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One of the more frequent questions I get (and I mean daily) is from someone who’s lost a key to some lock and doesn’t want to pay the callout they’ve been quoted because they have seen it done on You Tube and it looks easy. I feel their pain. Many a time I’ve had to get an emergency tradesman round only to see them twist a knob, tighten a screw, etc. then invoice me for a similar amount. It hurts!

He charges a callout because he spent time learning all about locks. He spent time learning so that he can identify your lock and work out how to open it. He spent money on a wide variety of tools and techniques because he knows certain types of locks might be resistant to MICA, or an EPG, it might require single pin lock picking, a technique on which he has probably spent hundreds of hours, hundreds of locks, and a few lock pick sets perfecting.

It’s easy to say, and believe me we hear it all the time, that a locksmith arrived, stuck a little tool in the lock and it was open in seconds, only then to complain when he asked for the full callout that you initially quoted them. Do you want him to take an hour, to sweat, to have cuts on his fingers? Because if that’s the issue, don’t worry, he already has! The reason he can get the job done in seconds is because he’s already done the sweating, he’s already spent the hours learning, hours upon hours of practising, learning, studying, becoming excellent at his chosen skill. He did that so you don’t have to, so that he doesn’t have to when you want the lock open.

So rather than complain when a locksmith opens your lock in a matter of seconds, be glad you can carry on with your life faster than expected. Of course, there’s another answer to not paying the callout, and I promise you’ll never have to pay another locksmith. Get the skills yourself, get the tools, learn the techniques, and you’ll never need to call a locksmith again.

Criminals don’t pick locks

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Criminals don’t pick locks

One of the most common fears people have is that if every Joe Shmoe out there knows how to pick a lock, their neighbourhood will suddenly become riddled with break-ins and thefts.

We have taken data from Stats SA’s Governance, Public Safety and Justice Survey GPSJS 2018/19 (http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/P0341/P03412018.pdf) to give an indication, and while this doesn’t exactly give us answers on how many burglaries were committed by an entry of lockpicking, it’s clear that a huge majority used weapons during the robbery which doesn’t leave a lot of room for “criminal lockpickers.” Statistics aside, it also just doesn’t make sense that a criminal who wants your TV or jewellery, someone who is looking for a crime of opportunity, would want to run the risk of being found with “burglary tools” on them.

Think about the most common burglary tactics we hear about. A burglar will monitor a target neighbourhood for a few weeks watching different homeowner’s habits such as regular times they are away or if they open and then forget to relock that living room window every afternoon the sun happens to be out. Another example is the burglar who approaches a front door and rings the bell. If someone answers the door, they make up an excuse needing to borrow a phone or read a meter, if no one answers, they will try to open the front door and hope someone forgot to lock it before leaving the house. These are both good tactics for criminals because even if a watchful eye gets suspicious and calls the police, the would-be burglar has done nothing wrong and nobody can prove they had malicious intent. Bottom line is that they leave the burglar with an out. Acting suspiciously and then having the police find lockpicking tools is the opposite of what burglars want.

If a criminal wants some free stuff, they are going to:

  • want quick and easy entry;
  • spend as little time possible actually committing the crime;
  • not care if they leave behind a broken door or window (use destructive entry).

None of these things are conducive to lockpicking as an entry solution. Anybody who can pick a lock will you tell you that in order to make your skill reliable, it takes time, knowledge, self-study and research, patience, and an investment in tools. Getting lucky with an unlocked door, kicking a door in, or a rock through the window are all far more probable scenarios when it comes to burglaries.