Want to avoid getting locked out?

  • By Simon Gabriel
  • 27 Mar, 2016
Battersea Locksmith advice
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Advice from your Battersea Locksmith...

We have finally decided to take the plunge and add a blog to our SMS Locksmith website. We always wanted an easy way to share information with customers and we're super excited to start this journey. Keep coming back to our site and check for updates right here on our SMS Locksmith Blog.

There are a few simple ways to avoid getting locked out , it's happened to all of us. To most of us it usually happens when we forget our keys, simple solution - Keep keys next to your phone. Trust us it works, you never leave the house without your phone. 
We also know that it sometimes happens when all we wanted to do was throw out the rubbish. The door was left slightly open but the wind decided it wasn't supposed to be... Now we're stuck outside without a phone or keys, been there before too. The easiest way to avoid this happening is by simply disabling your lock. Every lock is designed for day to day use, this means the manufacturers know this happens and build in a button to disable to the latch. This could be a push button, a slide button and on UPVC doors it's a simple plastic cover on the side of the door that slides over the latch.

So next time you sneak the rubbish out, it's only a simple movement, and you wont get locked out ever again!

All things locks and security

By Simon Bernstein 05 Sep, 2017
This week we would like to discuss bicycle, motorbike and moped security . A rising number in bicycle use in London also means that thieves have more options on the streets. A lot of bicycles are taken to and from work being locked up outside major London stations and workplaces.

Due to the recent rise in bicycle theft & bicycle prices we thought we would go over the basics for securing your 2 wheeled vehicle no matter where you are.

A - Always secure your Bicycle/ Motorbike to a non removable  metal object preferably bolted to the floor or wall. This can include railings, purpose built bars for bike storage,  anchor points and very tall poles. Never secure your bike to a low pole or simply place the chain/ lock through the wheels. This will slow a would be thief down, but they can easily lift a £3,000 bicycle onto a moped, or even run off with it.

B - Always secure your bike between the frame of the bike, rear wheel and the bar its being secured to. This will ensure that as much of your bike is secured as possible. Securing the front wheel means a would be thief could easily release the front wheel of your bike and steal the rest. If you have an expensive seat we advise removing this as well, seats can be easily removed by a thief just passing by.

C -Secure your bike using a good lock. This seems obvious but we come across a lot of locks that just don't stand up to the job of securing property that's being left in public. The police advise spending 10% of what you spent on your bike, on the lock. This means if you paid any more than £300 on your bike, you need to spend minimum £30 to keep it safe.

D - When possible always use a D Lock!
We have come across many types and sizes of D-locks and the vast majority of them stand up well to attempted theft. They are usually composed of High grade metals that stand up to attacks with any simple methods. They are also 9/10 designed with a great key-way and anti pick systems that  will make it impossible for a random thief to pick.

E - Last but not least, keep a spare key. Whether it be at work or at home, its always best to have a spare key for a moment of emergency. Accidents happen and keys get lost in parks and in pubs, you don't want to be stuck without your favourite means of transportation.

In the event that you ever do, we're on standby to give you a helping hand. Just call our emergency Bicycle locksmith and we will find the fastest way to get you back up and riding.

By Simon Gabriel 30 Jul, 2016

What is a lock? It seems like a simple question, but we feel the need to go deeper and explain as simply as possible what a lock is. As we explain the basics of a lock, we’ll also briefly touch on why all locks can be picked. Whether it be a safe, a door lock, or a biometric lock, they can all be “picked”.  Whether someone has figured out how to or not is the real question.

Locks that cannot be picked are only un-pickable till it’s done.  As of now there are only a handful of locks in the world that will be in this category, but a fault is guaranteed to be found as security firms and the lock-sport communities test them, they are all found to have weaknesses, the question for each lock, which in turn will give it it’s security level, is how well is that weakness hidden. As we go into the mechanics of locks and how they work, all will be unveiled.

The point of a lock.

