Tag Archives: Chicago Locksmith
Posted on December 14th, 2020 0 Comments
There are many scenarios – both common and rare – in which contacting a licensed locksmith is absolutely essential to ensuring the safety and security of your Chicago residential or commercial property. In this blog post, the best emergency locksmith service experts in Illinois will detail the key scenarios in which it’s absolutely essential to contact your trustworthy local locksmith provider.
Posted on August 3rd, 2019 0 Comments
If there’s any sort of downside to Summer, the best season of the year, it’s’ that there’s an increase home burglaries. So why don’t you take a minute to read our top Summer security tips, as prepared by the residential locksmith and home security experts here at Chicago Locksmiths– it will greatly help your peace of mind, whether you’re at home, at the beach, or on vacation.
Posted on October 23rd, 2016 0 Comments
What’s your vote on the worst possible car problems to find yourself with? Many people probably imagine that any sort of engine trouble would be incredibly aggravating – since, depending on your vehicle model, repairing engines might be an expensive operation. Other people might think transmission problems, since they’re also known to be quite expensive. Others might immediately think of common issues like blown out tires or broken mirrors, but there’s one incredibly commonplace issue that many people don’t even consider – being locked outside of your car.
Perhaps you lost your keys, or locked them inside your car – in any case, you need your keys back. Vehicle lockouts should be considered serious issues, since:
Car Locks are Unpickable
Car locks differ from most manual door locks. With doors, you might have had experience using a bobby pin or other skinny tool to open an accidentally locked door, but this can’t be doen with cars. Besides the truth that car locks are much more materially complicated than door locks, all vehicles from the last 20 years have an internal chip that works along with the lock and key mechanism to unlock your car. It’s not worth trying to pick a car lock, you can waste over an hour doing so, and all you’re going to probably accomplish is damaging your car- which will lead to the need for another extensive repair operation. It’s best to trust an experienced professional to unlock your car.
Being stuck in the Great Outdoors isn’t much fun
While we all wish that all car problems occurred during sunny and perfect weather, it just doesn’t. Outdoor weather doesn’t just affect you when you’re driving, but it can when you’re trying to get inside your car in the first place. Imagine being locked outside your car during frigid windy weather, or during a gigantic rainstorm. Or imagine being stuck outside your car in the heat of the summer, with 100% humidity. Not fun at all.
You’re going to be a Sitting Duck in the City
Chicagoans love their native city, but they understand that you don’t want to be stranded in an unfamiliar neighborhood outside your car. Being along by it isn’t a good idea when you can’t sit inside it, you’re going to look like a potential target for criminals, as well as suspicious to police officers who might interrogate you. It’s best just to avoid being stuck outside your car – or to find a way to get back inside as quickly as possible.
If you want to ensure that you can get back into your vehicle as quickly and safely as possible, Chicago Locksmiths can be a fantastic ally – we maintain a 24/7 emergency lockout service, with an approximately 15 minute response time, so you’ll never have to wait around for that long.
Posted on April 17th, 2016 0 Comments
Locks are a matter of ancient history – they have existed for thousands of years, since the beginning of society. As history has progressed, the structure and construction of locks have changed. The invention of the padlock was one of the most influential changes in the evolution of locks. The important idea at the center of padlocks is the invention of a lock that can be added and removed from a separate device. Padlocks are simply detachable locks that can be secured with a shackle – which is put on a hinge or springed slide. In this brief blog post I’ll underline some of the important history and etymology of padlocks.
The Etymology of the word ‘Padlock’
Some theories imply that the prefix ‘pad’ means gate, with the implication that padlocks were originally made for locking gates. The prefix ‘pad’ could also imply foot traffic, or walking, implying that these locks were originally crafted to guard gates that led to paths. In the United Kingdom the term ‘Pad’ is also associated with ‘panniers’, baskets used with animals. This implies that perhaps the term padlock originated to describe the locks that merchants would place on bags of their wares that they would attach to animals to carry. The last theory asserts that the term came from Vikings in an English settlement who would use these locks to keep their livestock secure inside containers known as paddocks.
The most ancient padlocks currently on record date to 500 BCE, in the Roman empire. This artifact has around body made of iron, with a bolt that can be moved with a key. Many other Roman padlocks are made of two parts with a rectangle body, with a separate shackle and V shaped spring – the two far corners of the ‘V’ are pinched in order to allow the shackle to move. This construction is rudimentary but effective.
