Not sure what the numbers may be in the U.S., but probably not much different. Any time there is a change of ownership of a property, it is important to rekey the locks to establish any level of access control. Do you know where all the keys to your home or business are? If not, contact Altic Lock Service in the Indianapolis area.
The FBI ranks Indianapolis 10th in the country for burglaries.
By Barry Campbell, Managing Director SOPL
Kerrville Texas, Kerr County Texas 2012 –
Texas locksmith, Elvis Hernandez, had been working as a locksmith for about 10 years before being deployed to the Middle East to serve a 4-year stint in the Iraq War. This U.S. Army combat veteran, who had been awarded the ultimate symbol of sacrifice – a Purple Heart and an Honorable Discharge, returned home to the challenge of rebuilding his business and serving his community.
Mr. Hernandez has the additional challenge of being a single father, but he also has the support of many others in the locksmithing community in the San Antonio area, recently being named to the Board of the San Antonio Locksmith Association and having a positive employment history with IDN Acme, a locksmith distributor.
Given his military service and the respect and praise given him by his friends, former employers, and co-workers; it is no surprise that Elvis Hernandez has a strong sense of civic duty. But it is equally a shame that his sense of compassion and concern for others has led to him being barred from practicing as a professional locksmith.
Late this last spring, on the way to a job, he saw a small dog wandering loose on a highway where speeding cars were passing. He stopped to rescue the dog, which had no collar, leash, or identification and at risk of becoming roadkill.
He asked his customer if they knew who the owner of the dog was. When the job was completed, he left his contact information with the customer who lived in the area in case the owner came looking for the dog. Mr. Hernandez cared for the dog briefly, but had to give the dog to a relative because the lost dog did not get along with a dog he already owned. That was not permanent either, but at least the dog was not left to roam along a highway in harms way.
Months later, Mr. Hernandez received a call from the customer, who had eventually heard from the alleged owner of the dog. At this point, Mr. Hernandez was no longer aware of the location of the stray dog he had rescued. Subsequently, he was contacted by the owners of a lost dog, then by the Kerr County Sheriff. The now-irate owner has decided to press property theft charges against Hernandez, who has since been arrested on the misdemeanor charge and had to be fingerprinted, have a mug shot taken, and spend over 24 hours in jail, before being released on bond, pending trial.
The whole story sounds ridiculous enough at this point – a negligent owner charging a good Samaritan with theft of their dog without any evidence that the rescued dog was, in fact, their lost dog; and the arrest and pending prosecution for property theft, months after the fact, of someone who left their contact information in the hope of reuniting the owner with their dog. Thieves don’t do that!
But things have become much worse for Mr. Hernandez. Nothing less than a tragedy, he has been barred from practicing his chosen profession. Because he has been charged with a crime, his locksmith license has been summarily suspended by the State of Texas Department of Public Safety. His business has been effectively shut down.
His friends in the locksmith community are barred from employing his skills as a locksmith. The damage being done to Mr. Hernandez’s reputation is not the result of the actions of a negligent dog owner; it is not the result of what has every characteristic of overzealous law enforcement and malicious prosecution; it is purely and simply the result of the locksmith licensing law.
What would have been a bump in the road of his life has become a complete roadblock. Even if the charges are dropped or he is acquitted, it could easily take months for him to regain his license, under the locksmith licensing law.
As bad as the other circumstances have been, the effects of the locksmith licensing law has been devastating. He could run for Mayor, Governor, or even President of the United States, but he can’t work as a locksmith simply because of the locksmith licensing law.
Those who have supported such laws should be ashamed at their results. Supposedly, these laws were enacted to put scammers out of business, but how many of them have been prosecuted under the locksmith licensing laws? As he served our country, Mr. Hernandez probably felt that he was supporting certain ideals, such as innocent until proven guilty. Little did he know that he would be presumed guilty until proven innocent by laws purporting to protect the industry he worked in.
Ironically, Mr. Hernandez said that he supported the initial efforts to license locksmiths in Texas, though he felt that the moneyed interests supporting licensing laws created a system far different than what the local locksmiths had envisioned.
