all of your locksmithing needs, your local Pop-A-Lock is here to help!


Warehouse Security Tips: How to Keep Your Commercial Work Space Safe

Between the high square footage and the abundance of products stored within their walls, warehouses are significantly vulnerable to theft. The number of goods found inside can be enticing to potential burglars and the vastness of a warehouse can provide ample opportunity for thieves to sneak around. However, if you implement these security measures, rest assured your building, your products, and your employees will be safe.

Here are a few things to consider when assessing the safety of your commercial warehouse.

Electronic and Biometric Locks

Though traditional locks may be appropriate in a typical office setting, they often won’t be a safe choice for a warehouse building. As the number of key copies grows, so does the risk of theft. Traditional keys can easily get lost or placed into the wrong hands. 

Electronic locks allow access through a passcode, which closes the gap for who can access a building. Not only does it eliminates the risk of losing physical keys, but a passcode cannot be stolen. The passcodes for these locks can also be changed periodically for more secure access. If someone needs access for a limited amount of time, they can be given a time-sensitive code to access the building. After the designated time has passed, the code will no longer work.

Biometric locks take security one step further. These locks require a fingerprint or retina scan to access the building. Biometric locks are by far the most secure because there is no faking someone else’s fingerprint.

Reinforce Entryways

Highly secure locks will go a long way in protecting your warehouse but only if they are supported by secure entryways. Be sure to install strong deadbolts, long high-durability screws, and heavy steel doors. 

To make sure your doors are secured in their frames, consider changing out ½ inch screws for 3 ½ inch screws. This will make the door significantly harder to kick in. 

For rolling doors, using high-strength locking mechanisms and thicker-gauge steel can prevent most intrusion attempts. Windows should be reinforced and kept locked whenever the warehouse is not in use. Rolling steel shutters can help further secure windows while protecting the building from natural disasters.

Motion Detection Alarms

Motion detection can alert you and your monitoring provider when someone is on your premises that shouldn’t be. When unwanted movement is detected on your business’ property, a signal is sent to your security system’s control panel, which then goes to your monitoring provider’s central system.

Oftentimes, your monitoring provider will investigate the movement and determine the next steps – whether that’s activating a message through the warehouse speakers or contacting emergency services. 

Be Thorough with Your Lighting

Poorly lit areas in a warehouse present two issues – safety hazards for employees navigating the space and a greater ability for criminals to hide. 

Every corner of a warehouse should be well lit, including the perimeter of the building. This will keep employees safe, prevent criminals from sneaking around the premises, and ensure quality video surveillance. Well-lit video surveillance makes it easier for a monitoring provider to identify a threat and take appropriate action. If your warehouse is not lit properly, motion detection security may not be as effective.

Fire Prevention

Building fires can have drastic results in any situation, but especially when a warehouse full of valuable products is at stake. Modern fire prevention such as fire sprinklers, fire exit doors, and fire extinguishers should be installed throughout the building.

Be sure your employees know the proper fire escape routes and establish a designated meeting ground.

Perimeter Protection

Stopping criminals before they even gain access inside the building is critical to keeping your employees and your products secure. After all, the perimeter of the building must be breached before a crime can take place. 

While traditional security equipment like CCTV can record footage and alert you after the fact, they are not capable of intervening with criminal activity.  Proactive video monitoring technologies that trigger an alert to your monitoring provider will be immediately investigated through a live feed, thus more effective than CCTV.

Depending on your provider and the technology, a security specialist will be able to address the intruder with an audio warning instructing them to leave the property. Many monitoring technologies also allow remote notification to on-site warehouse security. Essentially, proactive video monitoring functions as a 24/7 security guard for your warehouse.

Glass Break Sensors

Glass break protection signals an alarm if a panel of glass has been broken or shattered. It works by detecting noise or vibrations coming from the glass. If the vibrations exceed a certain threshold, indicating the glass has been broken, your alarm provider’s monitoring center will be notified.

Keeping your warehouse secure doesn’t have to be complex. By following these essential security measures, you can have peace of mind that your warehouse is safe. For commercial security solutions and lock hardware installation, your local Pop-A-Lock is happy to help! 

How Safe Is Your Apartment? Security Tips for Renters

Searching for a new apartment can be an exciting process, but there’s a lot of things to keep in mind. You want your new place to feel safe and inviting. But how can you tell if your new apartment is the right one for you? Aside from the obvious location, price, and amenities people first consider, it’s important to recognize the safety of a potential apartment as well. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind before, and after, you find a new apartment.

Landlord Credentials

One of the most important things to do before renting an apartment is to check your landlord’s credentials. A legitimate rental company will have a professional website and licenses for all their properties. It is easy to find out if your landlord has these credentials online by Googling their name. It is also a good idea to ask residents about the landlord.

