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In 2018, a staggering 7.2 million property crimes occurred in the US. Larceny/theft accounted for 72.5% of those crimes, while burglary accounted for 17.1%.
Preliminary data for 2019, however, showed a 5.6% decrease from the previous year’s January to June count.
While this is no doubt good news, it doesn’t hold true for the entire country. In downtown Austin, TX, for instance, property crime has gone up by 18% from December 2018 to September 2019. Violent crime rates have also spiked by 15%.
These stats should already prompt you to up your home’s security measures. One way to do this is to rekey the locks for all your main doors at home.
The question is, when and why exactly should you have your locks rekeyed? How will it help you improve your home’s security?
That’s what we’ll share with you in this post, so be sure to keep reading!
1. Rekey Your Locks to Reduce Your Risks of Becoming a Crime Victim
Over 38,000 crimes take place in Austin each year. That puts the crime rate at almost 40 per 1,000 residents. As for your chances of becoming a property crime victim in the city, it’s one in 28.
This should be enough reason to hire a licensed locksmith today to rekey the locks in your Austin home ASAP. The sooner you do, the sooner you can boost your home’s safety and security.
2. Rekeying Is a Must If You’re Moving Into a New Home
Despite Austin’s crime rate, it remains the best city to live in the US — for three years in a row, in fact. This has led to an increase in home sales, with the city’s realtors having sold a whopping 33,084 homes in 2019.
If you’re one of these new homeowners, one of the first things you should is to have its locks rekeyed. Do this even if you’ve bought a new construction home. It’s even more important if you’re moving into an older home.
For the simple reason that you’re not sure how many people have duplicate keys to the existing locks. For newly-built homes, realtors and construction contractors may still have these keys. As for existing homes, previous owners (and their family and friends) may still have keys to the old lock.
Even if they’re all honest and law-abiding folks, they may accidentally lose these keys. Imagine if these keys fall into the wrong hands.
So, it’s better to be safe than sorry and make your home safer by investing in a lock rekeying service.
Professional rekeying of locks involves changing all the pins inside the lock. This then renders all previously-made keys useless. Only new keys made after the change will work on a rekeyed lock.
For people who just spent a lot of money buying a home, rekeying is more practical than lock replacement. After all, most recently-sold homes often have new locks installed on them. You can simply get these locks rekeyed rather than getting rid of the entire thing.
3. You’ve Lost Your Own Keys
Speaking of lost keys, a survey found that more than one in four Americans misplace theirs at least once a week. What’s more, home keys aren’t the only ones that go missing — lost car keys are also very common!
If you’ve recently lost your home keys, even if they’re just duplicates, it’s best to rekey your locks. Again, you never know whose hands they may fall into, so it’s better to be a bit more cautious than to be a crime victim.
4. Someone In Your Household Lost Their Key
In Austin, there’s an average of at least 2.47 people in each household, so that’s two to three keys per lock, per household. You may be taking good care of your own keys, but your other family members may have lost theirs. They may have also been a victim of a recent mugging.
Either way, hire a locksmith for rekeying as soon as someone else in your household loses their keys. Especially if they also lost their purse, wallet, and IDs that detail your home address. Criminals will know where exactly your home is, and they may try using the stolen keys to get inside your home.
Reduce the chances of your home getting hit by a burglar or thief by changing its internal mechanism.
5. You’ve Noticed a Spike in Missing Items At Home
Did you know that among high school students, stealing is quite common, with a prevalence rate of over 15%? Or that as many as 43% of housekeepers admitted to stealing at least once throughout their career?
That said, it’s unwise to dismiss the possibility of a babysitter or hired help stealing from you. Especially not if you’ve noticed things missing at home, regardless of how small they may be. It’s possible that they’re not just missing, but have been actually stolen.
You may only be “missing” cheap towels now, but you may end up “losing” bigger ticket items in the long run. So, instead of risking it, rekey your locks and limit the duplicates you pass to others. If you confirm that the hired help has been stealing from you, then it’s time to start looking for new employees too.
6. You’ve Had Your Home Burglarized Very Recently
Whether it was a successful or only an attempted burglary, you should get your locks rekeyed ASAP. Random burglars, thieves, or home invaders aren’t the only possible perps. Anyone who has a duplicate key to your home could have committed the crime.
Besides, some criminals do have the tendency to revisit their crime scene. So, if they let themselves in with a key once, they can keep entering your home unless you render those keys useless.