There are many types of locks and they are called by many different names, but at the end of the day they are all the same. They all have two functions whatever they are, to open and to lock. It needs to be able to open, without being able to open it may as well be a wall. If you can’t open the door then it’s the same as having a wall there, hence if a lock doesn’t open it’s pointless. Locks are meant to secure your property, be it cyber, residential or property, you need access to what’s behind the lock.

A lock that doesn’t provide any security by the same reasoning is the same as having a door without a lock or latch. The door is a door, but the lock isn’t really a lock as it doesn’t provide you with any safety. Simple, locks have to open and lock.

All locks need a key, a key is a very general term when you think about it. It could be a round key, a flat key, it could be a numerical code, it could be a remote and it can even be a fingerprint. From dials to passwords, keys come in all shapes and sizes; their purpose is to open the lock.

If you think about it, you even use lots of keys every day, the pattern you draw on your phone when unlocking it, the key to your front door, to your car, your email, your Facebook they all need keys.

Picking, manipulation & decoding.

We’re going to stick with manipulation for the sake of making this article easier. Picking & decoding are both kinds of manipulation. Manipulating the lock causes the lock to open by means other than the key, the lock in order to be a lock, needs to open, hence you can manipulate it. You’re bypassing the “key” and operating it by fooling the lock. With a physical lock that requires a key in order to open, you can pick it through the keyhole. There may even be methods of manipulating the lock as there are in padlocks. To open the lock via picking you need to replicate the movement and height of the key. No matter how many pins and how loose the tension on the plug needs to be a way can be found through. It can only be very difficult to replicate, not impossible as it was made in the first place. You may even need a special tool, but all can be manipulated.

This is all well and good when it comes to a physical key, what about a code, signal or even a card (the card having a non physical key in it). Well the manipulation is in the hack, the override or a bypass. It’s designed to open when coupled with the correct key, hence it can be manipulated to be opened.

When it comes down to it, locks come in all shapes and forms. They are all a sort of mechanism (internal moving parts, kinetic energy) designed to open and lock.

In our next blog post we’ll be talking about how it is exactly that Phyiscal locking mechanism can be manipulated.

Call your local locksmith for more information and to manipulate your lock if you need.

By Simon Gabriel 20 Jun, 2016

Holidays, the time of year when we go away to feel relaxed, the last thing we want is to come back and find a mess. It’s easy to avoid if we all take a moment out of the rush to get ready, just to make sure all points in the home are secure.

We have seen many an after burglary where the uncomfortable mess could easily have been avoided by spending 10 minutes doing a security survey. We ask you, what’s quicker, 10 minute security check or days of cancelling cards and speaking to insurance companies?

In this post we will advise of the main checkpoints and extra measures of security that can be taken to ensure your home is safe when you get back.

Doors - Sounds simple doesn’t it? Make sure every door that can be locked in the house is locked, whether it be bedroom door, back door, or the little door to the storage. The main doors are obvious, but if there are 2 or 3 locks on a door, lock them all. Doors that have a Night-latch (Top lock) can most times be double locked, don’t just let it close, lock it too. Deadbolts that can be double locked should be double locked, it only takes an extra second. UPVC Door? Lift the handle, ensure all the hooks, bolts and rollers are engaged, then lock.

Windows - Close tightly and bolt shut. If you have sash windows and they don’t have bolts, we advise having a professional come out and fit some. Best security for the windows is a key’d-bolt  from the inside going into the frame or adjacent window. UPVC window handles should be fully turned and locked, double checking windows will only take a few minutes.

Internal doors – Now we know this may sound a bit pointless, if the front door is locked and everything else is locked, why bother you ask? Easy, let’s just say that the absolute worst happens – a window is broken and the burglars manage to gain access. Should the internal doors be locked, this will make their lives much harder, they need more time to get through the house and they may even be locked in the room they break into. This keeps the damage to a minimum in the worst case scenario.

Alarm systems – If you have one, use it. Alarms deter burglars, the sight of the alarm from outside and the noise cuts their burglary short. Burglars will avoid a house with an alarm fitted as it’s easier to just go the neighbour who doesn’t have one.