Evolution along the Silk Road
As trade routes between Europe and Asia were established, the use of locks became much more widespread as they were enlisted by merchants. By the year 25, the Chinese Empire had implemented massive use of padlocks – these often made of bronze. A few hundred years later in the English province of York, Viking settlements used padlocks to protect their livestock. Leading archeologists argue that these locks were made between the years 850 and 1000 – and as I mentioned before, were used on animal paddocks. The viking padlocks are structurally similar to the Roman padlocks however the Viking ones used flat keys, rather than the “L” bent Roman ones.
The most drastic changes to the structure of the padlock happened as they became more widely used in England. This evolution was spearheaded, funnily enough, by the use of smokehouses to preserve food. Before refrigerators, citizens needed methods of preserving food for long harsh winters. Smoking meat and fish became a method of rendering food much more impervious to the elements – and as food was in high demand, smokehouses would have to be locked to prevent the food from being stolen. These padlocks were made of wrought iron, and had custom keyways – warded with notches that matched keys. These padlocks however widely disseminated, had structural issues – they could be forced into, and it would be incredibly difficult to figure out if the lock had been picked.
In Eastern Europe – in Slavic areas like Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc..) the advent of the screw key padlock provided an alternative to the smokehouse padlock. This cylindrical key has to be twisted into the lock, and if it aligned properly it could be taken out without having to turn it the opposite way, at the same time stretching an internal spring which would retract the bolt. By around 1910 both screw key locks and smokehouse locks stopped being as popular.
Invented by the Swedish inventor Christopher Polhem, the Scandinavian lock consisted of a series of rotating disks with side grooves that would match with a certain key – additionally grooves on the outside of the disks had to align in order to release the shackle. Created in the 1870s, these locks continued to be manufactured until around the 1950s.
Also invented in Scandinavia, Cast Heart padlocks, made of brass or bronze, were made with a keyway drop, to protect it from being impacted with particulate matter, and could be easily carried. They were widely manufactured due to their usefulness in incredibly cold or icy climates.
Industrial Revolution and Advent of Electricity
During the 1870s, the Cast Heart lock became widely replicated with cheap materials. Many businesses began using the cheaper locks, even if they were less effective. During this time period, Yale was creating the first padlock that was made of modular components that could be replaced – allowing for rekeying. As electricity came to use, manufacturing of solid metal locks became cheaper and easier – and modular locks became a trend on an industrial level. Shrouds that cover the shackles also came to use.
In the 1920s the Master Lock company released their tumbler and pin based padlock -and manufactured them in droves. The simplification of cast dieing processes made it a possibility for companies to manufacture locks with ornate molds and designs – however due to this embellishment causing functional issues, this trend has mostly disappeared. However, padlocks have become ubiquitous – to the point of becoming a universal symbol of security. Even if new designs of more useful or efficient locks are made in the future, the impact of the padlock will live on in semiotics.
Posted on March 17th, 2016 0 Comments
Unlike the self contained, capsule security of cars, motorcycles’ lack of doors, locks, or hoods makes them especially vulnerable to theft. Anyone can access the engine or internal electronics – especially if you park on the street, and quickly drive off.Like bicycles, motorcycles can easilly be anchored and lfited up. Security creates a need to hybridize the ease-of-access of a motorcycle and the security of a succinct, closed car. In this blog post, I will be detailing some of the realities of motorcycle theft, and providing some detail as how motorcycle owners can prevent their bike from getting stolen.
Statistics of Theft
The most commonly stolen motorcycles are Honda, with Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki ,and Harley-Davidson leading. Since 2013, all these brands thefts have somewhat diminished, besides Harley-Davidson, which has increased. California is the top state for motorcycle theft, with Texas and New York leading closely behind. The increased usage, hence, street availability of motorcycles in the Summer, makes it the most common season for motorcycle thefts. The higher demand for motorcycle parts during the summer creates a higher incentive for thieves to steal parts from vehicles, which bumps up the theft rate significantly.
How Motorcycles are Stolen
One common method of stealing a motorcycle is rolling it into a van or truck, and simply driving it away – a rather quick process, especially if the bike isn’t locked and can easily be rolled up a ramp. Even if this isn’t the case, a small collection of people could easily lift the bike. Once inside the van, the motorcycle will no longer be visible to passersby – making it a much more stealthy and inconspicuous theft than driving away in a stolen car. Once the bike arrives at another location, they are able to disassemble the structure of the bike, taking off any security device.
Another method of motorcycle theft involves, simply, the thief starting up the bike and riding away on it. Many people don’t even lock their motorcycles – making it easy for thieves with double sided wafer pics,Try-Outs, or even a combination of determination and a screwdriver to start the ignition and drive away.
