Security MythsMyth: Locks only keep the honest people out.
Fact: Honesty keeps the honest people out. Cheap locks keep some of the dishonest people out, good locks keep most of the dishonest people out, and that’s usually sufficient.
Myth: If they really want to get in, they will.
Fact: Nobody really wants to get in particularly badly. If you throw even small stumbling blocks at their feet, burglars will fail to break in, just like they’ve failed at everything else in their miserable lives. Specifically, the following measures will vastly improve the security of your storefront business:
||Don’t landscape with boulders and get rid of the concrete ashtray.
|2)||Install pick-resistant and bump-resistant modification||Cost: $10|
|3)||Have a hardened ring (a spinner) installed on your lock cylinder.||Cost: $10|
|4)||Have a lock cylinder installed on the inside so, if a burglar enters a neighbor’s store and drops in through the suspended ceiling, he’ll be trapped.||Cost: $25|
|5)||Have a barrel bolt installed on the inside of your back door.||Cost: $45|
|6)||Have a hard plate installed on the door over the locking bolt.||Cost: $65|
The first five measures, for less than $100, will shut out just about all of the burglars. The sixth measure will stop burglars who brought a reciprocating saw. If your store is of a type that is targeted by professional thieves (e.g. jewelry, electronics or liquor), then I would also recommend a high security lock.
Myth: The [fill in make and model] car must have lousy locks because a consumer magazine reports that it is the most frequently stolen car in America.
Fact: General Motors vehicles sold from 1965 to 1993 could be stolen by crude physical means, but no modern vehicle of any manufacturer is vulnerable to such theft. The skill and equipment required to make a key from scratch are an almost insurmountable obstacle to thieves. No manufacturer today has lousy locks on their cars.
Almost all modern cars that get stolen are by pick-pockets who lift the keys out of women’s purses. This is unrelated to the make and model of car a woman drives. Statistics on car theft are not relative to their frequency in the general population, so popular cars like the Sentra are always near the top of the list while rare cars (in the U.S.) like the Jaguar are always near the bottom of the list. It is actually random.
There are several ways to prevent purse/car theft:
||Women should zip their purses up when in public places, especially nightclubs.|
|2)||Beware of women who enter a store without a purse. They can’t be there to buy anything and they may have left their own purse in their car because they intend to steal one and cannot walk out with two purses.|
|3)||Women who work in office buildings should put their purse in the file cabinet. Thieves walk down the hallway looking for empty offices with a purse visible from the doorway.|
|4)||If your purse is stolen, immediately ask a male colleague to check the men’s room. If the thief is male, he can’t get far carrying a purse. He will probably head straight for the restroom where he can rifle the purse in the privacy of a stall. If someone’s in a stall, jump up and look over the door. If he’s innocent, he’ll accept an apology for the intrusion. If he’s guilty, you’ve trapped a thief without having to fight him on open ground.|
|5)||When women come home they typically leave the door unlocked, put their purse on the coffee table and go to the bathroom. Thieves know this and will follow women into their homes to steal their purses. If you’re still in the living room when they enter, a purse snatching could easily escalate into rape or murder. Lock the door as soon as you get home and, if you’re being followed, don’t lead them to your house.|
Myth: There is a set of six keys that will open and start any [fill in make and model] car.
Fact: Pre-1965 General Motors vehicles could be opened and started with a set of 64 keys, but 64 is a lot more than six (which, for some reason, is always the number quoted by people spreading this myth) and 1965 was a long time ago. Modern cars would require a set of tens of thousands of keys. Of course, popular manufacturers sell that many cars in a month, so it is not inconceivable that two cars might have the same key, but it is highly unlikely. It is not something you need to worry about. A thief would have to walk around with a wheelbarrow full of try-out keys and spend hours trying them on a car before he got the right one.
Pre-1998 Ford/Mercury cars had badly designed ignitions that, when they become worn out, allow you to pull the key out while it is running. If you turn the key back far enough that the dash lights go off before removing the key, you may not realize that the ignition is not in the locked position. Left like this, the car can be restarted with any key or, for that matter, just by turning it with your hand. I charge $50 to replace the ignition, which includes matching it to your existing door key. Most mechanics will give you a separate key for the ignition, which is why you should have a locksmith do the job.
