"Broke a key to my car. I was desperate as had an important meeting. Fortunately, guys from Midway solved this problem in less than an hour."Kevin Garnett
"Lost a key to the front door and couldn't find them anywhere. I've contacted the company and they changed all locks pretty fast."Bruce Delaney
"Thanks for fixing and changing the locks at my new apartment. Very professional service and good prices."John Mondale
Everybody needs to find a reliable locksmith service. That’s because your home, your business and your car all require keys. These keys secure and open the locks which keep your property and your possessions safe from prying eyes and hands. Anything which is lockable and requires a key to open it means that the contents are valuable to you.
Requirements for a Reliable Locksmith Service.
When searching for a reliable locksmith, you must make sure that the company can cover all of the following issues and deals with them professionally and promptly:
Services: Keys, Locks, Safes, Security Cameras.
A good locksmith service should be able to provide you with spare keys, is able to make additional keys quickly, can re-key a single lock or every lock on your property, and can provide you with new locks. The better locksmith services can also handle the latest in key and entry technology – from transponder car keys to controlled access systems – which may use a number code, voice recognition, fingerprint recognition or eye recognition to restrict access. A good locksmith service should also be able to provide you with safes and/or fireproof document cabinets.
Emergency Vs Contract Services
Make sure you know the difference between an emergency locksmith service and a contract locksmith service.
An emergency locksmith service should be able to provide lockout or re-keying service around the clock. An emergency locksmith service should also ideally be located fairly close to your business or residence so they can arrive quickly when needed, and you won’t be asked to pay extra for distance charges. An emergency locksmith service should be able to provide you with a firm price over the phone, and should be able to get to you within half an hour.
A contract locksmith service does not have to be available 24/7. Typically, you will call a contract locksmith and make an appointment for them to come round, examine and diagnose your security issues and needs, and give you a firm quote. If the quote fits within your budget, you then schedule an appointment for them to come back and do the job.
Qualified Technicians, Latest Equipment
A good locksmith service should employ qualified, experienced technicians who have the right equipment to get the job done right and who know what they’re doing. Their service vehicle should carry parts and equipment to provide you with all you need in the field.
The company you are researching should always be able to give you upfront pricing. Whether you are getting a quote for a single key or you are changing every lock in your premises, you should be told upfront exactly how much the job will cost you. If the locksmith has generated a written quote for you, make sure you get it by email before he arrives, or ask the locksmith to bring the written quote with him to your premises.
Good Customer Service
Regardless of the type of services provided, a good locksmith service can always distinguish itself by providing good customer service. When you call, is your call answered by a live operator, or are you sent to voicemail? Is the representative friendly? Do they ask you the right questions before scheduling an appointment? Did they give you a fair quote? Do they follow up with the promised quote or visit to your premises? Make sure the locksmith service you choose has good customer service.
Test the company’s dispatch time. If they boast that they can get to your location within a certain time, but when you call them you are put through to an answering service or voicemail, you cannot count on receiving prompt service from that company. A good locksmith service will take your call in person and should be able to dispatch a technician immediately if you have an emergency. .
The best locksmith services are approved by AAA. After becoming approved by AAA, these companies are allowed to use the AAA logo on their vehicles, their website, their invoices, and all their correspondence. The locksmith you ultimately choose should have its AAA approval.
Spare Keys – Make Some Now
A significant proportion of all calls to a locksmith involve the replacement of a lost, broken or stolen key or keys. To save you time, money and headaches down the road, it is a great idea to have a spare key for every lock you have on your premises. This includes your residence, your business premises, and your car. Arrange to have these spare keys made right now: the best time to have these keys made is when you don’t have an emergency situation where you might have to pay premium prices because you lost or broke a key in the middle of the night or on a weekend or public holiday. If you know that your key/s were stolen, you will need to re-key the lock/s as well.
Keep your spare keys in a safe place where you can find them easily, and where a family member can find them and bring them to you if you find yourself in an emergency situation. If you own a multi-unit commercial or residential property, it might be a good idea to make a master key which fits every lock on the property. Make all these spare keys now, before an emergency situation arises.
Now you know what constitutes a reliable locksmith service. How do you locate this elusive beast?
