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Watch What You Post: Your Online Presence Might Be Attracting Burglars

There’s no doubt that technology has made it increasingly easier to stay connected with people both in our neighborhoods and across the country. Social media features like stories and live streaming make it possible to access real-time information about your friends’ and family’s whereabouts. Though this can be fun for people you trust, it can also come with a huge downfall if you’re not careful.

In fact, over 78% of burglars use social media to find their targets. With constant updates, photos, and information in your bio, it’s not difficult for a burglar to pick up on where you work, where you live, and when you’re out of town.

Person sitting in an airport with their phone in hand, looking out the window at a plane taking off while resting their feet on their suitcase.

How Do Burglars Use Social Media?

When burglars browse social media, they’re looking for insight about who you are. Information in your bio, like your workplace or the area you live in, can easily be converted into clues for a burglar. If you post frequent stories or live streams, a burglar can also take note of where you typically are during a certain time of the day. 

You may be wondering how a potential thief could even find your home through social media, right? If your home is in the background of any of your photos, and the burglar can find the general area you live in through your profile, they’ll be able to put two and two together fairly easily.  

Why You Shouldn’t Post While on Vacation

Though it may be tempting to brag about your vacation before or while it is happening, this can quickly get you into trouble. A potential burglar who has already stalked your social media accounts will quickly jump on the opportunity to burglarize your home if they know that you are out of town. In fact, posting about your vacation before you even leave could be very dangerous as it gives a potential thief time to plan a robbery.

Person sitting in a lounge chair on the beach, reading a book with a ball cap on.

What Should You Do Instead?

The best way to protect yourself, your family, and your home is to delay your posts until you’ve returned from your vacation. We get it – it may be hard to resist posting that perfect beach photo of you in the clear blue water, but we promise it’s worth it. You’ll also want to avoid captions and comments that say anything along the lines of, “Getting on the plane! I’m so excited for my vacation!”

In the same way that posting about your vacation can be dangerous, posting too much about your everyday life can also put you and your family at risk. Posting about your kids’ school events, for example, can give burglars, or even kidnappers, too much information. If they find out what school your children attend, they can likely also find out the times when you’re not home. They may even be able to figure out what car you drive and, from there, find out where you live.

Close up image of an iphone showing a selection of social media apps including Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Clubhouse, and Facebook.

General Safety Tips for Using Social Media

Though the danger of posting too much private information on social media is very real, you don’t have to completely shut down your social media accounts. In addition to being cautious of what you post, it is also important to be cautious about who is able to see your posts. Keeping your account private will prevent anyone you don’t know or trust from seeing what you post. Don’t accept friend requests or follow requests from people you’re not familiar with.

Privacy on social media shouldn’t just end there – turning off location settings and geotagging options can keep your location secure. Avoid adding geotags to your posts, especially if it is a location you visit frequently. Geotagging your vacation posts is safe so long as you only post about your vacation once you’ve returned home.

Lastly, you should avoid including personal information in the bio of your social media accounts. Don’t list your birthday, hometown, or place of work.

For Ultimate Safety, Check the Locks

At the end of the day, staying safe from theft is all about being mindful of your decisions. This includes the decisions you make about what, when, and how you post on social media accounts. By using these tips, you’ll be able to keep yourself and your family safe. However, if you feel like you need an additional layer of security, rekeying or installing new locks is a great way to ensure that your home is safe from mishaps. Your local Pop-A-Lock is always happy to help with any of your locksmithing needs.

We provide expert lock rekeying and new lock installation to keep your home secure, so you can rest easy at night. Afterall, there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep in your own bed after getting home from vacation.

Moving In? Here’s How You Can Secure Your New Home

For most of us, moving into a new home comes with a feeling of optimism and opportunity. Unfortunately, moving also invites stress. Between the extensive packing and unpacking process, and the worry of feeling unsafe in your new environment, moving can quickly turn from exciting to overwhelming.

With these tips, you won’t have to stress about securing your property. You can enjoy your new space while feeling confidently that it will keep you safe.

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Pack Wisely

As you pack up your belongings, we recommend using colored sticky notes, tape, or markers to coordinate which room a box belongs in. This saves a shocking amount of time, as it takes the guesswork out of unloading​​ your belongings into your new home. 

It’s important to take inventory of your things as you pack them up. Whether you are moving alone or you’ve hired a moving company, this will prevent your belongings from getting lost or stolen. Additionally, if you color coordinate your boxes, it will be easy to count the number of boxes you have for each room in the house.

Valuable items, like jewelry and sensitive documents, should always be stored in a security safe or somewhere out of sight. This can be pretty challenging to maintain during the move, so we recommend storing valuable items with a friend or family member until you’ve settled into your new home.

