Car crime is a common occurrence

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It’s a sad fact that in the UK, car crime is a common occurrence.

But there are some security measures you can take to help prevent you being caught out.

  1. Car alarm – it is quite an old method but, car alarms are effective. They are not just designed to wake up the neighbours when fluffy the cat jumps on your car at three In the morning
  2. Car immobiliser– An immobiliser is an electronic device designed to prevent a car from being started by someone without the proper key.
  3. Car tracking systems – Car tracking systems require a transmitter to be hidden in your car. The if stolen, you can track the vehicle and recover it. This isn’t going to prevent it from being stolen but is a great peace of mind.
  4. Steering locks – Although these are quite ugly but for a relatively cheap cost you can prevent your vehicle from being driven, so its food for thought
  5. Hide valuables – This will not cost you a penny!, but hiding your valuables when leaving the car is the BEST things you can do to stop your car being targeted

keeping you & your car safe – It’s not always about the keys ( but they do help)

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There are lots security measures that can easily be taken to help prevent you becoming a victim of car crime many of which are common sense, what’s more, some of these measures could also get you a reduction in the cost of car insurance.

1. Car alarm

Car alarms aren’t just about waking the neighbours at three in the morning when a big lorry trundles past. They’re also about alerting you to the fact that some unscrupulous so-and-so could be meddling with your motor. Although they can’t physically stop a car (or valuables kept inside) from being stolen, a thief will likely think twice before tackling a set of wheels that he or she knows will get everyone’s attention if the alarm’s set off. The threat of a piercing sound and flashing lights is a powerful deterrent, and some alarms also come with a pager to alert you if they are activated.

Most modern cars come pre-equipped with an alarm. If you drive an older vehicle, getting an alarm professionally fitted will help secure your car and could result in cheaper car insurance.

2. Car immobiliser

An immobiliser is an electronic device which prevents a car from being started by someone who doesn’t have the proper key. Although an immobiliser won’t stop a car from being broken into, it may stop it from being stolen. And even if a thief can somehow start an immobilised car, the extra time this would take would very likely dissuade them from even attempting it.

Since 8 October 1998, all new UK cars have had immobilisers fitted as standard, but if you drive an older car, getting an immobiliser professionally fitted will help secure your car and could mean cheaper car insurance.

3. Car tracking systems

Car tracking systems require a transmitter to be hidden in your car. If stolen, the vehicle can then be tracked and recovered. There are two main types of tracker: GPS systems can find your car whilst it’s at street level, and VHF systems can find your car even if it’s hidden in an underground car park or storage container. However, tracking systems can be quite expensive, often requiring a significant monthly subscription charge.


4. Secure parking

If your home has a driveway, or better still a garage, then use it. Cars parked off-street are far less likely to be stolen than those parked on the road. When away from home, try and leave your car in a secure car park – one with a ticket barrier or attendant. If you have to park on the street, do so in a busy, well-lit area, and if at all possible, beneath the gaze of a CCTV camera.

5. Hide valuables

It’s not just car thieves you have to worry about, there are plenty of crooks out there who are simply after your valuables. Therefore, never leave expensive goodies out on display within your car – it’s just too tempting for the opportunistic thief. Satnavs, mobile phones, CDs, laptops, briefcases, jackets and sunglasses are all fair game – so make sure you hide them out of sight in the glove compartment or boot.

6. Don’t forget to lock your car

This may seem like a no-brainer, but plenty of cars get stolen as a result of forgetful owners. Even if you’re only leaving the car for a short while – at a petrol station, for instance – your vehicle, or any valuables left on the seat, are at a very real risk of theft. The same goes for windows and sunroofs – always close them when you leave the car, no matter how short a time you’re away (the exception, of course, is if you have a pet on board – in which case just leave a small gap).

But worse than leaving a car unlocked is leaving a car unlocked and with the key still in the ignition – that’s just making a car thief’s job too easy. So try and get into the habit of checking the door handles every time you leave the car. One more thing – once you get home, don’t leave the car keys on a table near your front door. Thieves have been known to pop a coat hanger through the letterbox to hook the key ring.


And finally…

…if you’re thinking of buying a car, you can get an idea of how safe and secure it is by checking out its Thatcham vehicle security rating.

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Quick Guide to your locks

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Some home insurance policies need you to know what kind of door lock types you have. Our helpful guide is your key to identifying what you have in your home and garden.

  1. Mortice locks

Mortice deadlocks are one of the most common type of locks referred to in a policy. A mortice lock requires a key to both lock and open it. Your home insurer may ask that it complies with British Standard BS3621.

  • External use, harder to break design
  • Check for the Kitemark symbol
  • Check for at least five levers marked on face plate
  1. Nightlatches

You may know these as ‘secondary locks’. In general, they come in two forms: standard nightlatches and deadlocking nightlatches.

  • Standard – locks the door automatically unless you use the snib to hold the latch back
  • Deadlocking – locks automatically and needs a key to open the door from inside and outside
  • Deadlocking latches are more secure
  • Extra security – should not be sole lock on the door
  1. Multi-point locking systems

Multi-point locking systems are now commonly used and are found mainly on UPVC doors. A multi-point locking system has a minimum of three locking points that all lock simultaneously with the turn of a key.

  • External use, garage and patio doors
  • Minimum three locking points
  • Locks using hook bolts, camrollers or pins
  • All points lock simultaneously
  1. Cylinder locks

Cylinder locks are a common type of lock found on doors. You would need to check with your home insurer whether this type of lock is acceptable as some types of cylinder locks are vulnerable to a technique known as lock snapping.