The very best way to find a reliable locksmith service is through recommendations from someone who has used this company before and is satisfied with the service, pricing, customer service, and everything else that you consider important.
You can get recommendations from any of the following sources:
- Friends, Family, Associates.
Ask everyone you know if they can recommend a good locksmith service. Ask family members, business associates, co-workers, friends and anyone else you trust. A personal recommendation is the best referral.
- Peer Review Sites: Yelp, Google+.
In the age of peer review sites, it is becoming harder and harder for crooks and charlatans to stay in business. Check review sites like Yelp, Google+ for good reviews. Make sure these reviews are genuine and not fake. You can usually tell fake online reviews as follows: if a company gets an excellent, gushing review from a reviewer who hasn’t posted many other reviews, you can be pretty sure that this review was planted by the company or one its associates.
- Social Media.
Social media is another place where you can gauge the reliability and reputation of a locksmith service. Use Facebook, Twitter or even LinkedIn to see what your prospective locksmith is doing in social media. Do they have a lot of followers, or just a few? Do they post to social media often or only occasionally? Do they respond promptly and courteously to publicly posted questions from customers and prospects? Do they respond to Direct Messages promptly and professionally?
A company’s social media pages can tell you a lot about the company’s attitude towards their profession and to their customers. Try to engage with a prospective service provider and see if they respond. If they ignore you, move on to another prospect. If they take care of you through their social media accounts, they are probably a reliable locksmith service.
- Visit The Locksmith’s Website.
A company’s website can tell you about that company and the way it treats its customers and prospects. Did you learn anything by reading their website, or is their site little more than a sales pitch? Have they posted some good customer reviews directly to their website? Are they bonded and insured? Is the company insured and are is employees bonded? Are they AAA certified? How long have they been in business and how long has their website been on the Internet? (You can find this out by searching for a “Whois” listing for that company name. This will tell you how long the website has been online – the longer the better.) Send them an email and ask them a question: do they respond quickly and professionally, providing you with the answers to your questions? A website can tell you a lot about a company.
If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to find a reliable locksmith service when you need one. Our best advice to you is to do your research now, before you have an emergency: when you find a locksmith service you like, post their phone number on your fridge door and enter the company’s name in your mobile phone’s contacts. That way, you will be prepared when you have an emergency lockout or other urgent issue requiring a locksmith.
Home Security – Protect Your Family
Your home is the biggest investment you will likely ever make. Home security is vital. Once you buy a home, there is one more serious investment you will have to make – home security. If you take certain precautions and make some investment, you can make your home a comfortable and safe place – when you and your family are home, when you are away but the kids are home, or when the entire family is away from home.
The FBI reports that 65% of all burglaries are residential. The Washington Post tells us that the average loss per burglary is $1,725. When attempting to make your home secure, consider these basic issues:
Secure The Perimeter
There is an old saying: “Good fences make good neighbors”. A secure fence, hedge or wall must completely surround your property. No-one should be able to walk onto your property unhindered. If you keep your gate open during the day, close it at night. An open gate is an invitation to enter your property.
Check All Your Doors
All doors must be securely fastened on their hinges, must have a strong, secure, dead-bolt locked from the inside, and a strong, secure lock on the outside. A peep-hole is a good idea, so you can see who is knocking. An audio intercom is also good so you can talk to your visitor before admitting them. If you have a surveillance system (see below) you should have one camera trained on the door so you can also see your visitor before admitting them.
Check All Windows
All windows must be lockable from the inside. If a window pane breaks, repair it immediately. Never leave downstairs windows open when no-one is home. Hang net curtains in front of windows to prevent people from seeing into the house during the day, heavy drapes are necessary to prevent anyone from seeing in at night. Always draw the drapes at night, whether you will be home or not.
Install a Burglar Alarm System
A burglar alarm is a very good idea. Engage a company that provides armed response or whose alarm signal goes directly to the police. Use only reputable companies: check the signs on your neighbors’ fences and ask neighbors or friends for a recommendation.
Lighting Reduces Crime
Light every area of your property. A well-lit yard deters intruders. Install motion detectors to activate lights automatically when someone enters the area. Attach night sensors so lights come on automatically when it gets dark, even (especially) if you are not home. Interior lights can also be set to come on at sunset or at a certain, predetermined time. Always make it look like there is someone home.