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Rekey the Locks

As soon as you have the keys to your new home, you should consider rekeying the locks or installing new ones

We typically recommend lock rekeying because it does not require changing the locks themselves. Instead, the pinning inside the locks is changed – it’s a win-win! You get to keep the same lock mechanism and spend less money on fixes, and have the peace of mind that the old keys no longer work.

This way, you’ll know exactly who has access to your home. Plus, keys wear down over time. By rekeying your locks, you won’t have to worry about your keys getting sticky for years to come.

Make sure there are enough keys for each member in the home. You may also want to make an additional copy to share with a trusted friend, or family member not residing in the home.

Check the Windows

Similar to checking the locks on your doors, you should also check the windows. Be sure the window and window locks both shut completely. You’ll also want to make sure your windows have protective screens, especially for second floor windows.

As you arrange your items in your new home, be mindful of which belongings are in view of the window. You should always leave valuable items out of sight

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Prepare Your Home For Emergencies

A fire extinguisher should be stored on each floor of your home. It’s best to keep one in the kitchen as appliances like the oven and stove can increase the risk of residential fire.

You also want to check that your smoke detector is working and that the batteries are fully charged. Modern smoke detectors typically come equipped with a carbon monoxide detector. If yours doesn’t, consider purchasing one. 

Next, check the dryer vent to be sure it is not clogged with lint. This may sound unnecessary, but if the dryer vent is clogged, hot air from the dryer will be trapped in your laundry room, increasing the risk of fire. In fact, laundry rooms are a leading cause of fire and water damage in residential homes.

As you fill the drawers and cabinets of your home, make sure you have flashlights and extra batteries stored throughout. Ideally, you should keep a flashlight in each room in case of an emergency.

Lastly, be sure to check that your security system is working properly. Your security system is there to keep you safe, but it only works if you work with it. Once you’ve tested that it’s working properly, set up a routine to check it regularly.

 

You should be able to enjoy your new home without being worried about your safety. By following these simple steps, you can alleviate some of the moving stress. If you need to rekey your locks or install new ones, your local Pop-A-Lock is here to help. 

Workplace Safety: How to Secure Your Workspace

It is all too common for a business to heavily assess their data security, while neglecting the physical security of their building.

In terms of data, businesses should use a protected network that’s not easy to hack into. The network logins should not be shared with anyone unrelated to the business.

Building security is similar. It is important that doors remain locked, and that only employees have access to the building. Office security will help you build a better relationship with your employees – and your customers. We’ll walk you through some of our top security tips for the workplace.

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How a Security Plan Will Benefit Your Business

First and foremost, it’s important to understand why you need to protect your office building. Having a secure work environment comes with many benefits:

A thorough security plan means happier employees.  Some of the top factors that affect employee happiness are interpersonal relationships, culture, and work environment. Working in a secure environment helps promote a more relaxed atmosphere and employees feel more comfortable knowing their employer is equipped to handle safety issues. Studies show that happier employees are also more productive

Happier, safer employees will result in a lower turnover rate. Safety climate affects employee morale, engagement, and job satisfaction. Employees who feel like the company cares only about productivity will quickly become discouraged and disengaged. On the other hand, employees who feel like the company values their safety will be much more motivated at work, resulting in a lower turnover rate.

Similarly to retaining employees, security measures have the potential to increase client retention. Customers like doing business with knowledgeable companies that they have already established a relationship with. Typically, your employees interact directly with those customers. When your employees feel motivated to stay at your company, they’re able to create and maintain long-lasting relationships with customers.

A security plan will reduce business costs and disruption. A company is less likely to experience financial loss if there is a quality security plan in place. They will be further protected from break-ins and data loss and will avoid setbacks on projects.

Part of a well-designed security plan also includes your response to incidents. If you have a security system in your building, you won’t have to do this alone. Both your employees and customers will appreciate your improved incident response.

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Safety Measures to Consider

Now that you understand the importance of workplace security, here are some of the things you should consider in your safety audit.

Make sure your external doors are secure. Employees may enter the building using traditional locks, ID cards, or biometrics. Traditional locks may be more common on older buildings, but provide the least amount of security. Keys used for traditional locks are easier to lose, and don’t provide any unique form of employee identification.

ID cards, on the other hand, can only be used by employees. Biometrics are the most advanced and protective form of lock. We’ll touch more on that later. Whichever entry system your company uses, make sure only your employees have access to the building.

In some situations, it may not be necessary to have locks on internal doors. However, if any of the rooms inside the building contain sensitive documents or expensive equipment, you’ll want to be sure these doors follow proper security measures. Whether it’s physical locks, ID checkpoints, or biometrics, these rooms should be secured in some way. In addition to proper locks, the areas surrounding these spaces should have a security alarm or security cameras.

