To celebrate Home Security Month we’ve been quizzing our locksmiths members ( Locks In the City, Dennis Security ) on their top tips for home security, the ups and downs of their job and the weirdest situations locksmithing has gotten them into.
Our latest interview is with Bill McFadyen of Lockmaster1 in Greenwich. After trying everything from cabinet-making to carpentry Bill stumbled across the Master Locksmith Association and discovered locksmithing was where he wanted to focus his attention. Here, Bill tells all about the security mistakes homeowners make all too often, and the best and worst parts of his job.
1. What’s the biggest security mistake you find homeowners make?
Those with a composite or UPVC door tend to close the door and think that it’s completely locked, what they don’t understand is that the correct way is to lift the handle up fully and turn the key.
2. Are there any other common mistakes?
Neglecting security measures on sheds and outbuildings, leaving ladders unchained (allowing burglars to use them as access to the upper floors of the building), not having locking security measures on the first floor bedroom windows, installing cheap locks and leaving the security alarm unarmed just in case it goes off while on holiday thus annoying the neighbours.
3. What do burglars look out for?
Unanswered mail gives burglars a heads up that you’re on holiday – letting everybody know on social media while they are on holiday is even worse! Leaving keys under the porch carpet or in a pot are obvious places for burglar to look and leaving valuables on display.
4. Why did you choose to become a locksmith?
In the past I have been a carpenter, cabinetmaker and a bit of a MacGyver. I’ve always liked playing about and picking as a hobby, but about 10 years ago I was a contracts manager in a window manufacturing company and I was made redundant so I decided to give locksmithing a go. When I got involved with the Master locksmiths Association I discovered that this is an industry that I find fascinating. I wouldn’t say it was easy at the beginning – there are quite a few three to five day courses out there where they say you can become a locksmith instantly – believe me this is not the case.
5. What are the best and worst parts of the job?
The best part of the job is the fact that it’s never the same from one day to the next. You are always meeting different people from all walks of life. One day you could be working in a mansion the next day you can be working in public toilets, you just never know. Also, where else could you get paid to do your hobby? As I have improved over the years I’ve been able to help other locksmiths enhance their skills which is another highlight. The only negative part of the job would be the unsociable hours and the fact that you are never off duty even when you’re on holiday.
6. What would your one top tip for Home Security Month be?
Go outside your house and question how you would enter your premises if you were locked out. It is surprising the amount of surveys I do with homeowners where I ask them to do the same things and they realise themselves where their security is really lacking.