Myth: A gun magazine suggested that I put a deadbolt on my bedroom door to make it into a "safe room" that I can defend Alamo-style in the event of a home invasion.
Fact: While I’ll be happy to install a deadbolt on your bedroom door if that’s what you really want (cost: $30 labor, $22 single-cylinder Kwikset), you should be aware that interior doors are hollow and are essentially just two stiff sheets of cardboard. Home invasion is a very serious crime (and, fortunately, a very rare one) and anybody who has taken that bold step is not going to be stopped by a cardboard door.
If you want to prevent pilferage by your children, replace the passage knob with an entrance knob. I can masterkey it (cost $9, $1.75 per key) so you have one key that fits all the locks on your house and your children have a key that fits only the exterior locks.
Myth: Graphite is a good lubricant for locks.
Fact: No lock manufacturer in the world puts graphite in their locks at the factory, and for good reason – it plugs up the keyway. The only reason a house lock continues to function after it has been graphited is because the back of the keyway is open. The key pushes the graphite into your door cavity, where it will eventually find its way onto your carpet and leave permanent stains. Automobile ignitions are not open in the back and, if you plug them up with graphite, it could cost over a thousand dollars to replace them.
I recommend Tri-Flow, though any silicon-based spray lubricant will work. WD-40 is not a lubricant. It is intended for cleaning out gunk and dissolving dried-up grease but, after the WD-40 has evaporated away, it leaves the device dry. WD stands for "water displacement." After Pearl Harbor, WD-40 was the fortieth formula tested for forcing the salt water out of the gear boxes of guns we were retrieving from sunken ships.
Myth: I locked the keys in my car with the engine running. Time to panic!
Fact: Click and Clack (the newspaper auto mechanics) received a letter from a man who said that his ditzy wife routinely leaves her car running with the windows rolled up and the air conditioner on full blast so it will be nice and cool in the event that the idea for a car trip should float through her air head later in the day. He comes home at five in the afternoon to find her car has been running like this since she took their kids to school at eight in the morning.
To his chagrin, Click and Clack did not lambast his wife. They said that this was a waste of fuel and that it shortens life of the engine and of accessories like the AC compressor and the alternator, but that no modern car would overheat under these conditions. Of course, if you are driving a twenty-year-old rust bucket with its original radiator, it might overheat. But, if this is the case, you would have already noticed it struggling to stay cool in stop-and-go traffic and you should have just replaced the radiator.
This has also been my experience. I have opened cars during the Arizona summer that had been running for hours with the AC on while the owner tried and failed to open it himself. Fortunately, he had the wit to look through the window to read the temperature gauge and it stayed resolutely cool – no worries. In fact, I have never opened a running car that showed any signs of overheating.
A far more common experience is receiving calls from panicked customers who ask how soon I can get there. I tell them a half an hour, which is an honest estimate (scam artists always say ten minutes – they are lying, just like they are lying about their lowball price) and, sobbing, the customer offers me extra money if I can make it in ten minutes. I tell him that I will hurry, get there in twenty minutes and find that he broke his window 19 minutes earlier and then drove off without bothering to cancel. Asshole!
When I was twenty years old, I used to let sobbing customers – especially pretty girls – inspire me to speed. But now that I am old and wise, I realize that (1) No customer has ever kept their promise about extra money if I hurried, (2) No car has ever overheated in the time it took me to drive to the jobsite, and (3) Speeding tickets cost thousands of dollars (including additional insurance costs over the next three years), which takes most of the profit out of a $40 car lockout. So just grow a spine and stop sobbing on the phone. Okay?
Of course, if your baby is in the car and the air conditioner is NOT on, then break a window. Especially here in Arizona, a baby can die or get brain damage in the half hour it takes me to drive to your jobsite. A word to the wise: Tempered glass explodes when it breaks. If you hit it with a hammer, your forearm will be lacerated; so throw a rock and aim for a window far from the baby’s bassinet.
Note: The costs quoted above do not include the $40 trip charge.
Thank you for taking the time to read this page. I hope that I have provided useful information about security. If you have any further questions, you may contact me. If your question is of general interest, I will post it (anonymously) on this page.