Well it looks as though the summer is fading away now so the dark evenings from 3-4 will be upon us soon. So it’s now time people need to start thinking of their security again. As there is now going to be longer hours of darkness giving longer periods of time to thieves.
Only this week Locks in the City have attended 3 burglaries. Two of these were carried out whilst the occupants were in bed asleep. One the property owners had left a front window ajar and had gone to bed. The thieves obviously chancers had noticed the window open but no lights on. Giving them the invite they wanted. The climbed through the window and ransacked the lower floor of the house. Taking a laptop, tablet computers, iPod and other valuable items often found in living rooms. All the cupboard doors were left open showing where they had been.
We had to await for the police soco team to attend before we could carry out our job to ensure we did not interfere with any possible evidence. It was discovered that the thieves had entered via the front window but had left via the back door as the key was left on the inside in the lock. So they took the items left by the back entrance therefore being more inconspicuous. We were given the go ahead to change the locks, as the thieves had removed the keys also. So we had 3 entry points to the property.Therefore changed all 3 locks. I advised that it was best to not leave keys in back doors or any doors as it was an easy exit for burglars. I advise putting them out of site but close by to the doors. As for the window that was used for the point of entry. So i advised to keep shut the window at night. To add further security in the event of forgetting to lock up i suggested fitting two cable restrictors to either corner of window.
I also suggested fitting an alarm. We supply and fit the Yale wireless alarm and it can be set so if you are in the property the alarm can be set to go off if a window or door is opened. It offers a good visual deterrent as well as a good wake up call should anyone get entry into your property. The home owner agreed to have both the cable restrictors as well as the alarm fitted. Although sadly these measures were put in place after the family lost belongings it will however protect their belongings from now on and allow them to sleep again without worry.
Well we are still keeping busy here at Locks in the City. Though we have had a few rarely thrown in jobs that is not always common. Firstly are key cutting service has gone quite mental. We have been travelling locally more so to estate agents. The agents seem to like the way I operate as going to them they can just hand me the keys i’ll go off to the van and cut them, then walk straight back in to their office. People find it hard to believe that I can do this on the van until they see the set up and they become mesmerised.
We received a call late one evening from a family who had been out for the day and upon their arrival home they realised they did not have their keys. They rang me and asked how much I gave them my quote and then they start to barter. Now I don’t mind occasionally dropping a few pound here and their to help out. Though these people wanted me to accept £20 and became quite aggressive about it. Sometimes you just have to say no and tell people to look elsewhere. It is quite insulting when people do this as its taken years to train and become knowledgable and experienced. Plus the tools and stock is a huge investment of many thousands of pounds. it’s never nice to loose local work but sometimes you have to.
After half hour or so I got a call back and its the same people from earlier. This time they are ver calm and collected and polite. They ask if I am local. I inform I am and they ask if I can attend. I inform yes but only at the agreed price. Straight away they agree and no bartering this time. I head over and find the family extremely happy to see me. All very polite. They show me the door, one guy asks please can you open the door without changing the locks as the landlord won’t pay for new ones. I inform that I can open without damage. I set about opening the door non-destructively and within a few minutes it was open to a few cheers. The family pay me and are ever so thankful. They ask for some of my cards and say they will let there friends and family know of me if they ever need a locksmith. It came to light the people they rang after me quoted inflated prices one was 3 times more expensive. He also told them he would be around 40 -60 mins but maybe longer due to traffic.
I asked why they chose to ring back the guy said I was the only one who was polite and gave exact prices. I never said maybe or it could be more. I told them I could open the door with out damage the others couldn’t guarantee this. Plus I was local. In the time they took to get back to me they could of actually been back in their property. Since doing this job i was given another job by this family of changing some locks on their balcony doors.
We were called by another agent new to us. They asked if I could open a property for them that they were selling. They had got a building company to carry out some works but there had been confusion over keys. Either way they were lost. I inform that i can go, so we agree a time and I head over. I find it to be a new upvc door with a relatively new lock fitted already. I meet the agent and it turns out the builders had replaced all doors and windows. Though the keys had vanished. I open the front door relatively quickly, change the cylinder for the right size. As the one fitted was 20mm to long. This is a security issue. I then find a back door that i opened, but it was poorly fitted and needed adjusting. It seemed everything was slap dashed. The agent was happy and since have continued to use me.
I had a neighbour knock at my door one night. They had taken their car in to be serviced and they would be getting the car back the next day. Problem being their keys had been left in the car and the garage was shut. There spares were inside the house. I said I’d come round and open up. I go look at the door and find it has a mul-t-lock garrison cylinder. These are a high end cylinder, the husband was quite worried as it had cost him a fair few quid a couple years ago to have the locks changed. I set to work with my trusty picks specially made for this type of lock. After about 10-15 mins the lock partially rotates. This is a good sign as it means its close to opening. I find the binding pin and pick it and the cylinder is open the couple are in and relieved. They get their spares and try them and as expected all works fine. The gentleman is flabbergasted as he really believed the lock would have to drilled open.
