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Locksmith – Clippings and Musings – Helen Duval – September 2017

September 12, 2017

For the consumer, an electronic home security system can be a real source of comfort or a complete financial worry, with choice and technical aspects putting them in a technological quandary. Buying a new security system, and the associated monitoring that all too frequently comes along with the package, can be a daunting prospect. Contracts, technological changes that seem to happen very frequently as well as budgets are all aspects that homeowners tend to shy away from when it comes to making that all important final investment.

Burglars on the other hand are not tied to any of those constraints, they merely look for vulnerabilities. The typical burglar alarm system is wired to a central control panel in a home that is activated when windows and doors are opened unexpectedly while the system is armed, and whilst they are common today they still manage to be a great source of interest to the would-be intruder. Perhaps with the advancement of technology, the more complicated systems which incorporate fire and carbon monoxide alarms, sensors and, at the top end, systems which incorporate biometrics are a little more troublesome and a worthy adversary to today’s burglars.

The consumer values the importance of home protection and understands that burglars are not refined in their methods, with them relying upon the advantage of an open window or an unlocked rear door that can be jemmied open easily.

For the Locksmith community, it is a fine balancing act where locks and technology must combine, with quality and the best in accreditations being paramount to inspire the end user to commit to invest. Educating the homeowner is essential – there are plenty of cheap and accessible options out there, that will provide certain levels of security such as quality bolts, window locks and motion-sensor systems which will reassure consumers to a point.

Maintenance of systems, is a habit that Locksmiths should reinforce regularly with homeowners. Habits are important with locks and bolts always needing regular check ups – they will certainly show their vulnerability if not, when someone is away on holiday.

Consumer Reports suggest that some people occasionally still have the potential to leave certain doors unlocked at their property, with some leaving windows unlocked when they are away on holiday. That’s a worrying thing, if some of us are still prepared to leave all that is precious to us, open to theft and attack. Perhaps though, that is a generational thing, and as the need for technology to be incorporated into every day life becomes increasingly important, the likelihood of break-ins will decrease as technology and life evolve.

Technical Advancement

The advancement of technology has completely altered the way homes are protected today, with improved systems and more flexible financial options allowing greater security measures to be installed as we look to protect our homes. The digital revolution is here and has quickly made its way into the sanctuaries we call home – but whether we talk of the domestic sector, or we look further afield into the commercial and public sectors…. all need protecting.

Case study 2

Keeping the vulnerable safe is a huge priority and most recently this was demonstrated by Mul-t-Lock, which has incorporated the SMARTair access control system into a private hospital in Cheshire. This system will help to manage access to critical areas and further improve on-site security.

Spire Cheshire Hospital provides exceptionally high quality medical and surgical care for patients in Warrington and further afield across Cheshire. Staffed by an experienced and reputable multi-disciplinary team, the hospital aims to continually improve patient and staff safety. Consequently, the hospital has upgraded its security systems with the easy to use Mul-T-Lock SMARTair™, which replaces older mechanical systems.


Within the hotel and tourism sector, the Kinnettles Hotel and Spa, which is located in St Andrews, has recently undergone a major refurbishment programme. This has included the upgrade of a number of luxury Suites where the Securefast plc Smartlock Security system has been installed, for a number of bedrooms and communal doors.

The Smartlock ASL900 is a wireless, stand alone, access control system that uses MIFARE® RFID proximity card technology. This provides visitors to the hotel with simple, cable-free access solutions and complete reassurance regarding their belongings and safety.

A Growing Concern

Meanwhile looking at the automotive sector there have been a huge amount of break-ins reported by builders and installers recently. Thefts from vans are on the rise and leaving tradespeople vulnerable to a new type of burglar. According to the BBC around 30 police forces have stated that this type of crime has increased from 14,063 in 2014/15 to 22,749 in 2016/17. This equates to a van being broken into every 23 minutes according to a recent report.

Paul Marchment, SME Development Manager, commented: “These figures are consistent with what we are hearing from fleets at the moment. In our experience, van crime tends to occur in cycles and our feeling is that we are on an upswing.

What tends to happen is that thieves devise a new method of breaking into a van, operators adopt ways of preventing it, and there follows a decrease in the crime. Then, new techniques start to appear, and the whole thing happens again.”

Consequently, Arval is releasing new advice to construction fleet operators which includes fitting security measures such as trackers and slam locks. Taking measures against being targeted by minimising branding and also leaving vehicles in sensible, well lit parking places to deter break-ins are strongly advised.

Paul continued: “We work very closely with construction businesses to examine the kind of crime that is affecting their fleet and come up with the best solutions. This can range from knowing which kind of locks work best on a particular model of van to interrogating insurance statistics to identify which of your vehicles are operating in high-risk, high-crime areas

“There are certainly several steps that businesses from the smallest to the largest can take to mitigate the risk of falling victim to van crime.”

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