Install Surveillance Cameras
These are increasingly becoming a necessary part of home security. A good system will be able to capture video even in very low light, and you can keep an eye on your home from anywhere over the internet. DVR systems can record up to three months’ of video. If you want to use your surveillance video to prosecute somebody, you must place signs on your property to the effect that the property is under video surveillance. If you do not intend to use the video to prosecute anyone, you do not need to post any warning signs.
When you are away for the evening: If you are going out for the evening, or you know you will not be home by dark, follow some basic procedures and you will be OK. Turn on strategic interior and exterior lights (or set them to come on with timers or motion detection), lock downstairs windows, draw curtains, leave TV or radio on and ALWAYS make it look like there is someone home. And remember to lock the door before you leave. If you are leaving kids with a babysitter, make sure everyone knows where you are going, when you will be back, and how to reach you. These days with cell phones it’s easy.
Hide Your Valuables
Most people store valuables in their home. The most common hiding places are the bedroom dresser drawer, the closet, and the freezer. Guess what? According to the FBI, these are the first places that burglars look for valuables. These valuables can be easily stolen by an intruder. It is important to hide your valuables in places where they will be harder to find. A safe is the best place to store your valuables. Another good place is a safety deposit box at your local bank.
When You Are Out of Town
When you leave town: if you go out of town for more than one night, have a neighbor, relative or friend remove your mail and newspapers. Nothing screams “Empty Home” like piles of mail and newspapers by the front door or in the driveway. Ask this same person to check up on the place a couple times a day if possible. Some communities provide police drive-by inspections of unoccupied properties, so inform your local police before you go away. Also, make sure you inform your alarm company that you will be out of town – many alarm response services provide a patrol option: for a fee, they’ll come by several times a day and check that everything is okay and there have been no attempts at breaking or entering. Forward your home phone to your cell phone or someplace else where it can be answered. One of the best ways for a burglar to check if anyone is home is to call the home phone a number of times: if there is no answer, chances are there is nobody home.
Use Common Sense:
There are other things you can do to make your property more secure. Avoid leaving valuables lying where they can be seen from a window. Lock your car and park it in the garage. Never leave the front door key under the mat: if you leave a key for someone, tell them where you hide it and put it somewhere where it cannot be seen from the street. Leaving a key with a trusted naighbor is also a good idea. If you keep your wits about you and take these precautions, your home should be a safe and secure place.
Business Security – Midway Lock & Safe
Business Security Requires Attention to These Details.
The majority of all business losses are caused by the companies’ employees. But the current economic environment has also led to an increase in crimes against businesses by intruders.
And there’s a new risk to all businesses which did not exist ten years ago: outside electronic intrusion. It’s more commonly called “hacking”. The sensitive data stored on your computer system is now every bit as vulnerable as your physical business. Business owners today must be on constantly on the lookout for theft, pilferage, burglary or property damage. And must now also be constantly on the lookout for evidence of hacking.
Regard your business as a fort, and ask yourself, “Is my fort secure?”
Here is a checklist of items to be covered before you can say you have adequate protection for your business.
Doors and Windows Must be Lockable and Secure
The doors, windows and the locks on those doors and windows are the first point of access to an intruder or anyone else after business hours.
Start with the doors: this is the first obstacle any burglar or intruder would encounter. Is this a sturdy door? Could someone kick it in easily? Is there a good lock on the door? Ask any locksmith: a burglar needs only one thing — time — to open any lock. Front and rear access doors should be fitted with more than one lock, and should have a deadbolt lockable only from the inside.
Windows should be checked in the same way. Every window should be lockable from the inside, and should be locked when the premises is vacant. If a window breaks, even a small one, get it fixed immediately. If a lock on a window does not adequately secure the window, replace the lock immediately.
Check every lock in your business and make sure they work and do what they are supposed to do.
Remember that the doors inside the premises also must be secure and should always be locked at night. Confuse the intruder: lock the broom-closet, not just the computer room: let the intruder spend valuable time unlocking a door only to find there are cleaning materials inside. Every interior office should be locked at night.
