24 Hour Locksmith Service in the Bay Area — San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties

Your Local 24 Hour Locksmith in the Bay Area

Pop-A-Lock
San Francisco

Call: 415-668-5625
Pop-A-Lock
San Mateo County

Call: 650-878-5625
Pop-A-Lock
Oakland

Call: 510-666-6680

Are You Ready for a Safe Summer?

June 17th, 2014 by Darci Rosenblum / Link to This

School’s out and summer is finally here which means families are enjoying the outdoors more.   Did you know that nearly half of these families don’t take any security precautions other than locking their windows and doors to keep their families and items safe?  Pop-A-Lock Bay Area wants to remind you of some simple security precautions to ensure your home remains a safe haven this summer.

Top five tips for home security:

1. Make Your Backyard a Safe Place – Remember to put garden tools and lawn mowers away in a locked place after use. Secure your shed or garage door with a high-security, weather-resistant lock which not only deters kids from using tools as toys, it also guards lawn equipment from theft.

2. Sleep Safely with Windows Open – Sleeping with open windows may help you sleep better, unfortunately it also provides easy access to your home for intruders. Take proactive measures to ensure you sleep safely. If you use a home security system, ensure it provides window security coverage. Otherwise, use a window blocking device that prevents windows from opening more than six inches, and ensure windows cannot be accessed from outside. While you’re sleeping, ensure all doors are locked, and safeguard patio doors from intruders.

3. Designate a Family Meeting Spot – Set up a spot with your family now so you’re prepared should a fire ever strike. It’s also good practice to designate a meeting spot whenever you’re away from home. Whether you are at a carnival, park or away on vacation, always come up with a plan of where to meet. This will give you peace of mind in case someone in your family is separated from the group.

4. Check Your Smoke Detectors – You should be checking your smoke detectors every month, however most people check it less frequently.  Regardless, replace batteries yearly or as soon as you hear a low-battery warning sound that usually sounds like a chirping noise. Smoke alarms should be replaced completely every 10 years.

5. Create Backups- With busy summer schedules, it’s easy to forget your keys before leaving the house. To avoid being locked out of your house, make extra copies of your keys, and keep them in a secure spot or with a neighbor.

Have a great (and safe) summer!

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Saab Replacement Keys

May 8th, 2014 by Darci Rosenblum / Link to This

If you own a Saab you’re well aware of the ups and downs of the company.  Regardless of the company’s situation, Saab vehicles have maintained popularity over the years and many people drive them today.

ATTENTION SAAB OWNERS:  If you own a Saab and have lost your Saab keys and need a replacement Saab key, you’re out of luck … until today.  Pop-A-Lock Bay Area is happy to announce we can now reproduce most Saab keys.  This process takes no more than 4 working business days and is a lot less expensive than having the entire key module replaced by a body shop, which can run you in excess of over $1,000.

Pop-A-Lock Bay Area is now the only game in town that will generate Saab keys when no other key exists.  Call us today to learn more about the vehicles we can service.

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Sliding Glass Doors … The Most Vulnerable Entry Point

March 11th, 2014 by Darci Rosenblum / Link to This

A friend called me last night letting me know her home was burglarized and that she needed a locksmith.  I immediately assumed they got in through the front door however she let me know they had gained entry through the back sliding glass door.  I didn’t even consider the sliding glass door so I decided to do a bit of research and found some very interesting facts.

I found out that these types of doors are the most vulnerable even if they’re not smashed.  Standard factory locks can be often be opened with relative ease, and even locked doors can be lifted off their tracks for a quieter break-in — one that can be done without tools. A flat-head screwdriver makes the job even easier.  Although police have not said exactly how many burglars entered each home through sliding-glass doors, experts agree those are the most difficult places to secure.

Homeowners have several options to secure a sliding glass door:

They can be simple: A wooden dowel jammed into the track to prevent the door from opening could slow a burglar.

Or they can be a little more elaborate: A sliding bolt can be secured to the frame to prevent the door from moving even if it is lifted off its track.

