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High Security Key Control Systems

High security key control systems are designed to be sure you know who has keys to your property.

If your key control system is not adequate – What are the security risks?

Key Control Enhances Security -high security key control

Key Control Enhances Security

Easily Duplicated - high security key control

Easily Duplicated

The lack of adequate key control is a hidden risk, and one of the biggest risks that many businesses face, if you cannot account for who has keys to your property, if you don’t control who is authorized to have duplicates made, then you don’t know who has access to that property.

Key Control System Features.

  • Key control systems allow you to know which keys to which doors are issued to which employees.

  • Using a patent controlled key system secures against unauthorized key duplication.

  • When an employee leaves the company, and you get the keys backs, your key control system is still secure. Not having to re-key your property is a cost savings.

What kinds of systems are available, and what risks are present?

  • Generic cylinders and keys with a well-controlled master key system – cylinders could be vulnerable to picking and/or lock bumping – unauthorized key duplication may be possible, making it hard to know where all keys are.

  • IC Core cylinders and keys – cylinders could be vulnerable to picking and/or lock bumping – unless you have a patented key system, unauthorized key duplication may be possible.

  • Patent or contract controlled keys – unauthorized key duplication should not be a risk – cylinders could still be vulnerable to picking and/or lock bumping.

  • High security cylinders without patented or contract controlled keys – unauthorized duplication should be rare, however it is possible – picking, lock bumping, drilling, wrenching attacks not likely.

  • High security cylinders with patented or contract controlled keys – unauthorized duplication if done can be prosecuted – picking, lock bumping, drilling, wrenching attacks not likely. Cylinders and keys are are only supplied to contracted dealers, who are required by contract to store them in a secure environment at every level.

  • Eliminate keys and go to a full electronic access control system.

High Security Lock & Key Systems

  • Most key control systems utilize patented keys and or cylinders, because they are patented, the duplication of keys can only be done by factory authorized professional locksmiths.

  • The key blanks and lock cylinders are made available only to those same factory authorized professional locksmiths.

  • The control can be at the locksmith dealer level, at the distributor level, or at the manufacturer level.

All high security key control systems require specific permission to have keys originated or duplicated. This procedure means that the owner will always know who has keys and how many. If an employee leaves and you get the keys back, you can be reasonably assured that no copies of your keys are floating around.

There are many brands of high security locks in the marketplace most meet or exceed UL® 437 specifications, the standard for patent controlled key systems, all are constructed of superior metals and feature a higher security locking system that resists picking, drilling, cutting, wrenching or almost any kind of attack. They are not cheap, however they will last for a long time. Your Professional Locksmith can guide you to the correct product for your situation.

For more information click these links 

See my blog post on “How To Choose Your Professional Locksmith

Click here SecureYourStuff Store for our recommendations, if you do not see what you want, go directly to for more choices.

Gun Safes – Are designed to keep your guns secure.

Gun Safes – Are designed to keep your guns secure. Gun safes are sold in many places, sporting goods stores, gun stores, hardware stores, big box stores of all kinds, and some even by safe dealers or professional locksmiths who sell safes.

Do you really want to trust the expertise of the same guy who answers your plumbing questions when choosing your gun safe?

By dealing with a reputable safe dealer or professional locksmith, who make their living selling safes, you are more likely to end up with a safe that protects your guns for the risks you are trying to protect them against.

Gun safes are available in many shapes and sizes, from small boxes designed to store a hand gun, up to walk-in vaults designed as virtual armories. They also offer many differing degrees of protection, and they protect from different risks. The consumer needs to be aware of these differences, so they can make an intelligent and informed choice.

Sample Gun Safe - gun safes are designed to keep your guns secure

Sample Gun Safe


Many gun safes are sold that do not carry a burglary or fire rating, many of these units look very substantial. If you are looking for a specific type of protection, be very sure that a UL® label is attached.