Security systems like alarms and cameras will alert you of unwanted activity, whether you’re in the building or not. Not only do you need to find a security system that works for your business, but you also need to learn how to use it. There’s no point in installing a security system if it’s not a consistent part of your safety routine.

Fingerprints, retina scans, and hand geometry are all things biometric locks may scan for. Biometrics have become a common part of office security systems and are by far the most secure lock system. If you want to learn more about biometrics, check out this resource on our website.

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Increased Business Security with Pop-A-Lock

When you take care of your employees first, the whole business will run more smoothly. Make sure you are using a security system, your buildings locks are secure, and that sensitive information and expensive equipment are locked up. In addition to keeping yourself, your data, and your employees safe, a thorough safety plan will also help you earn more money in the long run. You’ll be able to reduce employee turnover, increase client retention, and avoid the financial risks of a break-in and data theft.

Your safety is Pop-A-Locks number one priority. Visit our website for any of your commercial locksmithing needs.

 

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home’s Safety

The New Year approached us quickly, and it’s safe to say you’ve got some resolutions on your list. If so, make sure to include home security in your resolutions. Some of the most common vulnerabilities within a home are often overlooked. Stay safe this new year with these six tips to maximize home safety.

two flashlights on a table next to a blanket and a vase

Tip 1: Prepare For Emergencies

Simple, yet necessary. Be prepared for emergencies like natural disasters. You’ll always want to make sure you have some basic resources in your home, like a flashlight, fire extinguisher, and first aid kit. If the flashlight is battery-powered, make sure you check the batteries frequently so it always stays charged. You may also consider having flashlights in each room of the house for easy accessibility. If the power goes out, you won’t have to stumble through the house looking for light.

Keep your pantry stocked with shelf-stable items, especially those that don’t require cooking to consume. Keep plenty of extra water on hand in case your water gets turned off. Having a generator is also a great backup for when the power goes out. 

Tip 2: Secure Your Garage Door

The garage door is a vulnerable entrance to the home that we tend to forget about. It can easily be kicked in providing access to any valuables in the garage itself and providing access to enter the home. If you park your car in the driveway, keep your garage door clicker concealed. Keep the garage door closed, even when you’re home. Also, lock the door between your garage and home. Lastly, consider installing motion-detecting flood lights outside your garage and around the exterior of your home. This will deter any suspicious activity.

hand holding up a smartphone in front of a locked door

Tip 3: Be Smart With Smart Systems

Smart thermostats and smart locks will help keep your home safe and comfortable, whether you’re there or not. With a smart thermostat, you can adjust the temperature of your home from anywhere by using your phone. This means you can lower heating costs by turning the air to a lower temperature when you’re away. You can also warm up the house before you get home for a cozy welcome.

Smart locks help you trust that no one else has access to your home. Just use your phone to unlock the door. They also typically function as video and audio monitoring for added security. With many of these smart systems, you’ll get notifications if someone is at the door. They also ensure your packages are safe and allow you to witness what happens if they get lost or stolen. Smart systems are the smarter choice in 2022.

Tip 4: Set Your Security System

Part of a productive New Year means setting new routines. That means making it a habit to set your alarm system routinely. Otherwise, it’s not keeping you as safe as it could. Make sure you remember how to use your device and seek help if you don’t. After all, an alarm system is only effective if you know how to use it. If you don’t have a security system, consider getting one installed this year.

security system on a wall

Tip 5: Reduce Energy Consumption

What better way to start the New Year than to be friendly to the environment, and your wallet? Use a smart thermostat and smart light bulbs to control energy from your home. Set timers on your lights to avoid wasting energy when they are not in use. Change the temperature when you’re not home in order to save energy and reduce costs. You can also connect electronics to an outlet extension that you can turn off when you don’t need power. There’s a ton of creative ways to reduce energy consumption which are easy to implement — it’s just a matter of creating the habit.

Tip 6: Audit Your Home Security

Last but not least, the best way to improve the comfort and security of your home is by doing an audit of your home security. We make this easy with our official Pop-A-Lock home security checklist. It walks you through the entire house offering suggestions for the front entrance, windows, ground floor, and garage to make sure each part of your home is properly secured. If you think you’re missing anything, Pop-A-Lock is happy to help. Whether it is lock rekeying, adding additional locks, or installing a whole new lock system for your front door. Our New Years’ goal is to help you along the way!

There’s no better place to focus on your goals than in your own home. By making sure your home is safe, secure, and prepared with the right materials for any moment, you’ll be able to make the most of 2022! If you need any help along the way, Pop-A-Lock is here to help.