How to Protect your Motorcycle
One possibility is utilizing a ground anchor to fix your motorcycle to the floor of your property – these devices are usually installed inside home garages to maximize security. For those without home garages, this is not a practical option – so the best route to follow is to purchase a high security lock. Most Motorcycle owners prefer Disk Locks or U-Locks to padlocks because they eliminate the need to purchase a heavy chain. They offer increased convenience, but you’re going to need to purchase a few of them if you want to not use a chain at all. Place the U-Lock through the wheel, so it will stop it from rotating, or use it to lock the wheel onto a metal pole or any sort of anchor point. Make sure to invest in a U-Lock that releases on both sides of the shackle – this will cost any bike thief additional time when attempting to steal your bike.
Dick locks can’t be attached to an anchor – they secure your bike through bolting through a hole in the disk break – stopping the bike’s wheel from being able to spin. It’s best to use two disk locks on both wheels, but if you only have one, attach it to the front wheel as it’s much easier for thieves to remove. Don’t ever forget to take off the disk lock before riding your bike.
As far as padlocks go, you have tons of options – but when you’re making your purchase you should be paying heed to the thickness of the material, it’s weight, and the presence of a shroud that covers the sides of the shackle. Rounded cuts on the shackle indicates the presence of ball bearings in the lock, which upgrades its security level. It’s important to utilize multiple padlocks – as this works as both a deterrent method and a surefire way to upgrade the security level of the bike.
We recommend buying the strongest and sturdiest security chain as possible – these can be secured from various points to add additional padlocks and chains, as the chain is weaved through the multiple open components of the bike to an anchor point. We recommend getting a strong chain as the stronger the chain is, the more likely it is to resist attack from bolt cutters – spring for a chain with at least a 63 rating on the Rockwell scale.
There’s many varieties of alarms – shock sensors, tilt sensors, GPS tracker, proximity sensors, etc. Shock sensors go off if someone hits or shakes the bike. The tilt sensor goes off if the bike is moved from one side to another. GPS notifications tell you the exact location of the bike which is helpful in the event of a theft. And best of all, a remote kill switch allows users to remotely sever the link between the battery and bike starter, rendering the bike incapable of driving.
If you’re really worried about having your bike stolen – whether you can only park your bike away from view or if you live in a high crime area, theft insurance is a fantastic strategy to implement. Think of it this way – if your bike is an investment, it’s worth investing some additional funds to protect and insure it – if the bike ever gets stolen, you can get fully compensated – simply make sure to call the police before you call the insurance brokers, in order to maximize your chances of relocating your vehicle. It’s also a great idea to put custom markings on the motorcycle to aid in it’s recovery – consider utilizing products like DataDot and SmartWater to mark parts on the bike.
In Advance Security
Make sure to lock your handlebars and place your bike within view of your property – at the very least this will act as a deterrent for any thieves who want to avoid being seen. Make sure that the various layers of security that you use with your bike are separate – meaning that they can’t all be removed in one fell swoop, or can be controlled with a single key. Consider using a motorcycle tarp as a deterrent – even consider buying a tarp branded with the logo of a less appealing motorcycle brand to make potential thieves simply pass by.
It’s important, in bike security, to understand that every bike needs custom levels of protection – do whatever works specifically for you and your situation. Don’t go crazy or overthink things – as long as you stay practical, your security system will be both convenient and effective.
Posted on February 23rd, 2016 0 Comments
Buying a good safe is practical and wise investment to make. If you have valuables that merit protection, it’s important to find the best possible safe for your budget. If you need to buy a safe, you need a good safe, not a shoddily constructed one. If you’re simply trying to keep your kids out of your property, a cabinet with a lock will do. But if you’re looking for an incredibly secure area to protect essential valuables, it’s important to find the best one possible – this doesn’t mean that you have to completely break the bank. All safe companies will have a range of options at different price points. Here’s some factors to consider when you’re shopping around. Make sure to know what details to look out for and what questions to ask the manufacturer.
The safest, most sturdy and secure safes are made with continuous welding. This basically means that the weld fuses two metal pieces together perfectly, as opposed to a spot weld, in which multiple pieces are welded at multiple binding points. Vulnerable points in spot welded safes can be broken open with a sledge hammer, drill, torch – or even a specific tool made for that particular purpose. This means, not a safe safe. The best option to invest in is the solid, continuous metal provided in continuously welded safes.
