The need for locks goes back thousands of years, humans have spent large quantities of time trying to keep their secrets a secret. There have been all kinds of things locked away, behind various complicated contraptions all aiming to achieve the same goal; security. Having extra locks on hand can be incredibly helpful if you need to lock something up to keep it undisturbed. Whether it is securing your bike so that it doesn’t get stolen, locking up your shed so your tools are safe, or even just locking a very secret diary, some things are better left private.
There are many different types of locks on the market, all of them helpful tools to have in the home to assist the quest for privacy. In most American homes, you will typically see a deadbolt - the larger bolt that is used on your outside doors. This deadbolt can be a single, double, or lockable thumbturns. A single deadbolt requires a key from one side of the door, and can be locked by turning a lever on the other, while a double deadbolt requires a key on both sides. A lockable thumbturn can be locked by lever or by key on one side, and only by key on the other.
Padlocks are a different subset of locks because they can be removed from whatever they are locking up. A padlock typically comes as either a combination lock, or a keyed lock. Combination locks are great because they eliminate the need for a key. You can easily reset a combination lock to a new code if someone guesses your birth date, as opposed to needing to get a new key made if you lose it. Both have their pros and cons, and can be purchased at most hardware stores for a nominal price.
In the interior of most homes, you will see either knob locks or lever locks on doors. These are small locks that are used to lock the bedroom or bathroom doors for privacy, and are very easily broken with brute force. It is important to accompany these locks with deadbolts or other locks on external doors for optimal safety.
Mortise locks are often seen in commercial buildings, as they are advanced versions of deadbolts that require more skill to pick. These locks feature a non-locking latch controlled by a lever, with a deadbolt underneath. Meaning, even if the deadbolt is compromised, the latch will remain locked until someone flips the lever.
Electronic or smart locks are new on the market, and there will likely be awhile before we see them become mainstream. These feature electric combinations, or apps on your smartphone to control. They can be great additions when used with traditional locks, as electrical outages will prevent you from entering your home.
Keeping your property safe is an important part of being a homeowner. You didn’t spend your time and money purchasing the things in your home to lose them to a thief that didn’t try very hard, did you? The goal with these locks is to keep your possessions safe, so at the very least, upgrade your locks and put up a fight for your security!
It’s never fun to be in a rush out the door, get to your car and not be able to get inside. When you’ve used the FOB, manually used the key, and still can’t get inside, what do you do? The first step in any car door locking issue is to try and identify the cause of the problem. Is it because the door is damaged, the lock is broken, or is the door stuck? There are a variety of reasons a stubborn car door lock can refuse to open.
The most common reason a door gets stuck in the locked position is due to broken connections inside the door itself. If the lock is stuck, there could be a broken or loose connection to one or all of the parts that attach to the door latch due to use over time. If this is the problem, replacement parts and expertise are needed to fix the lock.
Sometimes, things will build up inside the car door lock. This could be dirt, or pocket lint from inserting your keys, which seems insignificant but can actually jam the lock assembly making the door difficult to unlock. If you need to use your key to unlock your vehicle, and the key won’t insert fully into the lock, there could be something blocking its path. However, if you’ve tried using your key FOB and can’t get into the vehicle, the issue is something else.
If your key FOB is simply not unlocking your car, there could be multiple things wrong. It could be the battery, or some electrical issue within the FOB. It may need to be reprogrammed to your vehicle, which we can assist with. We can diagnose whatever malfunction is occurring and provide a new key for most vehicles.
While it may seem silly to mention here, another reason a door can be stuck in the lock position is due to structural damage to the vehicle. If you’ve come out to your vehicle parked on the street, and are having issues unlocking the door, check and make sure no other parts of the vehicle have damage. This ensures that you don’t miss a slight rear-end or something that could have shifted the door and jammed it.
The second step with car door issues, is calling your local locksmith at Minnesota Locks. It’s a great idea to try and identify what issues you’re having with your car door, but not always an easy task. You don’t need to try and fix the problem, because we are here to take care of it for you. If you’re having issues with your vehicles locking function, need a spare or a new set of keys, or have any other locksmith needs, let us know!
Why is it that when we misplace things, it’s almost always something important, like your wallet or your car keys? The good news is, we’re here to help. There are many different ways to set yourself up with habits and tools to make sure you don’t lose your keys. Here are some helpful tips we use ourselves!