The last thing you want is to go through this kind of traumatic experience again. Get those locks rekeyed as soon as possible so you can go back to sleeping peacefully at night.
7. You’ve Had a Lot of Duplicates Made Over the Years
You may have permanently lost your keys before, so you had to have duplicates made for the entire family. You may have also passed a few copies to friends, caretakers, gardeners, or babysitters.
If you can’t remember how many duplicates you’ve shared (and to whom), it’s time to rekey your home’s locks.
8. A Home Improvement or Repair Job is Now Complete
If you’ve had contractors going in and out of your home, you may have had to give them duplicate keys. Get your locks rekeyed as soon as the project is complete.
The heavier use that your locks sustained may also have loosened its internal parts. In this case, a South Austin locksmith will first check the lock for damages.
If it’s repairable, then you should first have it fixed and then get it rekeyed. If it’s too old or worn, however, you may want to consider getting a lock replacement.
9. You’re Back to Being Single
Even if you’re on good terms with your ex, you should still consider rekeying your locks. They’re likely to lose their copy since they no longer use the key to the home they used to share with you. There’s also the risk of jealous new partners who may wind up having access to your ex’s duplicate key.
10. You Locked Yourself Out and Fiddled with the Lock
In the Southern US, almost one in three (29%) residents leave their doors unlocked. That’s more than twice the number of Northwest residents who do the same.
If you’re the complete opposite, however, then you likely never forget to lock your doors. What you may fail to remember is to slip your home keys into your pocket, purse, or bag.
If you’ve recently found yourself locked out of home, you probably had to pick it to let yourself in. Depending on the “tools” you used to force it open, you might have damaged the lock’s internal parts.
The good news is, a locksmith may still salvage your door lock so you don’t have to get a complete replacement. However, the damage that the forced opening left may render your old keys unusable. In this case, it would be best to get it rekeyed (and to make sure you always have a key on your person).
11. You Broke a Key Inside the Lock
Have you noticed how various keys can slide all the way into locks that they’re not made for? Unfortunately, this is one of the main reasons that keys break inside keyholes.
Even if a key goes into a lock, its bitings (the teeth and notches on the key) won’t align with the lock’s pins. So, try as you might, this won’t release the lock.
The thing is, you might not have noticed that you inserted the wrong key. So, you kept wiggling it inside the lock. All that force could have resulted in the key breaking while still inside the keyhole.
It’s also possible for the wrong key to get stuck inside the lock. The key could also break if you place enough force on it in an attempt to take it out.
In these cases, it’s best to contact a local Austin locksmith ASAP. Experienced locksmiths can remove those broken key pieces and restore your lock’s functions.
This is also a good time to consider rekeying the multiple locks you have on one door. If you have two or more locks from the same brand, you can get them rekeyed so you can open all of them with one key. Locksmiths can do the same for locks that use the same keyhole type, even if they’re from different brands.
When Changing Locks is a Much Better and Safer Option
Rekeying locks costs less than getting a new one installed for every door at home. However, there are some cases wherein it’s best to invest in brand-new locks, such as the following:
Your Existing Locks are Old and Rusty
More than half of all homes in Austin are between 30 and 70 years old. If you live in one of these older homes and you’ve never changed the locks, then now’s the best time to. Especially if they have severe rusting or they’ve gotten stuck numerous times.
You Want to A Major Upgrade To Your Door Security
These locks are also designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions. That makes them a plus for homes in Austin, what with the city’s hot and humid climates. The excess moisture can cause early failure in standard locks, but not in grade 1 locks.
You Want All Locks to Work With One Key
As mentioned above, rekeying lets you use a single key for multiple locks. However, you need the locks to either be from the same brand or have the same type of keyhole.
If you want most or all of the locks at home to open with a master key, you’d likely need to change a few of them first. Only then can you have them rekeyed to work with a single key.
Make Your Austin Home More Secure With Prompt Rekeying Services
There you have it, the ultimate guide on all the reasons why you should rekey your locks ASAP. With so many unscrupulous folks out there, it makes sense to be on your toes and up your home’s security. Rekeying, paired with a few extra deadbolts, is a cost-effective way to do exactly that.
Ready to make it harder for burglars or invaders to get unauthorized access to your home? Then please don’t hesitate to connect with us now to request a service schedule! You can also rely on us 24/7/365, so please feel free to ring us up for emergency help during lockouts.