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Alarm systems are also an option but they can have flaws.  If burglars smash their way through sliding-glass doors, a door-frame alarm won’t necessarily go off. That’s why motion and glass-break sensors should be added near sliding-glass doors. You can buy motion and glass-break sensors that use alarms to frighten away criminals.  Some of those devices cost just a few dollars and offer minimal security, and others cost more than $700.  Adequate ones cost about $160.

Of course, the simplest means of security is a vigilant resident. Keeping an eye out for suspicious vehicles or people during the day could help keep a neighborhood safe, police say.

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7 Tips To Avoid Locksmith Scams

October 3rd, 2013 by Darci Rosenblum / Link to This

The locksmith industry is riddled with scammers.  Before you hire a locksmith or any other general contractor, please use the following tips from the Federal Trade Commission to help avoid a scam:

1. Be wary of companies that answer calls with generic phrases like “locksmith services,” rather than a specific name. If a locksmith cannot or will not provide the business’ legal name, find another locksmith.

2. When the locksmith arrives, ask for identification, including a locksmith license where applicable. Alabama, California, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas all require locksmiths to be licensed.

3. Get an estimate before any work begins, including emergency service.

4. Ask about extra charges for things like emergency hours, mileage or service call minimums before you agree to have the work performed.

5. If the locksmith’s on-site price doesn’t match the phone estimate, don’t allow the work to be performed.

6. Most legitimate locksmiths will arrive in a clearly marked vehicle.

7. If you’re locked out, be cautious of companies that recommend or insist on drilling or replacing the lock up front. Most experienced locksmiths have the skills and tools to unlock almost any door.

Thanks to Angie’s List for highlighting these helpful tips.

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Pop-A-Lock … A Short History

September 25th, 2013 by Darci Rosenblum / Link to This

When I was considering buying the Pop-A-Lock franchise I did all the due diligence one would do when buying a new business, looking at past financials, researching the market, identifying the competition, etc.  The one thing I didn’t spend a lot of time on is actually researching the history of the company, that is until now.

What I found  is that Pop-A-Lock was born in 1991 when local law enforcement agents in Lafayette, Louisiana recognized the need for a car locksmith in their community. Since then, Pop-A-Lock has grown to become the largest professional locksmithing franchise in the country. The original Lafayette location is now the national training facility and corporate headquarters for Pop-A-Lock.

Pop-A-Lock was also the first to adopt the use of a web based call management platform to assist in performing dispatch functions. It is utilized to receive initial information from customers concerning their issues, regulates pricing of service based on standard pricing practices and performs back office functions for payroll and billing. This alone sets us apart from our competition.

There are many other things that set Pop-A-Lock apart from the other locksmiths out there but my one main finding is that it is our commitment to our customers, which is to utilize the best technology available in order to provide the highest quality service possible.

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Another family friendly program from Pop-A-Lock

September 12th, 2013 by Darci Rosenblum / Link to This

Pop-A-Lock™ PALSavesKids™ FREE Program Rescues Over 350,000 Children Trapped In Automobiles

As parents, Jeff and I are always trying to figure out how to keep kids and families safer.  Pop-A-Lock has always had an emergency car door unlocking program where we never charge when a child is locked in the car.  In fact, as a company, we’ve rescued over 350,000 children trapped in automobiles.

Recently, we took this program to the next.  The program is now called, PALSavesKids™ and the new call-to-action:  PALSaves, 1-Stop, 2-Look, 3-Lock, reminds busy caregivers to be hyper-vigilant of their children’s presence in cars.  Also, we’ve created a new mascot, the PALS Puppy who was recently displayed in New York in Times Square!  This new mascot is a gentle reminder to parents to look before you lock your vehicle.

PALS Puppy in Times Square

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New Vocabulary … Bump Proof Locks

August 12th, 2013 by Darci Rosenblum / Link to This

Within any industry, there are specific vocabulary terms that go along with it.  For example, in the plumbing industry you might hear “blow bag” which is a device used for drain cleaning.  In locksmithing, I’ve come across the term “bump proof” many times and have decided that it was time to learn more about this frequently used term.

