A few months ago, we published a post on Key-Free Lock Control for Your Business. In that post, we explained that burglars can thwart even the best locks if they have a key. In fact, unwanted key copies create a constant security threat for home and business owners alike. Occasionally, a contractor working in a home or an employee in a business will create key copies as a way of committing a crime at a later date. Additionally, burglars working in the service industry will copy their customers’ keys without permission. No matter the circumstance, stopping this threat creates tremendous security. In this post, we share some tips to stop unwanted key copies for good.

We will begin with some ideas for adding key control. Our customers use these key control systems as a way of tracking keys and controlling who can receive key copies, and when. From there, we will look at some ideas for adding keyless entry. We install these products in both homes and in commercial properties. Furthermore, we offer solutions ranging from the simple to the extremely technologically complex to create this security! Now, let’s get started with one of the most “primitive” steps people take to control their keys!

A sign reading "DO NOT COPY"

Stamping keys with instructions to avoid copying only stops the most easily-discouraged potential burglars from creating copies!

Stamping Keys with a “Do Not Duplicate” Stamp

You may have seen keys with the words “DO NOT DUPLICATE” stamped on them. In fact, we have these stamps at our own shop. Upon request, we can stamp key copies with this text. Many of our customers ask us, “Do these words actually stop locksmiths from duplicating keys?” Unfortunately, the answer to this question is “Only sometimes.” For example, many chain stores have told employees not to copy keys with this stamp. However, some of these same stores have self-serve key-copy kiosks. In cases where the customer brings in a “common” key by a major lock brand, these kiosks will successfully create a copy.

Furthermore, no penalty exists for locksmiths who create a copy of these keys. Therefore, nothing can truly ensure that a “do not duplicate” stamp will prove effective. Taking this measure can thwart the “laziest” attempts at creating a copy of your key. However, anybody serious about copying these keys can generally do so. At this point, you may wonder if anyone DOES offer a true way to restrict key copies. Well, we certainly do! Next, let’s examine how key control systems can help you limit copies of your own keys.

Creating True Key Control Through Restricted Keyway Systems

Restricted keyway systems provide key security in a couple ways. For one, these systems generally involve high-quality locks and keys. For example, our preferred lock provider, Medeco, creates the best of the best in both commercial and residential lock security Additionally, Medeco creates high-quality keys that only Medeco dealers can replicate. This eliminates the ability for people to use self-service kiosks to copy these keys. Furthermore, Medeco dealers each have their own patented keyway. This means that even Medeco dealers cannot create copies of another locksmith’s Medeco keys.

A Medeco key

Restricted key systems, such the one created by Medeco, can greatly reduce the risk of people creating unwanted key copies.

Finally, Medeco also demands that dealers work with their customers to create a list of authorized individuals who can receive copies of keys. This means that even if someone enters our store with a Medeco key that we cut, we cannot create a copy of the key unless the customer’s ID matches up with an authorized individual from our records for that account. If our visitor is not authorized, we turn them away without a key. The level of security provided by these systems make them a popular way for customers to clamp down on unwanted key copies! For more information on Medeco master key systems, check out our Medeco Master Key System Design Tips. Now, let’s look at how adding keyless entry options to your property can also add security.

Adding Keyless Entry to Your Property

Installing locks that allow for keyless entry can greatly reduce the number of keys that get copied for your property. After all, allowing people entry without the use of a key takes away the chance of them copying keys to begin with! In this section, we detail some lock equipment that allows for keyless entry. We’ll begin with a look at a couple keypad lock options. From there, we’ll look at a more advanced option popular in commercial properties. Let’s get started with a look at adding keypad locks for additional security!

Keypad Locks

Keypad locks allow users to enter a property using a code instead of a key. Our customers have the option to add and delete codes at will. Therefore, a family going on vacation for a week can set a code to allow house or pet sitters inside. Upon arriving home, the family can delete the code they gave their visitors. This process adds tremendous security by erasing the possibility of someone creating a key copy during the family’s absence. Next, let’s look at a piece of security equipment that takes the security of a keypad lock one step further!

A Yale smart deadbolt is operated by a user.

Smart keypad locks, such as this model by Yale, make it easier to avoid unwanted key copies by creating keyless entry to your property.

Smart Locks

Lately, smart products have taken existing electronic security products and made them more effective than ever. Smart locks, such as the model pictured, have all of the security features of any keypad locks. Additionally, these locks allow you to control them remotely using a smartphone. This allows you to grant access to your property without providing a key or a code! These locks also give you the ability to view, add, and delete codes using any internet-connected device. By providing this option, smart locks make it harder for you to lose track of the codes that you program into the lock. Since extra keypad codes can cause as much damage as unwanted key copies, our customers take advantage of this feature frequently. Now, let’s look at one more layer of security that we install to allow for keyless building entry!

Access Control

Access control systems allow building owners to both control and track access to a property through the use of credentials rather than keys. These credentials take a few forms. In most cases, users have cards or keyfobs that grant them access to a building. Users hold these credentials up to an electronic reader that interacts with electronics that we install in the door’s locks. Upon reading an authorized credential, the door’s electronics unlatch the lock to grant access. In a few instances, customers install biometric readers. This means that a user’s fingerprint, hand print, or even an eye scan are required to unlock the door!

In addition to using technology to control access, these systems also use it to track activity in a building. Our customers use access control software to see who used their credentials to access a door, and when. This software also tracks failed access attempts. For example, you may grant an employee access to a building during business hours on weekdays. If this individual presents their credential on a weekend or after hours, the door will stay locked. Furthermore, the software will “tag” this event so you can investigate why someone attempted to get into your building at an unusual time! For more information on access control, check out our post explaining The How, Where, When and Why of Access Control!

Putting it All Together to Stop Unwanted Key Copies

We hope that this post will help you keep the keys to your property out of the wrong hands! If you have any questions about key security, we encourage you to contact us. As locksmiths with over three decades of experience, we can show you several options to properly lock up your property. Furthermore, we can visit your property as part of our free site survey program. While onsite, we can address any lock-related or general security concerns you may have. Additionally, we can make suggestions of our own based on what we find during our visit. Together, we can create a plan to keep you as safe and secure as possible!