21 Secrets Your House Locksmith Won’t Tell You

How to outsmart burglars and what they're really thinking when you call at 2 a.m.

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A lot of us do undercover work for the cops


We make keys for police officers and get them into places at 3 a.m. so they can set up surveillance equipment or put the bugs in place. That includes your own house locksmith. It's part of the thrill of doing what we do. Here are some other things police officers want you to know.

Contractors stink at installing deadbolts


I can't tell you how many times I go out to re-key one or let someone in, and I find problems. If it's not installed right, it won't protect you. Here's what you need to know before hiring a handyman.

The best lock is a deadbolt that’s properly installed


An experienced house locksmith knows deadbolts should have at least a one-inch “throw.” On the “strike side,” there should be a security plate with screws at least three inches long that go all the way into the door’s wood frame. Look out for these signs your house is vulnerable to burglars.

Use a double cylinder lock to avoid break-ins


If you have a window on or near your door, a thumb-turn deadbolt won’t do much good. Burglars could easily knock out the glass, stick a hand in, and turn. (Here are more secrets a burglar would never tell you.) Get a double cylinder lock that needs a key on the inside.

Think twice before you buy a locked safe at a flea market, estate sale, or auction

iStock/Arpad Benedek

It's probably going to cost you $300 or more to open it, and chances are, all you're going to find is mouse poop.

When you buy a new house, always have your locks re-keyed


Otherwise, there's probably a master key out there that can easily open your home. Don't miss these other things every homeowner should know.

Keys stamped “Do not duplicate” are duplicated all the time


Ask a house locksmith about high-security locks with keys that can’t be replicated at the hardware store.

You're supposed to check ID before you open anything


But half the time when someone is locked out of their house or car, where do you think their ID is?

These are the biggest mistakes people make with their safe:


Spinning the dial too fast, trying to open it before it's unlocked, and forcing it closed when there's obviously a problem. Don't miss these home care tips that can save you time, money, and stress.

It’s easy to defeat the cheapo locks from big-box stores


Most are mass-produced by reputable manufacturers but to very low standards. Look for at least a grade 2. Here are more things you should never buy at big-box stores.

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