Lights - Lights, TV, Radio. If you can set the TV and lights to come on and different intervals of the day and night, you’re set. A time switch will do the job, inexpensive and different appliances can be set to go on at different hours of the night/ day. If you have neighbours you trust, ask them to pop in every few days to turn a light on or off and play with the curtains. Opening the curtains halfway is also a good idea, closing them and leaving them closed for the extent of the holiday is a bad idea, it’s an obvious giveaway that the house is empty and just makes it easier for the burglars, curtains closed = no one can see them.

Keys – Spare keys, it’s always a good idea to make sure that any spare keys that have been given out to friends or family for safekeeping are accounted for. With an extended or even short holiday on the books it’s best to know who has your keys. Spare keys shouldn’t be left in the house when you’re out, if they are do your best to hide them in a safe location. At least if someone does manage to make it in, they won’t make it out through the front/ back door.

Last but not least, make sure someone near your home that you trust has a spare key while you’re away. This means they can check on your property, and if you happen to misplace your key while holidaying you can just pop by to pick them up on your way home.

Happy travels, and safe holidays!

By Simon Gabriel 11 May, 2016
Just a bit of information on why you should have a high security lock.

So today we would like to discuss our favourite types of locks for wooden doors. This doesn't mean these are the guaranteed best for your specific door, however for most doors these are fantastic.
Why? Well the answer to that is fairly simple. Convenience - Security - Safety.

Now you may think, wait a minute, aren't safety and security the same thing? Well there is a slight difference. Security keeps you safe from outside intruders, safety  is all round safety to tenants and families.
Now, lets start with describing the basics of all the British Standard High security night-latches. British standard locks provide what we call in the industry "insurance approved security". This means that if you have one of these on your door  (and the homes security is up to standard) and anything happens the insurance company have got you covered. This is simply because these locks are very good.

Most basic night-latches we have seen are never double locked. this is not only because its inconvenient for whoever is leaving, but locks whoever is in the house, in the house. This means that the latch that closes the door behind you, despite not being able to unlock via the key hole if you don't have a key. If you know what you're doing it's simple to open it, if your finger can press the latch in when the door is open, and the latch is the only thing there, chances are you can be burgled very silently and easily.

Higher security night-latches offer security in the simple way that you cannot press the latch in. It either extends as a full bolt, or when the door shuts it extends and locks itself. This is the most obvious solution against slipping the lock and also means that you don't have to worry about locking it behind you. From the inside of the property they can be accessed without needing a key, this means should a fire ever break out in the house everyone can get out safely, perfect for buildings with 4 or more non related tenants. Under the Anti drill plate which we'll get to in a second sits a lovely Anti-Pick cylinder, try pick it and you will either be there for a very, very long time or you will give up, neither of which is convenient for a burglar. This is all done to add security to your lock and make you feel secure.

As mentioned earlier the really good ones come with an Anti Drill plate over the front of the cylinder. This leaves just a slight gap in which to place the key, it means accessing the cylinder by means of destructive entry is going to be very hard and require special tools. It also makes a lot of noise which means burglars are not likely to even try once they see the Anti drill plate.

Many of them even come with Controlled key systems. This means that if you don't have the special card with the details of how to cut your key, you won't be able to get it cut. Handy if you have builders going in or out, rent to different tenants, or simply want to ensure your business is safe.

By Simon Gabriel 02 May, 2016
Window security, just as important as door security.

Seems fairly obvious that these can be used to gain access by burglars but often windows are sorely overlooked. Houses in cities especially houses in London and Greater London have windows that are fairly accessible. Whether this be straight via the ground floor, a nearby shrub/tree or even a solid drain pipe. Windows will often be below street level in central London, making it even easier to drop below, even break a basic latch open and no one can see. On the outskirts burglars have more time, less people passing by and if they notice a weakness they are known to make a mental note and come back at a later date.