An Alarm System Must Be In Place
An alarm system is now an essential part of business security. Choose a reputable alarm company — ask your neighbors – – and make sure they provide either armed response or a direct line to the police. Provide the alarm company and the police with your emergency phone number, the emergency phone number of any manager or employee who lives close by the business premises, and a list of all personnel authorized to be on the premises after hours. Install an alarm system that allows you to allocate a separate passcode for each employee. That way, if there is a problem with unauthorized access, you should know who is responsible. You and/or a trusted senior employee should have a list of all the passcodes for all employees. And remember – the moment you fire/terminate an employee, change his/her alarm passcode.
Closed Circuit Camera Shows You Everything
Now look at the daytime access to your business. Can anybody walk in during the day? These days it is becoming less and less advisable to allow public access to a business without first being identified. At the very least, install a simple microphone intercom system so a caller may buzz you and you ask them to identify themselves before deciding whether to admit them. Installing a closed-circuit TV camera system s the next level of security: see who it is before letting them in. Adding a door strike so you then “buzz” people in will add another level of security.
There are major advances in controlled-access today that allow a fairly high level of security in premises access. Authorized personnel may be issued with a passcode, a magnetic strip card reader, or even a fingerprint or eye-read entry system.
Surveillance Cameras With Remote Monitoring
Installing surveillance cameras is another essential part of business security. Your business premises must be covered by cameras front, back, side and everywhere inside. Don’t cut corners here: buy cameras that have the capability to see in very low light or even in total darkness, and that allow you to pan, tilt and zoom remotely. Connect the entire camera system to the Internet so you or your security personnel may view the output from your cameras anywhere in the world. Business owners are using DVR to cut costs: one security officer can now monitor several areas or even multiple locations. Install professional equipment that will do the job.
Safes & Fireproof Storage
Many businesses now rely on a safe to store their most valuable assets. This can be data storage disks, sensitive documents, cash and other valuables. It’s probably a good idea to keep your customers’ private/personal confidential information in a good safe. Make a copy of the key to your safe, and give it to someone you trust, preferably off-premises. If you lose your safe key, it will always be safe (excuse the pun) with your trusted friend/neighbor.
If you do not want to get into the expense of a safe, then you should at least have a fire-resistant storage cabinet for valuable documents or data. These are not totally fire-proof, and will probably be destroyed in a very serious fire. But they are still better than leaving them in an office drawer in case of fire or flood or earthquake.
Back Up All Data and Surveillance Footage
Make sure your DVR system has a battery backup system in case of power outage. If possible, record offsite: that way you will still have footage even in case of a serious disaster. If you know your neighbors, ask them to install a camera on their premises that points at your business. Offer to install one on your premises that points back at theirs. This not only makes for good neighbors but is another backup in case anything goes wrong with your system or the electric power on your premises.
This can be the weakest link in your security chain. Your computer contains personal data and also sensitive information about your clients/customers. Bank account and credit card details could be seriously compromised in the wrong hands. Develop a strong computer password — at least 12 characters, including upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Store the password in a secure place, give it only to personnel who need it, and change it often. If you write down passwords because you have difficulty remembering them, don’t write words like “computer password” next to the password. And lock the passwords in a secure drawer that only you have the key for. Instruct personnel to never give out the password to anyone who requests it by phone or mail. Warn your personnel against opening doubtful emails or downloading programs, attachments or apps onto your network. Make sure your computer network is adequately protected so your employees do not accidentally compromise your network. And you will need additional protection if you allow your employees to use your network for personal use. An innocent employee posting at work to/from his Ebay account can seriously compromise your entire business.
If an employee leaves – and especially if he/she is terminated, you must immediately change any computer passwords to which the employee had access.
Storage and Shredding of Expired Sensitive Documents.
Store your paper records as securely as you do your digital records. Shred all paper to confetti before tossing: dumpster diving is still a major way to obtain sensitive information about you without your knowledge. Backup all computer data regularly and store a copy offsite.
Vigilance Is The key
Finally, all the equipment and personnel in the world won’t protect you if you aren’t vigilant. Keep your eyes open, and ensure that all personnel are aware of security procedures and are always alert. Nothing takes the place of an alert, watchful team, supervised by an alert, watchful management.