Some gun safes are rated and UL® labeled for burglary as well as fire protection , however there are many gun safes advertised as burglary and/or fire resistant that do not meet the standards of UL® testing, they are rated by the manufacturer, or some other testing criteria. Some that are rated as burglary resistant could be little more than a locked thin gauge steel box. Remember gun safes are designed to keep your guns secure, that should be from both theft and fire. Particular attention should be paid to how the safe is constructed for fire resistance, many manufactures rely on layers of standard drywall to provide protection. A few select manufacturers use a custom poured  dry-lite wet mix that will fill all crevices, leaving no voids for fire to get through, these units usually offer up to 2 hours of fire protection, and are UL® labeled for the same.

Of course anything that locks up a firearm does have some value, just be sure of what you are getting.

See my blog post on “Choosing The Correct  Safe

Click here SecureYourStuff Store for our recommendations, if you do not see what you want, go directly to for more choices.

UL® Rated Burglary Safes Provide Excellent Protection

UL® Rated Burglary Safes Provide Excellent Protection
Using a correctly rated and labeled safe is imperative for the proper protection of your valuables, in some cases insurance could disallow a claim if the safe you were using was not properly rated or labeled.

Burglary safes are designed for the protection of money and valuables. It is important that you use a safe that is designed, tested and rated for this purpose. They range in size and shape, from small in floor boxes up the bank vault doors.

The degree of protection offered, has  a wide range. You really need to understand what a particular rating protects against. Construction materials range from steel plate to composite materials.

Burglary safe ratings are usually expressed by a letter, “B”, “C”, “E”, or “TL15”, “TL30”, “TL60”, “TLTR60”, “TLTRTX60X6”. The letter designations are really left over from a widely used mercantile insurance rating system, that is typically not used today. The “TL” rating are the current UL ratings, and can be broken down as follows.

These are sample rating, there are more. The term “resists attack by tools” is measured as the actual time that the tool is in contact with the area being attacked. Keeping this in mind, the test time is typically much longer than the number of minutes given.

• TL15 – resists attack by tools for 15 minutes

• TL30 – resists attack by tools for 30 minutes

• TL60 – resists attack by tools for 60 minutes

• TLTR60 – resists tool and abrasive tool attack for 60 minutes

• TLTRTX60X6 – resists tool, abrasive tool, and explosive attack for 60 minutes, on all 6 sides.

Burglary safes are not usually rated for protection from fire. Some insurance policies will require specific UL® ratings for burglary These UL® ratings are awarded to safe models that pass a variety of attacks with tools and known methods of defeat, those models that pass will have a rating expressed in minutes and codes for the types of attack. RE: TL30, TL60, TLTXTR60 etc.

If you also require fire protection it is important to be aware that burglary rated safes, unless specifically stated on the label are usually not rated for fire protection. Be sure to verify the label attached, usually to the inside of the safe door.

If you have a large burglary safe you can put an inexpensive fire rated storage container inside, this would in theory afford some fire protection.

Some of the newer designs, such as the Amsec BF Series, and the Meilink Composite Series also afford fire protection. Burglary safes are manufactured from in many configurations, chest safes, in floor safes etc.

See my blog post on “Choosing The Correct  Safe

Click here SecureYourStuff Store for our recommendations, if you do not see what you want, go directly to for more choices.

Fire Resistant Document Safes [Video]

Fire resistant document safes, also commonly known as fire safes, are designed and built to protect records, important papers, cash and other valuables from fire. Some are also rated for burglary protection.

Fire Resistant Document Safe

Fire Resistant Document Safe


The manufacturing process for all fire resistant document safes, manufactured in the United States, is much the same. They begin with a hollow welded or a hollow molded composite metal box or can, this will be filled with a “wet” mix that looks much like concrete, they are dried in kilns, cleaned, finished and painted. This “wet” mix this is a very specialized product, when it is dried and sets up, it retains cells of moisture within the structure. These cells of moisture, when exposed to heat, change to steam, which is released into the interior of the container. The steam that is released perform two main functions, it keeps the interior temperature below 350 degrees Fahrenheit, for a  prescribed time, and also provides a pressure seal for the small openings around the door, keeping heat and flames out. This release of steam is also why anything that will be damaged by moisture including, stamp collections, photographs, audio & video tapes, and computer data, should never be kept in a fire safe.