Fire Resistance Ratings
Look into the official tests that the safe was subjected to – make sure to pay attention to the level of heat applied, and how long the test ran for. A safe that was only tested for a short time at a high temperature could technically be just as weak as a safe that was tested for a long time, at a low temperature. If the company cannot provide the details of the testing that the safe underwent in order to merit its rating, you shouldn’t buy from that company. Don’t you want your secure property to be protected?
The complex design of these internal security mechanisms should be able to provide resistance against the most expert of attacks. If the bolt work is shoddily designed so that the locking bolts are linked to the cam of the safe, simply sticking the bolts might open the entire safe. Look at the steel in the locking bolts – the longer that the bolts move into the door frame, the more security the safe will provide against attack. You want as thick and sturdy bolts as possible – as well as rotating lock bolts which will resist any sort of cutting attempt.
If a company provides a lifetime warranty for their product, it’s indicative of high quality products. Warranties differ based on the components of a safe – elements of electronic locks for example, are sometimes bought from outside parties by the manufacturer and integrated into their design. A safe’s dial might have a separate warranty from the safe’s door – this doesn’t usually mean that the safe is poorly designed, unless it’s already cheaply made. You should also pay heed to the country that the safe was manufactured in – safes in China might be able to provide lifetime warranties, as replacement is cheap. The best option is to buy an American made safe, as American factories provide a higher level of quality control than the factories in China.
Most safes have a body which compares only a half or a third to the metal in the door. You want as high a gauge of steel as possible, 12 gauge steel is the absolute lowest level that can be legally defined as a safe – it can be easily broken with a crowbar or fire ax. The way the gauge measurement system works is that the lower the number, the stronger the steel. Having as many layers of stainless steel as possible will help dispel any heat made by torches, not to mention the physical durability that this steel is known for. Definitely don’t trust composite doors, as although they are thick, they have a low steel content, and are vulnerable.
Great safes should last forever, and be passed down throughout generations. While prices vary wildly, it shouldn’t determine what safe you buy, as the quality of safes differ rapidly as well. Ideally, you should be purchasing a safe that perfectly fits your needs, as a long-term essential, not a temporary buy. Think of it as an investment.
Posted on February 4th, 2016 0 Comments
Biometrics identifies unique physical criteria to verify personal identities. Small differences usually undetectable to the human eye, like retinal and iris patterns, finger and palm prints, and DNA is collected and stored by biometric technology to match people’s identity. By combining biometrics recognition systems and security technology, manufacturers have invented a futuristic way of securing one’s personal belongings – their body is the only way that it can be accessed. There’s a number of novel biometric scanning methods; in this blog entry I’ll detail them.
This technology identifies users by the structure of their face. This method doesn’t require any physical contact between the user and the scanning device – cameras simply scan the user’s face and run it through a database of information to verify if they are the proper user. This technology doesn’t usually require expensive hardware, however it provides less security than other biometric methods. It collects measurements of a face’s structure, proportion, and shape, taking factors like jaw, ears, eye size and distance, nose, and facial expressions such as laughing or smiling to determine a specific identity. As a user ages and their face changes, they will need to update their profile information. This is one of the disadvantages of facial recognition,
The iris is a thin circular part of the eye that monitors the size of one’s pupils for purposes of protecting the eye’s retina from light. Iris color varies based on genetic information, from individual to individual. Irises have unique patterns and colors for every person – and iris scanning technology can analyze over 200 areas of the iris, saving the information in a database to compare it against other information in the future. This biometric system is incredibly accurate, expensive, and requires proper installation. However it always works – and can work even if the user has contact lenses or glasses.
There’s two criteria that render one’s voice unique – a behavioral factor known as accent, and a physiological factor of voice tract. The combination of both these factors make it virtually impossible for one to completely imitate someone else’s voice accurately. Biometric vocal recognition technology analyzes vocal tract by asking users to repeat a passphrase or group of numbers into a microphone so that the system can analyze their voice. It is relatively easy to install without the need for expensive hardware. However, it is somewhat vulnerable as unapproved users can record the voice of the verified user and use it to gain control to the system. This method of entry has been protected against by newer voice recognition systems, by utilizing a fail safe which asks users to repeat randomly generated phrases.
