PPM Locksmiths 2011 Review
After the Credit Crunch, the Northern Rock rescue, and the subsequent economic recession that began in 2007, the economic prospects of the UK are still not secure more than four years later. Historically, a period of tightening financial belts has usually meant a rise in the crime rate, and there has certainly been a marked rise in burglaries during 2011.
At PPM Locksmiths, we’ve always told our customers that we are in the business of crime prevention. We would like to see a significant reduction in the burglary statistics, and believe that this is achievable if the right locks for each door have been fitted.
In 1980, the British Standards kitemark was applied to certain 5-lever mortice locks, and thousands of our customers had their wooden doors upgraded to meet insurance requirements. However, the security profession was on shakier ground when it came to uPVC doors. This presented a real headache for locksmiths because, while many locking mechanisms were very effective, the cylinders that operated all locking mechanisms were particularly vulnerable to attack. The standard cylinders usually fitted to the doors proved totally inadequate against a force attack, and once the cylinder is out of the way, every locking mechanism, no matter how sophisticated, can be opened in as little as a few seconds.
From the day that uPVC doors were first introduced in the UK almost forty years ago, locksmiths and double-glazing fitters have known how to open these doors in seconds. Just a few years ago, Dominic Wood was thrown out of the Magic Circle for writing a book revealing the secrets behind certain magic tricks. Unfortunately, a number of unqualified tradesmen appear to have done the same thing, demonstrating their door opening skills in front of an audience, and the ’magic’ trick of opening uPVC doors is now widely known. It is demonstrated on the internet, and used by burglars preying on the 10 million vulnerable uPVC doors in the UK. This is a major breach of security and customer confidence, and we fully expect the crime figures to rise.
However, 2011 brought some very welcome, and long overdue news on this front with the introduction of ABS cylinders. To put it simply, the trick that burglars and unskilled tradesmen use to open uPVC doors doesn’t work on ABS cylinders. Every door fitted before 2011 will very definitely have a conventional euro cylinder to operate the locking mechanism, and will need to be upgraded to ABS to prevent a 30-second break-in.
Following the withdrawal of the Chubb name from locking products in the latter half of 2010, the products formerly labelled Chubb are now being packaged as either Union or Yale. Any remaining Chubb stock was sold during 2011, and our shelves have been replenished with the new versions. It’s the end of a long tradition, and we’re sorry to see the brand disappear. However, we have the same quality products under different names.
Long established in their own right as a trustworthy manufacturer of quality locking products, Union have also adopted the Super Centre scheme for approved locksmiths - another specialised qualification to add to our extensive portfolio at PPM Locksmiths .
If you test public opinion on the type of keys people prefer, they may have more trust in the security of mortice keys (often referred to as ‘Chubb‘ keys), but actually prefer the convenience of smaller cylinder keys (popularly described as ‘Yale’ keys). 2011 saw a continuing drop in popularity of conventional mortice locks on wooden and composite doors, with a corresponding rise in the popularity of cylinder operated locks. Purely for economic reasons, the most secure versions are seldom supplied to new-build houses and flats - often, the internal lockcase is coupled with a basic, inadequate cylinder. 2011 saw a rise in attacks on these doors - many involving doors that had split around the lockcase by sheer brute force.
In response to this security problem, PPM Locksmiths fitted door reinforcers on a number of properties in the Cardiff Bay area. By strengthening the door around the lock it can make the door doubly resistant to a sustained force attack, and with white, brass, and chrome versions available to our customers, they appear to be a normal component part of the door furniture - matching letterboxes, for example. However, to the thief, they represent a serious obstacle that can deter them from any attempt on your property.
Always, any downturn in the economy means that lots of people have less money to spend, and PPM Locksmiths are very conscious of this fact. However, while others may compete to supply ever cheaper products, we will not compromise on security. During 2011, we noticed the price of locks becoming an issue for some people. Usually, these people didn’t realise that cheaper products weren’t going to do what they wanted them to do. Our locks are not the cheapest that money will buy, but as master locksmiths, we pride ourselves on supplying and fitting only the products that are proven to do the job. Cutting corners to save pennies can seriously damage your security.