Most US manufactured fire resistant document safes  are “labeled” or certified to meet the test requirements of Underwriters Laboratories. The following is a typical test criteria; UL®. Label/Class 350° – 1 hour: The safe will maintain an interior temperature less than 350°F when exposed to fire for a period of one hour at 1700°F. Safe must successfully undergo all other requirements for the Fire Endurance Test, Explosion Hazard Test and the Fire/Impact Test. Some are only labeled with a manufacturers label, or some other testing facility, whose criteria may or may not be as stringent as UL’s. You should be sure to check with your professional safe dealer, to have a full understanding of your safe label. The video 

It is not advised that you store valuables in a fire safe, unless it is also labeled as “burglary resistant”.

Most fire safes will be supplied with bolt down holes and the bolts to bolt it down. This a very important feature, A properly bolted down safe will be very hard to move or tip over, yes we know that your safe may be very heavy, however a couple of people or a hand truck could easily move it. 

See my blog post onChoosing The Correct  Safe

Click here SecureYourStuff Store for our recommendations, if you do not see what you want, go directly to for more choices.

Depository Safes = protection in high cash use environments. [Video]

Designed to combat theft by employees or robbery, depository safes ( also known as “skim or trim safes”) are not meant to be used for long-term storage of cash or valuables, they are generally not fire resistant, unless specified and properly UL® labeled as burglary or fire resistant.

Depository safes are designed to provide immediate and secure storage for cash, jewelry and miscellaneous valuables. When the door is locked, deposits can be made via a top loading rotary hopper or a front loading deposit door. Sometimes referred to as “trim safes” they are designed to reduce the risk of robbery by limiting the amount of money in the cash register, providing protection from hold-up or burglary.

Depository Safe

Depository Safe

Depository safes are recommended for any operation that requires a non-returnable deposit such as armored car companies, convenience stores, restaurants, etc. These safes are not meant for unprotected overnight storage of cash or valuables. They are not rated as burglary or fire resistant, unless specified and labeled for that protection by UL®.

Depository safes can be custom-made in almost any configuration, drop slots or hoppers can be positioned on top in the front or back, through a wall, etc. They can be configured so compartments can be accessed by only specifically authorized users. They can be equipped with mechanical or electronic combination locks, key operated locks, or locks that require dual operation.

Many insurance companies may require the use of a properly UL® rated depository safe before issuing a policy.

Check the video below for what to look for in a depository safe.

See my blog post onChoosing The Correct  Safe

Click here SecureYourStuff Store for our recommendations, if you do not see what you want, go directly to for more choices.


DIY Home Security Assessment [With Checklist]

A home security assessment, by a qualified security professional is the ideal place to start on a plan to improving your home security. Our DIY Home Security Assessment checklist is another option.

This DIY checklist is provided for those who would like to do their own assessment, just copy [ highlight the areas you want to print, press the right mouse key, choose print from the menu that drops down.] and print the checklist directly from this page. Take it with you, as you tour your home, be as accurate as you can. Take the completed checklist to your local professional locksmith.

Burglar - Home Security Assessment


This is who you are trying to keep out! 

The video shows some of the ways they get in, and what they are looking for!

Do It Yourself, Home Security Assessment Checklist.

Print this form, take it with you, as you tour your home. Take the completed security assessment to your professional locksmith.