This should serve as a warning to those who think there is any merit to government interference and regulation of the industry. It is reprehensible and inexcusable that a decorated war veteran should become a victim, collateral damage, in the supposed war against locksmith scammers.
This year, we have seen, and repaired, more break-in damage than any other year. We are happy to do it, but would rather help you take steps to reduce the chances of being a victim.
Most successful break-in attempts are a result of jamb failure, as in the photo on the left. The locks were not even damaged, the jamb simply gave way when the door was kicked.
The photo on the right shows another jamb failure. Again, the door was simply kicked in.
Not only did the jamb give way, but the metal door split, as seen in the photo below.
Note that only the entry lock was in use when this door was broken into, though it probably doesn’t matter since, again, it was the jamb that failed, not the locks.
Altic Lock Service can help you protect against such break-ins. We recommend installing the Door Devil jamb reinforcement kit on all doors.
We also recommend the OnGARD Security Door Brace, as pictured on the right.
For sliding doors, we highly recommend installing the CAL Double-Bolt Lock. The CAL Lock resists both prying and lifting the sliding door.
Don’t become a crime victim this holiday season. Take steps to protect your home, family, and property.
Basically, a retired locksmith offered sets of keys for sale that most would have thought would be restricted, but they were not. While his actions seem to be stupid, they hardly seem illegal. Given the concern over the threat of terrorism – especially in NYC – you’d think they’d have taken some steps to protect potentially vulnerable infrastructure access. The Post reporter was able to get duplicates made of the keys at the local Lowe’s hardware.
While it is easy to point the finger at the locksmith, or even at the hardware store that made duplicates of the keys without question, there was really no reason for them not to what they did. That the city of New York didn’t take any steps to protect these areas is unforgivable. It’s a simple matter of key control. There are various levels of key control available, and the city availed itself of none. Any of a number of key manufacturers could provide a proprietary keyway for the city to use that would be unavailable through any other channel, and surely they could get a law passed prohibiting the unauthorized duplication of those keys.
What does this mean to the home or business owner? Review your own method of key control. Can you account for all copies of your key? If not, the first thing you should do is get your locks rekeyed. At least, at that point, you will know how many keys there are and who has them. Having a key manufacturer design your own keyway is not feasible for homeowners or most businesses, but there are other alternatives. Many key manufacturers offer restricted key blanks that are limited in supply, patented, and only available through certain locksmiths. Problems with this alternative include greatly increased cost and limited service options. While unauthorized duplication of the keys may be strictly limited, the loss of a key destroys the security of the system and is costly to correct.
What’s a homeowner or small business owner to do? You could opt for the restricted keyway, if you can afford it and understand the limitations. If the locks on your home or business are available at the local hardware, there may be nothing you can do except ask for keys to be marked “Do Not Duplicate.” Legally, this is no protection at all, though most ethical locksmiths would refuse to copy a key marked that way. Your risk is probably far greater that a hardware store employee would copy the key anyway. Of course, the new self-service key duplication machines at some hardwares can’t read. But you can greatly reduce the chance of unauthorized key duplication by using locks that use less common keyways. If you have a key marked “KW1” or “SC1”, your keys can be duplicated by virtually anyone, anywhere. Others are also commonly available, but others are less so. While most locks available at the hardware stores use either the KW1 or SC1 keyway and offer no alternative, others accept replacement cylinders using far less common keyways. Altic Lock Service recommends Arrow locks, that readily accept replacement cylinders using less common or even most restricted keyways.
Using less common, but unrestricted, keyways reduces the chance that someone can get a duplicate made of your key. Having the keys stamped “Do Not Duplicate” will reduce that chance further still. This is not as secure as a restricted key system, but it is easily the most cost-effective manner of improving key control since there is little or no extra cost, and no service limitations.
We’ve moved. Our service coverage area remains the same, but Altic Lock Service now offers a lower service call charge to our customers in Greenwood, Indiana.