Burglaries happen all the time. In 2018 alone, there were over a million burglaries in the United States. While there is no foolproof way to eliminate all possibility of a break in, there are certainly many ways to make your home an unappealing target. Preparation, and understanding will get you a long way in home security. The more you can think like a burglar, the better your chances of beating a burglar at their own game.
A scary thing to consider is that burglars often know their victims. This could mean they’re someone you’ve seen around, or simply that they know you from watching you. Skilled burglars case your home, watching to identify if you are an easy target. They know where the spare keys are typically kept and which exits are most trafficked. They wait to see what hours you are out, if you have security cameras, and valuables they may want to take from you.
There are many ways to not only deter a thief, but unfortunately to encourage one as well. Things like an unmowed lawn, mail piling up, or various items left outside, such as a grill or snowblower, can make your home an easy target. If you are going out of town, contact your local post office and ask that they hold your mail. It’s also a good idea to ask and see if a neighbor could keep an eye on your place. Another great way to keep up appearances is to pay a local lawn mowing service to take care of your grass while you’re away.
Sometimes, even just a security system sticker can deter a potential thief from breaking into your home. A solid security system can be built up using multiple different deterrents to keep burglars away. These deterrents do best when overlapped with others, but are all great ways to keep your home and family safe from intruders.
No matter what you believe, or where you stand, keeping your home and loved ones safe is most likely a priority. We all hope to come home and find all of our belongings exactly where we left them, our property untouched. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. In 2019 there were well over 1,000 burglaries in the city of St. Paul alone, which is enough to make anyone consider investing in a security system.
The good news is that there are tons of updated ways to keep your home, and personal items secure. A big trend these days is security cameras, and for good reason! Cameras can be purchased for high quality at low prices. They can be placed around your home to ensure nobody breaks in, and anybody oblivious enough to try will be caught on film!
If you are planning to get into the security camera game, you should stop to consider the most strategic placements around your property. A security camera does it’s best work when it’s positioned at the proper angle, height, and scope. This is where many at home security camera installs have gone wrong, because it can be difficult to position your cameras in the correct spot to capture everything happening around your home. It is important to consider how accessible your camera is, too. You don’t necessarily want a single camera that is within reach of someone on your porch, as anybody trying to commit a crime could easily cover or avert the camera lens.
It goes without saying that you should have video feed from your front and back door, as well as on any additional points of entry to your home. If you are recording the doorways, you will see if anybody tries to break into your place! The number of cameras you need depends on how many points of entry exist, but you should also consider adding at least two more to that number. It’s a good idea to get a camera that has a view of your entire perimeter, and if needed, a second to record your garage.
There are numerous reasons to have cameras installed. From added security, to a little fun spying on the local animals that frequent your home, there are fewer reasons not to invest in these easy to use devices. One of the many perks is that most times it actually lowers your home insurance premium. Most insurance companies offer discounts for homeowners insurance on homes with security systems and cameras certainly qualify!
Security cameras come in all shapes and sizes. The equipment you purchase is important, and sometimes you really do get what you pay for. Pay attention to deals, and package options for various security systems from your favorite manufacturers. Make sure to inquire about safety with these systems. If you experience a break-in, or ever need your locks changed, contact us, your favorite local Minnesota locksmith! We are here for our security needs.
At one point or another in life, you’re likely going to require the services of a locksmith. Maybe you’ll get locked out, need to change your locks, or simply want a spare set of keys for your house. There are tons of different reasons to seek the assistance of a professional locksmith. When that time comes, it’s important to consider a variety of qualities we think are important to expect from the person you’re entrusting your safety to.
Referrals and reviews go a long way. It is always recommended to find someone with experience, and that experience can be weighed by their reviews and ratings. If you get the chance, look them up online and see if they have any reviews on popular websites like Google, Yelp or Angie’s List. If you don’t have time to start there, ask your family and friends if they have any recommendations on a good local locksmith.
The Attorney General of Minnesota has put out a notice for families in our local communities to mind when selecting a locksmith, but these guidelines are appropriate no matter where you live. One of the most important things mentioned in the article is to look into whether or not they are local. You want to make sure you are not falling prey to a scam, or to an untrained individual posing as a professional locksmith in your area. When you contact a company for a job, make sure you verify their address, get a thorough quote and ask if they are insured before you request they come out.
