In last month’s article, you read about Medeco brand high security locks. This month, we’re going to discuss other brands of high security locks, and just what makes them high security. If you recall, the Medeco lock has multiple additional features that your typical big box store brands don’t have. The overall build quality of a Medeco lock, including it’s solid brass housing, and precision machining process is a few steps above most other manufacturers. Most of the big box store locks can be picked in seconds, bumped even sooner, and drilled in a minute or two. Plus, anyone who has your key can make unauthorized duplicates. So, high security locks go beyond the average principles of standard pin tumbler locks by offering additional locking features and mechanisms such as sidebars, security pins, restricted keyways, and drill resistant housings and cores. High security locks are available in both the residential and commercial markets. By simply going to a locksmith and consulting about your home‘s security options, you are already ahead of the average homeowner. Some new home buyers will not even bother to rekey their locks after they’ve moved in. Of course, no lock will stop a determined thief, but high security locks will definitely slow one down, or even deter them completely. Home security systems and cameras are commonplace today, and there’s no substitute for either. A home fire and burglary safe will also up your ante. So what are some other brands of high security locks? There’s the Abloy disc detainer lock, which unlike Medeco and your standard locks use a series of rotating discs, which when aligned to the proper rotation angle, allow a sidebar to fall into place and the cylinder to turn. There are over 11,000,000 possible combinations on an Abloy key. And to this day, Abloy is the manufacturer of an unpicked lock, the Abloy Protec 2 Cylinder. It uses the same rotating disc principle, as well as a ball bearing locking element. Sweden’s ASSA lock line offers extreme drill resistance in their locks, as well as a patented sidebar design that uses a second pair of cuts along the side of the key. Mul-T-Lock’s line offers ‘dimple’ key technology, which are pins… inside of pins! They too use a sidebar as well as other ‘interactive’ elements to deter picking and bumping attacks. There are other brands also available for both commercial and residential use, such as the Sargent Keso, BiLock, Schlage Primus, and several international brands that are available in the US markets. The point of this is to understand the current level of security in your home, and to be wary that there are several other options besides the average big box store locks, not only to upgrade security, but quality, function, and long-lastingness. Big box hardware store brands typically have a low life expectancy, depending on use, primarily because of their build quality. There are some locks that are great for residential use, but are not high security. Next month, we’ll be discussing residential door security and what you can do as a home or business owner to increase the physical security of your doors.
In our last two articles, you read about high security locks, what they offer, and some different available brands. This month, we’re going to discuss how to increase the security of the most vulnerable part of your home or business; the doors. Doors obviously come in many shapes, sizes, thicknesses, and materials. The most common residential doors are wood or fiberglass. Most homes have at least one fire door, which is a rated metal (steel) door that is usually found between the garage and first floor of the home. Doors also come prepped for various hardware options, including knobs or levers, deadbolts, mortise locks, or exit devices. Let’s start off with the doors in your home. Whether they are wood, steel, or fiberglass, if they are exterior doors, they should be dead bolted. If you door does not currently have a deadbolt on it, one can be installed fairly easily, and you’ll be glad you have it that same night. Exterior doors, especially those that are in-swinging, should also have reinforced strike plates. This means that the metal plate that the bolt inserts into on the door jamb should have three inch screws so that they reach the framing of the house. This makes the door very difficult to kick in. Another part of your doors that are susceptible to attack are the hinges. Hinges only come in few styles, primarily in size, finish, and function. There are spring loaded hinges, which you should find on that fire door in the garage, regular free swinging hinges, and security hinges. Most residential hinges are equipped with a security tab that in the event that somebody pops the hinge pin out, it keeps the door from being removed from its closed position. Some doors may required specialty security hardware to prevent additional types of attacks, like deadbolt sawing, latch slipping, or prying. These hardware items include latch protectors, which block the gap between the door’s edge and jamb so that it is inaccessible to saws and other burglary tools. With a properly installed latch strike plate, nobody should be able to “jimmy” your door open with a screwdriver or credit card. We also can sell and install stainless steel wrap around plates that are meant to sandwich the lock to your door and prevent it from splitting during attacks. Multiple deadbolts could also be installed on a single door, even ones that are single-sided and will only show on the inside. Some people also like the feeling of having auxiliary slide locks or bolts on their doors, in addition to deadbolts and knobs. While we do not recommend security chains, we can also install those. Another feature of a secure door is a double cylinder deadbolt. This means that you need a key to lock or unlock the deadbolt from either side of the door. This is however a safety issue, and we only recommend using a double cylinder deadbolt while the building is vacant. Call us today for a free security evaluation, where we will walk through your home or business and point out weak spots for you. Next month, we’ll touch on gun safes, and how important their place is in the gun owner’s home or business.