We have been on jobs before and the client has had fantastic high security locks on their front doors, all the bells and whistles. This makes our job, and the burglars job somewhat harder, however after 3 minutes observing the property we find easy to access windows. These can be the highly popular sash windows with lead weights in the frame. These slide open upwards and the top window can often be slid down (provided the windows are balanced properly). Outwards opening wood windows can also be risky depending on the locking mechanism set on it. All locks (Key operated of course) that are operated from the inside of the home are good. This makes it much harder not only to open the lock, but just to get near it, most burglars wont risk a broken window.

Sash windows are very popular windows, they look good and they can be set to stay open at different levels - provided you have the right locks. On most Sash windows, especially the older wood, single glaze ones and even some double glazed, there is a simple latch on top of the lower window. This is a sash fastener, sash fasteners are operated by simply sliding a bit of aluminum make sure that the bottom and top window cannot be moved from the outside - or do they?
If there is any gap between the two windows, even if there is a weather seal between the gap, this offers direct access to the small sash fastener from the outside. Flat head screwdriver between the windows and that's it.
On sash windows it always best to install bolts, ones that  fix into the frame provide the best type of security, key operated bolts are even better. This insures that there is absolutely no access from outside to these bolts
If you have one on each side of the window going into the frame, you can add more holes thus ensuring that even with the window slightly open it cannot be forced.

For any security, window security, window bolts and window lock installations why not give us a call, for the nearest Locksmith check - http://www.smslocksmith.co.uk/locksmith-near-me
By Simon Gabriel 20 Apr, 2016
The importance of a front door.
Doors are the focal point of our homes, especially our front door. The front door is what everyone walking past your house will see, what guests will see and what potential buyers will see. Just like your front garden, it has a chance to leave a lasting impression and will be the first to impress.
Besides being impressive, it is also the main entrance to your home, your place of safety, the place you keep your shoes and laptops. For these reasons, and many more, your front door should be of good quality and good finishing. It deters could be burglars by having good locks, makes someone think twice before attempting. Most burglaries we have seen happen through the front door, a minority from the back door and windows.
This means that the front door you have is largely responsible for your safety - Your phone, laptop, shoes, handbags, pets, jewellery and most of our worldly possessions. So it clearly makes sense to install a safe front door and some decent front locks.

Fitting good doors & locks.
Your home security is made up of two obvious options - Doors & Windows. Unless someones planning on going through your wall (which lets be honest, would be an extraordinary tale) if your windows and doors are secure it's going to be very difficult for someone to make it in.
We highly advise that you check the width of your front door, regardless of if your renting or own this one is a must. Your front door width needs to be at least 44mm wide. Keep in mind that the width of your door is what is stopping someone sticking their leg through your door. We've seen many burglaries and it does make us sad, it's our job to make people safe . A lot of burglaries we have seen the door has been kicked in, from what we've seen it hasn't been incredibly difficult, no tools were used, just kicked.
This can be secured by placing a London bar and a Birmingham bar, one sits on the frame and one sits on the door itself, both reinforce the door against kicking.
Make sure you have a Kitemarked 5 Lever BS3621 lock, this will be visible on the plate. This lock goes by a few names "Bottom lock" "Chubb lock" - Mortice deadlock:
For the best burglary deterrent installing an Anti drill Face-plate to the Mortice lock is advised, this not only looks impressive, but will deter attacks on your Mortice lock.
Checking window locks
If you have sash windows a single Sash-Jammer in the middle simply wont do. Especially ground and first floor windows, having just one on each window is very risky. The best is to have a key operated bolt from the inside of the house, that bolt should go straight into the frame. Attacks are very limited on these locks as its on the inside of the house and its a key operated bolt so without a key, slipping it just wont work.
If you have UPVC windows and the handles are key operated those are great, very hard to open from the outside. If they aren't key operated consider changing them out, it's a simple process and inexpensive when employing a professional to do.
 At SMS Locksmiths we handle all theses aspects. We have an emergency door installation team on standby and a locksmith to attend to the locks. We take pride in every aspect of our work.
 Check www.smslocksmith.co.uk/door-repairs
Locksmith Prices:
  www.smslocksmith.co.uk/ pricelist

By Simon Gabriel 14 Apr, 2016
Can your lock be slipped? Have your heard of lock slipping or lock popping ? Have you ever wondered if it was possible on your front door?