Do your best to find qualified people. It’s good to keep in mind that everyone is different. Some locksmiths learn the basics of their trade, and move into specialized niche categories. There are locksmiths that learn the basics, and do not pursue anything further, while others can sign up to be a part of the ALOA Security Professionals Association or the Society of Professional Locksmiths (SOPL) to further their training. Both of these organizations offer a directory of locksmiths members and what training they have undergone. Though, just because your locksmith is not listed on these directories does not mean they are not qualified to perform the job you’re looking for. Locksmiths can be trained directly from the manufacturers for products they carry, so it’s always a good idea to ask questions.
In the end, your gut can tell you a lot about the type of person you’re attempting to hire. Did the call center give you the run around when you asked about their insurance policies? They’re likely not a reputable company you want to do business with. Did the locksmith confidently answer all your questions, and supply helpful advice on how to resolve your problem? There’s a big difference between someone doing honest work, and someone looking to rip you off to make some extra cash. If you listen close enough, you’ll likely hear it.
Use the resources available to you to make educated decisions when hiring someone to change the locks, or break into your home. The safety of your family and possessions depends on you making the right decision when you hire your next locksmith! We aim to be the top of your list, so please call us with any questions you may have about our skillset, or what jobs we can accomplish for you!
Every homeowner aims to keep their belongings safe. Security systems, locks, and safes are all great ways to keep your valuables hidden away from prying eyes, but even the most up to date security system can be broken into. Oftentimes if you have a freestanding safe, a burglar will take it with them and sort out the lock later! The best course of action is to hide those belongings. Whether you are going to try and hide your belongings in a safe, or in Tupperware, these hiding places will give any burglar a tough time.
Some of the most obvious places to hide valuables are your sock drawer, under your mattress, jewelry box, or in the tank of a toilet. Burglars are likely to make a quick dash through your home and these are common areas that people like to hide things. We recommend avoiding these areas!
A small safe could be easily hidden under the sink of the laundry room or kitchen. These areas are typically used to hold cleaning products and nothing of cash value, so they are a great place to hide things you don’t want anybody finding. For added security, we suggest adhering the safe to the inside wall and placing your cleaning products in front of the safe. We do not recommend hiding it in a bathroom, however, as people will often keep jewelry in bathrooms.
The pantry is another place you could hide things, as a burglar is not going to have time to tear apart your pantry. If you’re looking to be extra sneaky, you can keep your belongings inside an old bag of flour or rice to hide it from view. This is a great place to make sure no one that isn’t cooking in your kitchen will find it!
Inside a stuffed animal is another creative tactic. If you use a seam ripper to split the bottom or back of a plush toy. You remove some of the filling and stuff it with items you want to remain secret. This one is for anybody with a sewing skillset, as to properly hide the item you’ll want to resew it back up!
For those of us with pets, you could also hide your belongings inside their food container, or litter containers. If you properly seal the items in a container, you can place them inside your dog’s food bag, or in the crate that holds unused litter. These areas would be quite the challenge to dig through if you’re worried about the police showing up!
There are many resources online for installable plain sight safe spots. You can purchase shelves with false bottoms. There are false mirrors, false bed frames, and kits to install safes in your flooring or in the tread of your stairs! All of these are excellent options to hide things in plain sight.
Thieves typically only have a short amount of time to gather as many valuable items as possible. Our most important recommendation would be to spread out your hiding places and to hide them where nobody will think to look. Make them work for your belongings, you certainly did! As a locksmith, we know all too well how stressful being burgled can be. Break-ins are a common occurrence and something we deal with often. If you are concerned with the security of your home, we are here to help in any way we can!
Mistakes happen to everyone, nobody is perfect. Losing your car keys happens more often than some of us care to admit. We see it every day, and honestly, who hasn’t made that mistake at least once? When you’re constantly on the go, or even if you’re just out and about for a brief period, the small key ring is an easy thing to overlook. The issue is that a small overlooked key can be an expensive pain in your wallet!