Entrance to the Complex

A gated entrance can be an excellent deterrent for thieves, but they aren’t all created equal. Check the hours, if any, that the gates are open during the day. Gates that use a clicker are often more secure than a passcode entry, since only the residents can have access.  Check out the apartment public areas, like the pool and gym. These should also require a key or access code. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the complex’s security features.

General Maintenance

Apartment grounds that are well maintained are a good sign of safety and a better experience overall. Take a look at fences on the property to make sure they’re not broken or missing boards. Overgrown landscaping, peeling paint, and broken lights are a dead giveaway for neglected apartment spaces.

Local Crime Rates

When touring a new apartment complex, research what crime rates are like in the area. Ask your landlord about the noise level and nightlife. If you’re an active person who likes to stay out late, make sure it’s a safe neighborhood for you to walk around in.  Avoid apartment complexes near abandoned buildings or factories, since they will often attract unwanted activity. 

Now that you’ve decided where you want to live, there are some steps to take toward making your own apartment safer.

Purchase Renter’s Insurance

​​Though landlords have rental insurance to cover the building you live in, this will not cover your personal property. Most landlords require their tenants to have renter’s insurance, but you should invest in it regardless. Renter’s insurance is an inexpensive policy that covers theft, damage, and loss of personal belongings. Don’t wait until you have a horror story about pipes bursting and flooding your apartment. Have renter’s insurance ready the day you move in.

Make Sure Doors and Windows Are Secure

Make sure all your windows and doors are sealed tightly. Make sure all locks work properly. Bolt locks work best on windows, while deadbolts are better for doors. Consider getting a door chain (with your landlord’s permission) to put across the door when you’re home alone, or at night to prevent any unwanted visitors. 

Make sure you have blinds on all your windows, and keep them shut at night and early in the morning when it’s still dark. Be mindful of what can be seen when your blinds are open. It’s not uncommon for thieves to “window shop” before robbing an apartment. Don’t leave valuable items in the window’s line of sight. 

Don’t Forget to Lock Up

There’s no use checking the locks on your apartment if you don’t use them. If you’re leaving your apartment for any period of time, even just to walk the dog outside, make sure all doors and windows are locked. Just because it is daytime outside, doesn’t mean thieves aren’t out there waiting to take advantage of busy citizens.

Meet Your Neighbors

Get to know the people living around you and exchange numbers in case of an emergency. Make sure you stay connected to the neighborhood by getting to know your neighbors and looking out for each other. If something seems off, report suspicious activity right away. You can also encourage crime awareness among others through social media or handing out flyers letting people know how to prevent theft.

Keep Your Balcony Clean

Your balcony is a place to get fresh air, not a storage unit. If you have a lot of personal items on your balcony, consider moving items inside, or asking the landlord about a storage room. Thieves will often climb balconies to gain access to open windows and unlocked doors. Your balcony acts as a preview of what you may have in your home. Keep it clean and well lit at night.

Consider Investing in a Safe

If you have valuable items that you keep in your rented apartment, it might be worth investing in a safe. A small safe (under 10 pounds) should suffice, but this will vary from person to person. A safe will also protect personal paperwork from fires. If this is your first time purchasing a safe, here are some helpful things to consider.

It is important to consider the safety of your apartment before, and after, you move in. By scoping out a potential apartment complex and analyzing the security and maintenance, you’ll be one step ahead in securing your rented space. After moving in, be sure to keep doors locked, windows closed, and valuables stored away. Create a community by getting to know your neighbors, and make sure you’re all prepared with these top safety tips.

Living Alone? Here Are Our Top Safety Tips

The thought of living along can be both exciting and scary. On one hand, you can keep your home as clean or messy as you want, listen to music at maximum volume, sit in silence, or parade around the house in whatever clothes you please. Living alone allows complete control over your space and how you use it.

On the flip side, it also means you have to take your personal safety into greater consideration. Though living alone can sound dangerous, if you follow these simple precautions, you’ll get to enjoy your newfound independence with peace of mind.

Connecting with Others so It’s Not Obvious You Live Alone

A large part of feeling safe when living alone is creating the appearance that you’re not alone.

One easy way to do this is by setting automatic timers on your lights. Most burglaries happen during the day when people are at work. By putting your lights on a timer, it will appear that someone is home even during the day. Motion sensored flood lights are also great to install. They’ll deter potential burglars, while making you aware of any activity outside your home.

It’s important to know your neighbors, especially when living alone. Make it an initiative to meet as many neighbors as possible. At the very least, get familiar with those living directly across from you and on either side of your home. Exchange numbers with your neighbors so you can keep each other informed.

In addition to knowing your neighbors, it’s helpful to have friends over frequently. Burglars and other threats are less likely to target a busy home. If you’re ever having maintenance work done, invite some friends over while the workers are present. Not only will this keep you safe, but socializing with others is an important part of mental health when you first move into your own place.

