How Effective Is a Lock Box?
You have probably seen lock boxes by the front doors of houses and apartments when visiting friends and family. You may have also noticed them placed on inside or outside doors at offices and businesses. Not everyone uses these boxes, but should you? To be able to answer this question, it is important to understand why these devices are used and how they provide security for homeowners. There are several different kinds of lock boxes, and some may be better suited to your intended use than others.
What Is a Lock Box?
A lock box is not actually a device that locks a door, but rather it functions like a tiny safe that holds the keys to a property. In these present times, there are fewer places where someone can feel safe leaving the key to the front door hidden under a flower pot or welcome mat. A lock box secures the key in a place where only specific people can have access.
Lock boxes are typically opened by means of a security code that is entered into the device, allowing retrieval of the key inside. It is also possible to set up an electronic lock box that only allows the code to be entered at specific times of the day. So, why would someone want to store their keys in this way?
How Are Lock Boxes Used?
Typically lock boxes are used when there are multiple people who need to be coming in and out of one property. One common example is in real estate, where different agents may be coming by to show a house to potential buyers and will all need access. Using a box eliminates the need to create extra copies of keys.
Another situation when a lock box can come in handy is when someone is providing help with housesitting or walking and caring for pets. Many of the bigger dog-walking companies provide lock boxes to their clients to allow easy access for the walkers.
The important thing for anyone using a lock box to keep in mind is to remember to leave the key in the box and securely close it when expecting someone else to be using it later. A common mistake people make is keeping the key on them after retrieving it, forgetting to return it for later access.
A lock box can also be a handy tool for personal use. Imagine you need friends or family members to pick something up that you forgot in your house, but the door is locked. All you need to do is give them the combination and they would have no problem getting in.
If you are someone who loses your keys frequently, a lock box may be a good idea, since you will no longer have to take the key to the property along with you when you go out. It can also be a lifesaver if you ever accidentally lock yourself out of your house.
What Are the Different Types of Lock Boxes?
Lock boxes generally all work the same way: The box is a secure container that can only be opened by the people with the code or key to do so. The real difference is in how the different types are unlocked. There are four types of lock boxes, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages:
- Dial Combination: This type uses a dial combination lock, like you might find on a locker. The tumbler must be turned to each set number in the correct combination. These locks are typically reset by accessing the back of the tumbler when the lock box is open. Lock boxes like this are very secure if the combination is kept a secret. One disadvantage is that the lock may be difficult to open for people who have shaky hands or other coordination issues. Also, like any combination lock, it can be problematic if the combo is forgotten.
- Push Button: These lock boxes also use a combination of numbers; however, rather than by turning a tumbler, the combination is entered by pressing the buttons in the right sequence. Most people find these easier to use than a dial combination box. It is important, especially when in a busier area, to be careful that nobody is looking over your shoulder as you enter the combination, as it can be easy to see for anyone who is trying to watch.
- Keyed: A keyed lock box is exactly what it sounds like. Opening this style of lox box requires a special key that fits only that box. Some people may find this redundant, especially if they are using a lock box so as to avoid the problem of forgetting their key. If the lock box itself requires a key, then that key needs to be handled as safely as any other. While this kind of box does not require memorizing a combination, it is possible for a talented locksmith to break in.
- Electronic: An electronic lock box has a screen to input a combination or password. Some boxes can be programmed to recognize employee identification numbers, making them popular for real estate agents keeping track of who is accessing the property. These tend to be the most secure, but they are vulnerable to malfunctions, as with any electronic device.
Lock boxes can be a convenient solution for property owners. Now that you know how they are used and the advantages of different types, you can decide for yourself whether it is worth investing in one for your home or business.