Upon first investigation, I learned that lock bumping is a recent trend in burglaries, which can make it easy and fast to break into homes without needing too much special equipment, and leaving any trace of forced entry (they say even a child can bump a lock). It works almost as well as actually having a key, so the technique can very quickly open about 90% of American household locks.

Looking back in time, Locksmiths have long used the “lock bumping” technique to gain access to locks when a key is not present. The term “bumping” comes from the fact that a specially cut key is inserted into a keyhole and then tapped or “bumped” by a screwdriver or other object. This “bumping” forces the pins in the lock to jump to their shear line, and with a little torque applied to the key, the lock will open. With the advent of the Internet, this technique was made generally available and sadly, companies are selling the specially cut keys online. Anyone with an Internet connection now has access to the technology and tools needed to gain entry to your home.

The good news is that it is preventable.  The industry responded to the surge in bumping devices and created bump proof locks.  Our locksmiths can come out and replace your lock with a secure system that involves a normal pin tumbler lock plus an additional secondary locking system (sidebar) on the side of the key that involves lifting and rotating of additional pins that can’t be opened with a bump key.

So to sum up my investigation, it seems like anyone with $3 and an Internet connection can get into your home.  In my opinion, go that extra mile and install bump proof locks today.

Example of what a bumping key looks like.

Screen shot 2013-08-12 at 4.08.53 PM

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How Secure Is Your Home?

August 6th, 2013 by Darci Rosenblum / Link to This

As a mom, I’m constantly playing the role of protector, doing my best to keep my kids out of harms’ way. But my everyday focus on preventing playground injuries and hurt feelings is just one aspect of family safety, making our home secure, is another.

In addition to my full-time job as mom, I own Pop-A-Lock Bay Area and wanted to share these helpful home security tips with you.

Did you know that it takes approximately 30 seconds to pick an average residential lock? Or that a home is broken into every 12 seconds, resulting in homeowners losing around $2,000 in personal property?

For those of you who are new to home ownership, did you know that the previous homeowner most likely gave at least 4 key copies to people not living in the home?

With the recent increase in break-in activity in many communities, we should all be aware of a few easy ways to protect our homes:

1.  Re-key your home.  This is the most basic security step.  Change your locks so you will be certain of who has keys to your home.

2.  Upgrade to a pick-resistant deadbolt.  Most residential locks can be picked.  Intruders can even purchase tools online to help them pick a lock!  Change your locks to a lock that cannot be picked under any circumstance.

3.  Install good outside lighting.  Most potential intruders will stay away from homes that are well lit.

4.  Keep landscaping trimmed around windows and install secondary locks on windows.  Don’t make it easy for an intruder to hide in the bushes and pry open windows.

5.  Use timers on lights.  This will make it look like someone is home whether you’re gone for a few hours or a few weeks.

6.  Don’t leave spare keys in an obvious place.  It is shocking how many intruders have used “hidden” keys to gain entry into homes.

By taking these preventative measures, you are doing your best to discourage criminals from targeting your home.

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Introducing … Pop-A-Lock Bay Area

July 19th, 2013 by Darci Rosenblum / Link to This

We are excited to announce the launch of our site, which also signifies the launch of a new business partnership for my partner, Jeff and I.

A lot of people ask me how I came to own a locksmith business since my career has been focused on direct marketing for retailers … here’s how the story goes, Jeff, who also owns Pop-A-Lock Las Vegas mentioned that the Bay Area franchise was for sale and wanted to know what I thought. Given the entrepreneurial spirit in both of us, we jumped in. Although I’m learning a new vocabulary (CDU’s, bump proof locks, etc.) I’m enjoying figuring out the local marketing strategy to get this business going.

Plus, we’re both parents and have safety on our minds every day. We want to grow Pop-A-Lock Bay Area into not only your go to locksmith for car lockouts and home re-keys, we want to be your home security specialists. You’ll be able to visit this blog often to get tips and tricks to keep you and your family safe!

So, off to a new venture. We thank you for your support and spreading the word.

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