In the USA the nationwide burglary rate has remained relatively constant since about 2001. The statistics suggest a person is much more likely to be the victim of a home burglary than of identity theft or a similar offence. Furthermore, while the number of burglaries has dropped significantly since the 1990s, the actual number of events is probably much higher, as it’s thoughtless that half of the crimes are reported.
So what about Canada? Well it fairs better than the USA and is safer than six other countries that have higher rates of reported burglaries. Even so, if you get lucky and the intruders take nothing of value, there’s still the knowledge that someone got into your home and that in itself is unsettling as we believe we should be secure at home.
Crime in Toronto is relatively low compared to other regions, however robberies in targeted neighbourhoods is alive and well and single level homes most at risk. They’re an easy target and it’s these homes that need to up the ante on security.
There’s the incentive to make your home secure, and then there’s the convenience of accessing the systems that control your home from your phone. All new technology goes through the bell curve of product uptake starting with the innovators, then the early adopters and then onto the majority and finally the laggards.
The systems’ cost usually drops significantly by the time the majority are purchasing, so this is an added incentive to make your home more secure. Changing the locks on doors is also recommended when new security systems are installed, and there are many other events when you should rekey your home.
Moving to a new house or apartment. There is simply no way to know for sure what, if anything, the prior occupants did with the house keys – i.e. how many people have copies of the keys? Therefore always rekey the locks because that’s the only way you’ll know for sure who has access to your home.
Even if you and your ex-spouse got along well during the marriage and the divorce, even if you trust the person, rekey the locks. That’s the only way to secure your property and also secure your privacy. Even the most well-meaning ex-spouses may feel entitled to “borrow” items or drop by at the most inopportune moments.
The same analysis applies if a roommate moves out. Even if the person left on good terms and returned the key, rekeying the premises is the smart thing to do because there is no way to know what that individual did with that key – i.e. did they copy it?
Finally, if you cannot slip the key into the lock and easily manipulate it, the lock probably needs to be changed. Once again, peace of mind is the main issue. You and or flatmates or your family will feel much better knowing that the property is secure. Furthermore, a well-working lock is one less thing to deal with as a landlord.