Exterior Doors
Is landscaping trimmed for visibility? Y[  ]  N[  ] Is there a deadbolt lock with a minimum  1″ throw?
 Is lighting adequate? Y[  ]  N[  ] Front  Y[  ]  N[  ]
 Are garage windows and doors secured? Y[  ]  N[  ] Rear  Y[  ]  N[  ]
 Keys Side  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Was the home rekeyed recently? Y[  ]  N[  ] Sliding  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Does a past housekeeper or service provider still have a key? Y[  ]  N[  ] ________  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Can all keys be accounted for? Y[  ]  N[  ] ________  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Windows Are double cylinder or captive thumbturn deadbolts installed in doors with glass in them or nearby?
Are you as careful about locking windows as you are doors?  Y[  ]  N[  ] Front  Y[  ]  N[  ]
 Are there securely mounted, functioning sash locks? Y[  ]  N[  ] Rear  Y[  ]  N[  ]
 Are basement windows securely locked? Y[  ]  N[  ] Side  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Alarms Sliding  Y[  ]  N[  ]
 Is there an electronic alarm present? Y[  ]  N[  ] ________  Y[  ]  N[  ]
 Is the alarm monitored? Y[  ]  N[  ] ________  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Do you check operation regularly?  Y[  ]  N[  ] Is a high security strike used? Is it securely anchored?
 Garage, Sheds, and Gates Front  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Are there properly secured locks? Rear  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Garage  Y[  ]  N[  ] Side  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Sheds  Y[  ]  N[  ] Sliding  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Gates  Y[  ]  N[  ] ________  Y[  ]  N[  ]
_______  Y[  ]  N[  ] ________  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Are doors keyed alike to the house?  Are the locksets keyed alike throughout?
Garage  Y[  ]  N[  ] Front  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Sheds  Y[  ]  N[  ] Rear  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Gates  Y[  ]  N[  ] Side  Y[  ]  N[  ]
_______  Y[  ]  N[  ] Sliding  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Are overhead doors adequately secured? ________  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Garage  Y[  ]  N[  ] ________  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Sheds  Y[  ]  N[  ] Is the door and frame satisfactory?
Gates  Y[  ]  N[  ] Front  Y[  ]  N[  ]
_______  Y[  ]  N[  ] Rear  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Doors Side  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Is the primary lock functioning?  Sliding  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Front  Y[  ]  N[  ] ________  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Rear  Y[  ]  N[  ] ________  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Side  Y[  ]  N[  ] Is an auxiliary Lock installed on all sliding doors?
Sliding  Y[  ]  N[  ] Front  Y[  ]  N[  ]
________  Y[  ]  N[  ] Rear  Y[  ]  N[  ]
________  Y[  ]  N[  ] Side  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Is there a deadlocking latch? Sliding  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Front  Y[  ]  N[  ] ________  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Rear  Y[  ]  N[  ] ________  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Side  Y[  ]  N[  ]
Sliding  Y[  ]  N[  ]

Check these articles for more DIY security tips!

DIY Security Perception

Best Home Physical Security Tips

Reinforcing Door and Door Frame Security

Click Here or on “Security Blog” in the menu bar to read my posts about how to secure your Home, your Business, your Stuff!!

Click Here to visit our online store to find the products you need!!

DIY Security Perception

How does DIY “Security Perception”  enhance your security plan? 

    • What is security perception? Think “Perception is Reality” in the eyes of a prospective burglar. According to the FBI most residential burglaries are committed by young juveniles who usually live near by, probably supporting a drug habit. They are looking for a place they can get in and out of in a hurry, with a minimum of noise and a limited possibility of being detected.

    • A security yard sign for a security system or CCTV system, if you actually have a system or not, screams try an easier target. The yard sign, by itself will make most prospective thieves think “do they really have an alarm or camera system”, if you also have a realistic looking faux CCTV camera hung high on a wall, they will move on.

      ADT Security Yard Sign, enhaces security perception.

      ADT Security Yard Sign

      Generic CCTV yard sign, enhances security perception

      Generic CCTV yard sign

    • Security Lighting. or even landscape lighting, can also tell them to move onThe photo below shows a good mixture of security lighting and landscape lighting, notice that the security lights are mounted high on the walls, making them hard to interfere with. Many lighting fixtures include solar charging systems and/or movement detection to turn them on when something approaches.

      Security Lighting - Security Perception - DIY Security

      Security Lighting

    •  Faux CCTV cameras have become very popular as a “perceived security” item. They are inexpensive and if mounted out of reach they are very hard to tell if they are real or not. Most prospective home burglars will not investigate enough to find out.