Some years ago, one manufacturer well known in the field of DIY products, decided to manufacture a lock that could be fitted to a sliding window or an aluminium patio door. Being made of a relatively cheap alloy material, they were inexpensive to buy, and could be fitted by anyone with basic tools. They were mounted on the frame of the door or window, and fixed with a screw. The problem was that, when you tightened the fixing screw to keep it in place, the lock split and broke into two pieces. Even those that remained in one piece were very easily broken when tapped. They were utterly useless for security purposes, and were eventually withdrawn from sale. Unfortunately, there are still locking products being made and sold today, packaged as ‘security’, that are equally useless - they won’t do what you expect them to do.
At PPM Locksmiths, every product we sell has to meet our exacting standards to gain approval before it is offered to our customers. This means that many of the cheap locks supplied by other companies are rejected by us, while many others offer locks that would fail even basic testing to make sure they are the cheapest, we have a reputation as master locksmiths to uphold. Our prices are competitive against any comparable product, but you cannot be the best and the cheapest at the same time. We believe that, if you call a locksmith for a security product, you should end up with something that will withstand attempts by thieves to overcome it. There is an independent body that tests security products. To achieve Sold Secure status products must pass a number of stringent tests conducted by a range of experts - the ABS cylinders introduced in 2011 were the first door cylinders to achieve the diamond status of Sold Secure ratings - the highest possible.
Many people do not realise that there are standards for locks and locksmiths. If you turn to the Yellow Pages or the internet you will find unqualified tradesmen alongside the best qualified master locksmiths. The recognised professional body for locksmiths is the Master Locksmiths Association - often referred to as the MLA. All specialist locksmith companies associated with the MLA have to undergo regular checks by experienced master locksmiths before they are approved. PPM Locksmiths are proud to be an Approved Company Member of the Master Locksmiths Association. PPM Locksmiths are also the ABS Elite Locksmith covering Cardiff and South East Wales.
Many people currently fitting locks are avoided by banks, building societies, and insurance companies because they have no professional qualifications. If these customers call a lock expert to do a job, they don’t want somebody to turn up and tell them they can’t deal with a genuine security lock. Too often though, ordinary customers place their trust in these unqualified tradesmen, and end up with cheap products that are inadequate. When these cheap locks break, or wear out, or fail to prevent a burglary, it is all too late. Certain unqualified tradesmen will only fit the cheap locks they are able to open. These are not effective security products. They may convince you that they are saving you money, but you risk losing a lot more.
As a highly qualified, professional master locksmiths company, PPM Locksmiths continue to supply and fit locks that are designed to be secure. We will not fit locks just because they are cheap, because they can usually be opened by unskilled people - whether legitimate tradesmen or burglars. The idea of security is to stop ANYONE from getting in without a key.
We know of two attempted break-ins in the Cardiff area during December 2011 that were prevented by an ABS cylinder, so PPM Locksmiths are pleased to report that ABS locks have a proven record of success in countering this kind of opportunist burglary. However, we are aware that victims of burglary in the Cardiff area have not been advised on their security, and have had a snapped cylinder replaced with another of exactly the same type. Please bear in mind that, if you have been burgled before, you are more likely to be targeted for a repeat burglary, and you really do need to UPGRADE your security. Don’t replace useless locks with equally useless locks.
A customer in the PPM Locksmiths shop recently asked for keys to be copied, and unaware that we are MLA Approved master locksmiths, mentioned they had called someone else to change their locks following a break-in. Seeing their keys, we recognised the new lock. It was actually not as good as the lock it had replaced - but they had been assured by “a very friendly and informative” fitter that it was a better quality, and that it wouldn’t cost as much as others would charge. At PPM Locksmiths, we believe our customers deserve a better service than that. When they have already been robbed once by a burglar, they need to trust their home security.
With burglary figures rising, 2012 could see a marked rise in the number of break-ins to properties that are insufficiently secured. If you would like advice on how to make your property effectively secure, please call PPM Locksmiths for help and advice, and an effective and inexpensive solution to your security problems.