The type of key that your vehicle uses is the biggest variant in cost. We offer a variety of services, and attempt to assist with all lock outs to the best of our abilities. There are numerous types of keys, from the simple non-transponder key, to the masterful smart key, we are here to help! Here is a list of the most common keys on the market:
Working from home isn’t as glamorous as it’s often talked up to be. In the end it’s still work and you have a job to do. The world is experiencing a new standard and many of us are being asked to perform our duties from the confines of our personal spaces. Suddenly bringing together two worlds that typically have a healthy boundary requires some preparation and forethought. All changes present their own challenges to face and working from home is no different. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean you have to go in blind. If you’re new to the realm of a remote office, we’ve compiled a few tips for you that go farther than an ever boiling pot of tea.
Expect to be distracted. This is a tough transition, accept it upfront and be more successful in the long run. No matter how hard you try, you’re in a space surrounded by your favorite things… and all of your not-so-favorite things, like the laundry still waiting to be done. The most important part of your new home office is that during your work hours, you belong to your work. If you let yourself wander too far, you’ll end up knee deep in a box of donations you’ve suddenly found use for. Be mindful, and accept that things will pop up, your job is to put them away for later.
Keep your routine as best as you can. A perk of remote work is that you can prioritize as selfishly as you want - there’s no pesky coworkers around to observe your second snack break this morning. This perk can also be the biggest downfall, so try and minimize the amount of romanticized procrastinating you do. If you’re sticking to your routine, you’re making sure you’re keeping your work and home life balanced.
Over communicate with your employer, and if you’re the boss be concise with your needs. Cut to the chase as quickly as you can about your software needs, your concerns, and your schedule. A struggle of being out of the office is that you’re not in front of the people you typically wander down the hall and pester. When you have questions you need to work a little harder to get your answer, but it’s important you get your questions answered.
Streamline your space, and your agenda. Declutter your office space, if possible. If this is an abrupt move to being a remote employee, you’re going to want to find the best place in your home to spend your allotted time in front of your laptop or desktop computer. Take a thorough look at its surroundings, and remove anything that’s going to hinder your production. Be upfront about things that aren’t a priority right now, and focus on what is.
Most of all, it’s important to stay positive. Take a break when you need it, open a window and stretch. We are all still here, even if you’re stuck inside your new home office. It’s time to make the best of what we have, and do our best from where we are. Find the bright sides to working from home, and hold them close. Nobody is worried about your unkempt hair and the commute is pretty great. There are worse things in life.
Thanks for checking out our blog! For this month, we wanted to give you some insight into who we are as a company.
Minnesota Locks was originally started by a family friend, Ed Jurewicz. When he started the company, it was called Minnesota Locksmith until he moved to Duluth and took over the accounts in the Saint Paul area. Fun fact: Minnesota Locksmith is still operating in Duluth by Ed's brother-in-law.
Ed passed his knowledge of everything in the locksmith world to Jeff in 1982. Until 1988, we had a mobile service and answered phones out of our house until we opened the shop you know in West Saint Paul. When we opened the shop in West Saint Paul, there weren't any locksmiths in the area at the time and there was rental space available, so it really made sense. Now it's a great central location for us!
For 10 years, it was just Jeff and I until we began hiring help. We have had various employees over the years, including 2 of our son's, Justin and Jacob. Jacob has been working with us since he was 18 and does an excellent job on commercial, residential and automotive road service work. Justin has gone on to pursue other interests, but he certainly made his mark in updating the business for us, doing calls, and getting an advertising campaign going. In our shop we have Darrell, who has had extensive experience in the locksmith industry, including working at a few of the locksmith suppliers in town. He can answer any question you might have about locks, and is proficient at re keying and making keys.
In 2003, the city of West Saint Paul bough the building we were in and we moved the business to South Saint Paul until 2006 when we were able to move back to West Saint Paul. I know, a little bit of moving around in the early years, but we have been in WSP ever since.
Technology has changed a lot over the years and we have grown with it. From simple automotive keys in the 1980's to more complex transponders and key fobs in the 2000's, we are able to program and generate keys for most autos.
Locks are used every day and what they secure (our homes, businesses, family) are important. People often don't think about it until it is too late. Give us a call!
I hope you have enjoyed a little bit of our history and enjoy the photos below. We appreciate your continued support over the year!
We offer automotive, commercial and residential locksmith services in the Twin Cities.