      Faux CCTV Camera - security perception

      Faux CCTV Camera

    • A “barking dog alarm” is another inexpensive item that will scare the amateur burglar away.

What do all of these items have in common, they are low-cost, high impact, and can usually be done by the “Do-It-Yourselfer”. If you are just beginning to enhance your home security, all of these items would be a good starting point or even add value to your existing security plan.

Click Here or on “Security Blog” in the menu bar to read my posts about how to secure your Home, your Business, your Stuff!!

Click Here to visit our online store to find the products you need!!

Lock Bumping – Is it all hype…Or a real security risk?

Lock bumping became a “buzz word” on the Internet and in the print and television news media very quickly. As of a few years ago no one other than professional locksmiths and a few advanced thieves knew anything about lock bumping.

This “new lock by-pass technique” began to be written about on the Internet, video’s posted on U-Tube showed young children being quickly taught the technique, television news media began running reports on nightly news shows, newspapers published stories chronicling the history and showing the lock bumping technique in great detail. Very quickly web sites went online selling “bump keys” and instructions to anyone willing to pay for them. See the video below for a demo of “lock bumping” and several ways to protect against it!


Many of the stories about “lock bumping” left out many of the true facts about the history, the technique, the availability of tools or how to make them, and how real the risk really is.

  • This technique has been familiar to the locksmith trade for close to 100 years, and possibly longer.

  • Very few locksmiths use this “lock by-pass technique” in their daily work, because the success rate is not nearly as high as many other techniques they use.

  • The key blank is really the most necessary “tool” needed, and that key blank must be able to fit the particular lock that is being by-passed. Once you have the key blank it needs to be modified, if you are not familiar with, and have access to locksmith tools and machines, this is not easily accomplished.

  • “Bump keys” can be purchased online, even on eBay, however you still have to learn and practice the technique.

    Bump Key - Lock Bumping

    Sample Bump Key

How about the risk…

  • According to authorities the overwhelming percentage of home or small business break ins are done by small time thieves, usually drug users looking for enough money to get their next fix. Entry is most typically made through an unlocked door, or via a forced entry attack, most likely a “kick-in”.

  • Thieves are typically wary of making excess noise and being visible when breaking in, using this by-pass technique can produce substantial noise and does require some light.

  • Most small time thieves are not going to put in the effort to learn this technique or purchase the tools needed.

The above information is meant to educate the reader on how real this risk may be and is not meant to minimize what is a very real, however seldom realized, risk.

How can this risk be combated…

  • High security locks are available that are constructed in such a way that they cannot be attacked with this method, not only can most of the locks in this class not be bumped, they are also of very high quality and very secure against multiple treats.

  • If you have and use a home security or alarm system, you have another line of defense.

  • High end access control systems, even for home use, do not rely on keys for access, thus negating the threat.

  • Keyless locks are becoming very popular, however if they have an emergency by-pass key cylinder they could be vulnerable. Many of them can be equipped with a high security cylinder replacement.

Are these solutions expensive?

  • They are more costly than the run of mill “big box store” $9.95 special, however keep in mind that you usually only need to take special measure on exterior doors, and if you add up the value of your possessions, having and using these locks or systems is cheap insurance indeed.

Want more information on “lock bumping”, visit this site of the information about the popularity of and use of “bump keys” being used is most likely exaggerated, the rest of the information while far from complete and not exactly correct is a fairly good information resource.

Click Here or on “Security Blog” in the menu bar to read my posts about how to secure your Home, your Business, your Stuff!!

Click Here to visit our online store to find the products you need!!

The Security Ladder

The security ladder is an illustration of the levels of security that different types of residential security products can afford the user. We will use the rungs of the ladder, with rung 1 being the lowest level, and rung 5 being the highest level.

We will make a few assumptions about the entry we are protecting.

  • We have a solid core door 1 and 3/4 inch thick, the door frame is the typical residential pre-made door frame in good condition.