Fingerprints are composed of a unique pattern of convex ridges and concave valleys on the surface of the human finger – completely unique for every individual. The ridges are collected in two points- bifurcations, where they split, and endings, where they, well, end. By analyzing the patterns of valleys, ridges, and minutiae points, ultrasound and visual technology can verify the identification of users. This is known as pattern matching which compares all the finger’s surfaces at one time. Minutiae matching compares highlighted specific areas of the fingerprint. This system is easy to use, relatively cheap, and has been widely used by law enforcement for generations. This technology is widely used by consumers, and is integrated with cell phones, laptops, flash drives, or other access systems. The only drawback is that if the fingerprint is damaged by a cut or scar, the machine will not be able to read it.
This technology is relatively new – it identifies the unique system of veins in user’s hands that carry blood to their heart. Every human has veins with unique physical characteristics – vein recognition biotechnology captures an image of the unique vein patterns inside a user’s fingers with infrared light. This system has a higher level of reliability and accuracy than any of the older methods of biometric scanning – and, luckily, is somewhat less expensive than other methods. As an added bonus, the scanning process takes less time than in other methods as well.
DNA Biometric Scanning
Every individual carries their own completely unique DNA. It’s impossible to fake or camouflage one’s own DNA – you simply have your own, a combination of that of your parents. Every cell in the human body has a readable copy of this DNA – and biometric scanning systems can verify one’s DNA by collecting it from a few samples – usually blood, saliva, semen, hair, or tissue. The samples are broken down into small samples into a code known as VNTR (variable number tandem repeat) which repeats at specific intervals – this code essentially makes up the unique DNA profile of an individual. Each DNA fragment is measured, sorted, and captured. This equipment is incredibly expensive and complicated (it’s relatively new) and thus is only used in the most advanced industrial/governmental settings.
Although relatively new, biometrics technology is quickly gaining a reputation for being one of the best methods of verifying user information for security purposes. It’s being increasingly utilized in consumer settings – as well as by airports, law enforcement, hospitals, militaries, and governments. It eliminates the risk of copied ID cards being used by unscrupulous individuals to gain illegal access to property or data, and reduces the risk of identify theft, which is a growing issue in our culture. As biometrics technology becomes more widely used, it will greatly reduce the amount of thefts in professional, governmental, commercial, and civilian properties.
Posted on February 3rd, 2016 0 Comments
Picture this. It’s closing time, the last customer is out of the door, everything has been cleaned, swept, and mopped, and you’re ready to lock up and head out. You feel the relief of leaving, and then realize that your key is broken in the lock – now you have to find a locksmith, and quick. Before you employ the services of a locksmith though, it’s important to ask them these specific questions.
Are you insured and Licensed?
Why it’s a must-ask: In certain states, locksmiths are required to carry a license, some states don’t have that requirement. However, all locksmiths should be insured. Any reputable locksmith will let you know if their state doesn’t require licensing – but if they’re not insured, you should find another provider.
What kind of work do you do?
You should ask this before telling them the project that you need to get done – many technicians will automatically say yes even if they’ve never accomplished that sort of work before. It’s not worth getting mediocre work done. For slightly more complicated operations, like fixing safe locks or electric hardware, it’s best to verify in advance if the locksmith has experience.
What is your warranty period?
Any trustworthy locksmith will offer a warranty period of 30 days – at minimum – in order to cover any unintentional installation or problems with hardware. If they don’t offer this, find another provider.
What are your rates?
You want this information up-front. Some technicians will charge a set amount of cash per task – for example, they will charge by the lock, rather than by the hour. Some other locksmiths charge by the hour, with a standard one-hour minimum despite how quick the job takes. Some technicians will even charge according to 30 or 15 minute increments. Many technicians also charge travel fees – make sure to ask what the trip fee will be to your location (these include gas mileage and any applicable tolls.)
Do you have any applicable certification?
A professional locksmith will carry themselves according to the top of the industries updates and innovations by completing continual education courses in locksmithing, gathering certificates that verify their experience in specialty locksmith services.
Do you perform employee background checks?
Think about it this way. You’re trusting this locksmith with the safety and integrity of your home or business. They will have complete access to your entire property – and it’s essential for your, your family, your employees, or co-worker’s safety that the person that’s being granted access to your space is a trustworthy person and not a criminal. Any technician that works on your location should have undergone an extensive background check – verify this with their parent company to know for sure.
Do you have an ID / Business Card?
Before the locksmith comes to your door, ask them to show you ID. This could be a state ID or driver’s license. This is important – any reputable locksmith will be happy to show an identification card to prove their trustworthiness – if they refuse, don’t let them in your home.
Do you have a physical location / how long have you been in business?
These sorts of questions help you ensure the professional viability of a locksmith business. Having a physical location, and years of experience will tell you that the locksmith is trustworthy, as well as reliable and skilled through experience.