Well, in the image above we have focused on the latch of a basic Night-latch. The unit itself goes by many names, Yale lock, Top lock, Latch and many more, all names for the same latch.
Internal doors with handles have the same type of latch inside, the only difference is that this one can be operated only with a key from the outside. This doesn't mean your door is locked, this simply means its latched closed. I like to think of it like magnets on a fridge really. It will keep your door closed and seem locked, however don't be fooled, its not locked. if you open your door and push that latch in with your finger, chances are if someone slips a piece of plastic, larger than a credit card, down the crack, this will "pop" your lock.

Many burglaries happen this way, it's silent and easy and non destructive. I've been to burglaries where this has happened while people are sleeping and it's scary.

My tip for today is to always lock your bottom lock, if you don't have one you must get one, for your safety. Please note that there are Night-latches that are designed to be Anti slip, these in fact deadlock the latch when the door is shut. This makes life and security just that little bit easier
By Simon Gabriel 04 Apr, 2016
We're not sure if you have heard, and if you haven't that's what this is for. There is a very simple way of gaining access to a regular Euro cylinder. Now, what is a Euro cylinder and do you have one? Simple, a euro cylinder is installed on almost all UPVC (Plastic) and commercial doors, the only part we normally see is the keyhole area, the front/ back.

The cylinder above is a perfect example of a basic euro cylinder, which has a large flaw. This flaw means anyone with a screwdriver and pliers can gain access to your property very easily.  As you can see above, in the center of the euro cylinder there is a hole for a screw. This hole makes the whole cylinder very vulnerable, the only thing there is a small connection, small enough to be easily snapped.

Once this is snapped all the hooks and bolts won't help, they are all operated by that euro cylinder. Once accessed it takes 3 minutes to be in the house and it's a fairly  quiet too. It seems a shame that so much is spent on a front door and yet the point that holds all the security is often looked over.

This is why there are a few tips we have for making sure this doesn't happen to your property.

1 - Make sure your locks are the correct size, if the cylinder juts out the front too far it makes the process so much easier and quicker. Without the need to pry the handles away it's silent and done in under 1 minute. This means there's not much point having a lock.
2 - Replace your handles with higher security handles, 2 STAR Kitemarked handles are the best, these make snapping the lock much harder.
3 - We save the best for last, just get an anti snap cylinder. Anti snap cylinders are designed so the front of the cylinder snaps off in case of attack, however the middle part can not be removed. This means no access to your property for burglars.

If you're ever in doubt just give us a call, we always have Anti snap 1 Star Kitemarked cylinders in our cars.

Call - 0203-151-0531
By Simon Gabriel 27 Mar, 2016
We have finally decided to take the plunge and add a blog to our SMS Locksmith website. We always wanted an easy way to share information with customers and we're super excited to start this journey. Keep coming back to our site and check for updates right here on our SMS Locksmith Blog.

There are a few simple ways to avoid getting locked out , it's happened to all of us. To most of us it usually happens when we forget our keys, simple solution - Keep keys next to your phone. Trust us it works, you never leave the house without your phone. 
We also know that it sometimes happens when all we wanted to do was throw out the rubbish. The door was left slightly open but the wind decided it wasn't supposed to be... Now we're stuck outside without a phone or keys, been there before too. The easiest way to avoid this happening is by simply disabling your lock. Every lock is designed for day to day use, this means the manufacturers know this happens and build in a button to disable to the latch. This could be a push button, a slide button and on UPVC doors it's a simple plastic cover on the side of the door that slides over the latch.

So next time you sneak the rubbish out, it's only a simple movement, and you wont get locked out ever again!
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