  • Internal and external use
  • Easy to install
  • UPVC and composite friendly
  • Check lock for Kitemark or ES symbol
  1. Sliding patio doors

Sliding patio doors may be referred to specifically in a policy as the lock requirements will slightly differ from that of a standard door. Sliding patio doors can be vulnerable as they can be lifted off their runners.

  • Open onto garden or into conservatory
  • Key-operated multi-point locking systems or key-operated patio door locks at top and bottom – check your home insurance policy wording
  • An anti-lift device may be required
  1. Key-operated security bolts

Commonly used on external doors, including French and double doors. Your policy may specify that key-operated security bolts should be fitted to the top and bottom of the door.

  • Can be surface-mounted or fitted into the door
  • For French and double doors these should be fitted to the final closing door and positioned vertically
  • Surface-mounted bolts are only as strong as the screws which hold them in place
  • A mortice bolt is more secure than a surface mounted bolt. If the key is removed, the bolt cannot be opened or easily manipulated

There really are some despicable people out there

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During the last few days we have had to fit new door locks for the Hospiscare shop in Budleigh after they were broken into.

Having carried out security works for Hospicare for many years we were shocked to think that somebody could be so callous as to break in and steal from a charity shop ( they even stole the charity collection box !!). They do such great work in supporting so many people but it seems to be a sad reflection of some members of our society.

The event did get us to thinking that we would put some tips together on how retail outlets can try to protect themselves and their property from these characters so feel free to take alook at the below list and if you think we can be of any help to you then please do get in touch

Burglary Prevention Tips for Retailers

• Light all exterior points of entry with permanent fixtures that are difficult to reach or tamper with.
• Light the exterior of your business enough so that someone outside the building could see someone inside.
• Install a fence or hedge, it’s your first line of defence. You should be able to see through the fence. Hedges should be wide, rather than high, and of a prickly, thorny variety.
• Install window locks designed and positioned so they cannot be reached and unlocked after breaking the glass.
• Install safety glass or reinforce windows and doors with grills or bars.
• Install motion detectors to sense movement inside the building.
• Install entry protection alarms to detect the breaking of windows and the opening of doors.
• Relocate valuable stock away from doors or windows.
• Install a deadbolt lock in each exterior door.
• Train your staff, teach them about the burglary prevention measures you have taken and the correct use of any equipment you have installed.
• Explain to staff the importance of keeping a watchful eye for suspicious people/vehicles to prevent people ‘casing your premises’.
• Leave the till open, by leaving the till visible, open and clearly empty, any burglars seeking cash are likely to lose interest.
• Reduce stock, the less you have, the less that can be taken. Coordinate deliveries with your suppliers to introduce ‘just in time’ deliveries.

How to avoid being a victim of car theft

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According to the Office for National Statistics, there were almost 358,000 reported thefts from or of a car in 2014 alone. Since then the number of cars being stolen has risen by 30 percent!

This is staggering, your car is a valuable asset to any family and you should feel safe when leaving it.

Here are a few simple tips to help avoid it.

  1. Check it’s locked, and check again. Sounds obvious but it is important
  2. Park in the right place, check the area and if you don’t feel safe there then your car probably isn’t safe either.
  3. Hide your belongings. Don’t make your car into a shop window!
  4. Add to your security equipment. If your car didn’t come with an immobiliser or alarm you can always add it yourselves.
  5. Use the security features your car has. A lot of modern car’s offer a wide range of features such as ‘automatically lock on pull off’. They are here for a reason…use them.
  6. Think about where you keep your keys.
  7. Keep an eye on your number plate…this one may sound a bit strange but criminals are stealing number plates and using them for It can get you in a lot of trouble if not reported right away.
  8. Never leave your car running unattended!

New car key supplied in Exeter

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If you follow us on social media you would of seen that we recently supplied and programmed a spare key to a VW Passat in Exeter yesterday after the customer’s existing remote stopped working.

If you find yourselves in a similar situation, do not hesitate to contact us on 01392 461200 We’ll aim to be with you within 1 hour of your call!

For our full vehicle locksmith details follow this link

5 Tips to Avoid Locksmith Scams

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Take the time to do your research, find a trusted local locksmith before needing one in an emergency!

Locksmith scam artists exist, and they tend to target home and car owners when they are at their most an emergency. When people are panicked they make bad decisions.

Having a locksmiths card, contact details or even follow one on social media will help you avoid being scammed.

Here are 5 tips to help you find a trusted locksmith.

  1. Look for a real “local” locksmith

The best way to know whether a locksmith is trustworthy is to ask around. Find someone you trust that knows a trusted locksmith, it cuts your workload in half.

A decent locksmith will rely on referrals

  1. Check the locksmith’s credentials

You are well within your rights to ask for proof of ID, this person or company will be breaking into either your home or vehicle. The least you can do is make sure they are whom they say they are.

  1. Ask the locksmith for a cost estimate

As we said earlier, find a locksmith before the emergency. When doing so, find out a rough cost estimate.

This is because some companies will pray on the ‘emergency’ side of the job and end up costing you an arm and a leg

  1. Don’t let the locksmith drill your lock

If you are locked out and the locksmith’s first option is to drill the lock be very suspect. Typically drilling locks are only required on high-security locks. An experienced locksmith should have the skills and tools to unlock almost any door.

  1. Questions to ask before hiring
  • Where are you located?
  • Are you 24 hour?
  • Can you give me an estimate?
  • What factors cause the price to change?
  • Will you be able to prove you are who you say you are with ID

By answering these 5 questions it will give you the best chances of finding the locksmith for you.

Call us on 01392 461200 to arrange a home visit