Well as usual we seem to be running ragged. Such a wide range of jobs lately. From a spate of changing letterbox locks, to keys left inside down to a large volume of key cutting.
We work with numerous agents throughout Thamesmead, Abbey Wood, Woolwich and Plumstead, covering normally tenants loosing keys and locks needing to be changed, or adjustments to doors that have swelled or contracted and become difficult to open and close. Though lately we have had a large quantity of letterboxes where we have had to attend site to open them and change them. None recently have been due to vandalism which they normally are subjected too. This week so far we have changed 4, its not a problem they are actually a welcomed job. They are relatively simple and easy to change.
We recently attended a job in Erith, a lady called saying they were having to enter and exit via there back door as they could no longer use the main door. A few questions later and it was diagnosed as a failed mechanism in a upvc door. I arranged to attend with the landlord to the property she had let out to a tenant.
I arrived on site and the tenant came to the window and spoke to me and informed me they had had problems for a while. Another locksmith had attended a few months back but had not fully rectified the problem. Pulling down the handle the mech seemed to work as it should. No notchy or sticking. Once fully down I puled on the door as it was an outward opening door. the top of the door and middle of door came towards me but the bottom was still held in place. So now I now the bottom hook has failed. I identified the mech and went and got the tools needed to open the mech.
Once the hook was manually pushed back into the open position the door was opened. Straight away the fault could be seen. The lower outer case had shattered to pieces. Obviously where it had been forced, something had to give and the case did just that. Meaning the operating arms were not operating the hook. Once door was opened it was found the mech was obsolete. We carry Yale doormaster on the van, with the added fact that we are are accredited Yale Doormaster experts I explained the benefits as opposed to the previous set up. The landlord asked for a quote which I gave and the lady accepted. So there and then I fitted it and a new set of handles as the others were no good. I set the new system up so that it worked on a twin spindle. This means the external side handle operates the the hooks but on a full depression of the handle it will not retract the latch. So no one can just walk in behind you. You have to physically use the key to pull the latch back. The internal handle operated both the hooks and a full depression would then engage and retract the sash bolt opening the door.
Both the landlord and tenant were happy with the new mechanism and the way in which it operated that they are considering having the back door fitted in a similar way.
From there I attended a job where a young guy was trapped in a flat. He rang saying he could not pull the handle down from the inside. He advised it worked when he left an hour ago to go to the shops, though now it was stuck fast. I had a feeling as to what the problem was but sometimes something can just come out of no where and throw a spanner in the works. The guy had doubled locked his door externally by using a revolution on the key unknowingly when he got home. He then would have effectively deadlocked the door. By slamming the door hard it had forced the sash bolt in to the keep/strike. Locking him in. I picked the lock in the open rotation by on revolution. I then asked the guy to try the handle now. With that the door opens to both his and my relief. I explained the operation of the lock as he was unaware of how to operate correctly.
Well hello again,
today started off relatively quiet, so I thought it would be an ideal time to catch up with paperwork and invoices. So I fired up the computer opened up my accounting software. I made my way through about 5 minutes worth of work when my phone rang. It was a lady who had her keys but the key wouldn’t work in her top lock. I diagnosed what I believed to be the problem over the phone. I told the lady the price, though she said she wanted to ring around.
I told her thats fine. How ever I told her to question who she rang if they could open the door non destructively. I also told her to query the worst case scenario she would have to pay ift hey they damaged her locks getting in.
The lady rang me back about 30 minutes later asking if I could attend because the others she rang quoted much higher then me and two said it sounded like the lock was faulty so would need a new lock fitted. So I travelled to Charlton to meet the lady. The lady gave me the key to try. it rotated in the direction to double lock but wouldn’t work in the open direction. So this told be my initial thoughts were correct. I got my tool from the van and was able to open the door. No damage was caused, the lady was in within minutes and was relieved.
I informed the lady of a few changes to avoid it happening again. I gave her my card and told her to think about it. It was up to her and no pressure to do it. I then left site.
Next job was to attend a property that was also in Charlton to change two cylinders. These cylinders however were not your standard cylinders but were removable core best cylinders. These are not that common. The customer had lost her keys. So I had attended before to open the property. I picked the locks open so there was no damage. I then fitted alternative locks and took these cylinders away to make new keys to the cylinders. So this was a return visit to re-fit. So once on site the job took about 20 minutes to complete and the lady was extremely happy.
Whilst at that job I received a call from a shop that was complaining about there door not locking properly. Basically the door had dropped so the top lock would not engage properly. I adjusted the door as well as greasing the moving parts and filled the keep slightly and the door was back to operating as it should be.
We also had a local call in Thamesmead to attend a family who had just moved into a new property and wanted their locks changed. So I offered them a new homeowners package that consists of 3 locks and labour in a deal. The gentleman was really happy as he felt he would be paying much more. They also required further keys so I was able to carry this out whilst there. Again the guy was amazed that I could do this in my van.
So in all quite a productive day today