Best Practices for Home Safety

It may sound like an obvious statement, but don’t forget to lock your doors every time you leave the house – whether you’re gone for a few minutes or a few hours. When you’re inside your home, be sure to use the deadbolt to lock your doors. And, unless you’re trying to let in some fresh air, keep your windows closed and locked. You may also consider rekeying your locks, or installing an electronic lock for additional security.

Be sure to close your blinds and curtains, especially at night. This is an easy way for people to peer into your home. Along with closing the blinds, avoid keeping valuable items within sight.

Don’t neglect your peephole. Blindly opening the door to anyone that knocks can be dangerous for anyone, let alone someone who lives by themselves. Take it one step further by investing in a doorbell camera. This way, you can see what’s going on at your front step whether you’re home or not.

Store your neighbors contacts, on-site security, and any other trusted phone numbers in your favorites. You’ll be able to access emergency numbers (in addition to 911) quickly in a threatening situation. You may also consider sharing your location with those you trust. 

Stay aware both inside and outside of your home. Avoid staring down at your phone or wearing headphones with loud music. Communicate with neighbors and stay on the lookout when you see signs of suspicious activity.

If you don’t already have a security system, you should install one as soon as possible. Even a doorbell camera, as mentioned earlier, will allow you to stay up to date when you’re away from home.

For a living security system, consider getting a guard dog. Not only will a furry companion ward off intruders, they’ll keep you company in your new home. Having a pet provides the comfort of a roommate, without the drawbacks of having to compromise with one.

Living alone might sound scary, but all it takes is a few simple steps to keep you safe. Remember to connect with others, lock the doors and windows, and to stay aware of your surroundings. We hope these tips will give you the peace of mind to enjoy your home.

Looking to install a security system, rekey locks, or duplicate a house key? Your local Pop-A-Lock is here to help!

Creative Places to Hide Your Christmas Presents from Family, Friends, and Kids

Several wrapped gift boxes in red, white, and brown wrapping paper and ribbons.

The holidays are quickly approaching, and that means something different for everyone. Whether your favorite part of the holidays is making memories with friends and family, cooking delicious meals, or decorating the home in the spirit of Christmas, we can guess what your least favorite part is: hiding gifts from prying hands and eyes. Especially for those with small children, who can hardly think about anything else for the entire month of December! Thankfully, your local Pop-A-Lock is here with a handy guide for creative places where you can hide your Christmas presents!

For some, hiding Christmas presents is as easy as grabbing a ladder, or climbing up to the top shelf of your pantry. Others, however, might want to try a less obvious place. After all, what’s the point of hiding your gifts if you don’t even forget where they are?

One thing that we can assure you of is this: nowhere is off limits when it comes to hiding Christmas presents from inquisitive kids and prying eyes. Keeping in mind that the older your kids get, the harder the hiding becomes, check out these top six places to stow away those toys!

A living room decorated for Christmas, with red stockings hanging over a white fireplace next to a green armchair.

In the refrigerator. Since it’s a place that most kids know to stay away from, this is an extremely clever way of hiding Christmas presents! We all know kids, especially young ones, will do anything to stay away from the vegetable drawer, making it an ideal place for their December 25th goodies. The downside of this trick, is that it only works for presents that are small or flat, and that can withstand the cold. For particularly tough presents, consider trying the freezer!

In your oven. With all those holiday cookies and pies coming out of the oven, why not stick in some gifts too? Just make sure they don’t get overcooked. This hiding place may serve as a temporary storage place for presents (until the cooking begins), but who would think to look in the oven?

In your closet. This is a great way to hide gifts for older kids who are less likely to snoop around closets than younger children, but keep in mind that the presents shouldn’t be too large or bulky, otherwise you might have some explaining to do! The darker and deeper the closet, the better. To give kids an extra hard time, wrap the presents in some old clothes or blankets, stick them up high, or stack them behind some boxes.

At the bottom of the laundry basket. Getting your kids to do their laundry is difficult as it is, so you can have peace of mind knowing that your kids will never dig down to the bottom of the basket in search of a gift.

In your tool box or a toy chest. If you have an older child, chances are they don’t play with their toys as often anymore. By hiding presents in a toolbox or toy chest, they will forget about them for years! Just be careful when digging around, those screwdrivers can be sharp little guys!

And finally, in your plants! Watering plants is a chore to most kids, so hiding them in an area they avoid is a foolproof way to make sure those gifts stay hidden. Make sure those presents are waterproof (or take waterproofing measures prior to hiding), because opening a brand new gaming system or cell phone on Christmas morning won’t be quite as fun if it’s water damaged.

Santa Claus holding onto the sides of his glasses with both hands, and an open mouth looking surprised.

With these six creative places to hide Christmas presents from your friends and family, you’ll be able to keep those gifts a surprise until the very last minute. Happy holidays!

And if for some reason you lock your presents away so well even you can’t get to them, call your local Pop-A-Lock locksmiths to break them out for you! Trust us, we’ve probably seen weirder.

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.