Last month, we touched upon the multiple benefits of installing a restricted key system within your home or business. At the end, we briefly mentioned the brand name Medeco. Medeco is a world renowned high security lock manufacturer. Implemented in 1968 from the success of a trial lock made by the Mechanical Developmental Company (hence the name Medeco), the Medeco lock is entrusted with securing some of the world’s top doors, like at The White House. The design principle consists of not only vertically lifting pin tumblers, like any conventional door lock, these pins also rotate to a certain angle to expose a channel for a ‘sidebar‘, making picking the lock open an extreme for most, and impossible for some, to say the least. They are so pick resistant, in fact, that when the lock first came out in the 1960’s, the company offered a $50,000 reward to anybody that could pick it. One man, a New York City detective, succeeded once, but only once. ‘Bumping’ a Medeco lock is also out of the question. If a lock can’t be picked or bumped, then what’s a burglar‘s next plan of attack? If you thought drilling a Medeco lock would be easy, you’re wrong. Medeco locks have hardened steel pin and plate inserts surrounding all of the lock’s vital components. There are four pins within the lock plug itself, a ball bearing on the face of the sidebar element, and the mortise and rim variants of Medeco locks have two hardened steel plates in the 12 and 3 o’clock positions. Even the tumbler pins are made of steel, with hardened steel inserts! Medeco branded deadbolts also have this protection, however with the addition of two more ball bearings in the ends of the mounting screw chambers. Good luck, thieves. As we mentioned earlier, the pins (which are chisel-tipped) on Medeco locks also rotate. And for this to happen, the cuts on the keys need to be cut at very specific angles. This also means that someone trying to have a duplicate key made for your home or business will not have an easy time doing so. Medeco keys can only be cut on special machines, in which the cutting wheel oscillates (to create the angles). Each key is an origination, and not a duplicate, meaning they can’t be cut on traditional side-by-side key duplicators, like at the big box hardware stores. Only a trained locksmith will be able to service your Medeco lock and cut keys for it. Besides that, you need to supply the locksmith with a special card that only you have. Without it, no keys. Medeco also offers restricted keys. While all Medeco keys require a special machine that almost all locksmiths will have, there are multiple levels of key control within Medeco locks. Some keys can only be cut by a specific locksmith, and others can only be cut at the Medeco factory in Virginia. The standard ‘commercial’ line of Medeco hardware can generally be sold and serviced by all professional locksmiths. While no lock is undefeatable, Medeco locks are the industry standard high security brand, built to the highest quality, and a classic, go to name for locksmiths throughout the country. They come in all cylinder styles, finishes, and keying arrangements. They can be master keyed, or keyed individually like a standard lock. We like them so much, we even have them on our own shop doors. Next month, we’ll discuss more about the feature’s of other high security lock brands, and why you should install them on your home or business.
Do you know who has keys to your home? Your business? Ever wonder how easy it is for one of your keys to be duplicated? Many business owners and homeowners alike can benefit from the multiple features of a dealer-restricted key system. Any standard lock that you purchase at a hardware store or big box store typically comes with either two, three, or four keys. These keys are easily duplicated at any locksmith or hardware store that cuts keys. For a couple of dollars, one of your employees or your home maid can have an extra key that you don’t know about. What if you had 100% control over your keys and who can duplicate them? Well, with various locksmith-sold systems, you can. Here at NH Safe & Lock Co., we offer a variety of restricted key systems, both factory and dealer based. This means that we cut and sell a patented key blank that only we can purchase from our vendor. These keys can be set to work in padlocks, deadbolts, mortise and rim locks, knobs or levers, and even cabinet locks. In most cases, some hardware in your home or business will have to be replaced to accommodate these lock cylinders, but after that, you sign a card stating who you want to authorize duplicate keys, we maintain the card, and now your keys are controlled. Nobody can take these keys to a big box retailer and have additional copies made! Not even other locksmiths can cut these keys because they can’t purchase the blanks! Anyone who is not on the signature authorization card will not be given any additional duplicates, and the system owner will be notified if someone attempts to cut a key without permission. There are also factory based restricted key systems. Manufacturers such as Medeco or Schlage are two of many lock makers that offer this type of key control. Factory restricted keys can only be cut at the manufacturer’s factory and in most cases have to be ordered directly through a registered locksmith.
Here at The New Hartford Safe & Lock Company, we believe in going above and beyond with the security of our customers. Here, you will find a number of informative articles that will help you decide just how secure your home or business is, and some things that you can do to make it a little better.