    Security Ladder

    Security Ladder

  • Rung 1  Might be a grade 2 or a grade 3 entry knob or lever, with or without a grade 3 deadbolt lock and no reinforcement of the strike. (an entry door with this hardware array is typical and will meet building codes in most jurisdictions) A door with this level of hardware is highly susceptible to kick-ins, hammer, wrenching or other brute force attacks, a little better than an unlocked door. These locks could be opened by picking or key bumping, however these are not typical methods employed by the typical home burglar.

  • Rung 2  Might be a grade 1 or grade 2 entry knob or lever, with a grade 1 or grade 2 deadbolt lock and a reinforced strike. as well as a fully reinforced door jamb both lock and hinge sides. See our article on Reinforcing Door and Frame Security. A door with this protection would be much more secure. Will be much less susceptible to kick-ins or pry-bar attacks. These locks could be opened by picking or key bumping, however these are not typical methods employed by the typical home burglar.

  • Rung 3  Might have a locking knob or lever lock, with a grade 1 UL 437 listed deadbolt lock, and a fully reinforced door jamb both lock and hinge sides. The UL 437 specifications require all solid metal construction, higher resistance to brute force, wrenching etc. higher resistance to picking or key bumping. Most UL 437 listed locks also feature some form of controlling who can get duplicate keys made. This would be considered a very secure entry!

  • Rung 4   Might a have grade 1 electronic keyless deadbolt lock, and a fully reinforced door jamb both lock and hinge sides. The electronic keyless lock raises the security level by eliminating the need to carry or use a key. No keys for kids to lose. Some provide for remote control via a smart phone, this is handy to let service people in. Deleting or adding users is easy to do. This would be considered a very secure entry!

  •  Rung 5   Might have grade 1 biometric lock, which requires a fingerprint, or some other personal identification attribute to operate. Locks in this class are highly secure and can be programmed for multiple users. The following video features the top 8 fingerprint locks

See more choices in the SecureYourStuff Store!

Best Home Physical Security Tips

Best DIY Home Security Tips

Moving into a new home or apartment? According to FBI statistics, the number one way a thief gains entry to a home is through an unlocked front door, the number 2 way is a forced entry, most commonly a kick-in attack.

You should keep your doors locked, even when you are home, the typical home burglary can be completed in as little as 20 seconds, and you may never know they were there!

  1. Have all exterior doors and door frames inspected for structural integrity.

    • If you have an attached garage, the door going from the garage into the house should be considered to be an exterior door. If you store tools in your garage, they should be under lock and key, if a thief gets into your garage they could use your tools to attack your door and be out of view.

  2. Have all locks inspected for proper function and security.

  3. Have all locks rekeyed to new keys

    • This step is often overlooked, but is the only way you can be sure you know who has keys to your new home. Any one or all of the following folks could have a key, ex owner or tenant, neighbor, realtor, contractor, sub-contractor.

All of these steps are done by your Professional Locksmith

Learn how to Harden and Reinforce entry doors at this article

Garage door

You should keep your garage door closed, even when you are home.

  1. A person walking by, could dart into your garage, and walk off with almost any yard tool, even your brand new mower, in less than 20 seconds!

  2. A newer method for gaining entry to garages with door openers is rapidly gaining popularity and will open most garage doors in seconds!

See the Video below for how to guard against this, and other common attacks.


 Windows and Sliding Glass Doors

Windows and sliding glass doors, present 3 main problems

  1. They are subject to glass breakage. Fortunately most burglars don’t like to make noise, however breaking a window only makes noise for a short time. Applying a clear security film to vulnerable windows can make them almost unbreakable, and it makes for a lot more noise. Watch the video below for a good demo of window security film.

  2. The lock used on windows and sliding glass doors are often of lower quality and do not offer adequate security. Your best solution may be to have a security professional survey your property.  

    Top Home Security Tips. Dowel in Sliding Door Track

    Dowel in Sliding Door Track

    A minimal inexpensive fix for a sliding door would be to place a heavy dowel in the inside track, this will prevent the door from sliding open.





3. The prospective burglar can see in, this can allow them to ascertain if someone is home as well as see where your valuables may be located.



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