Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Learn How to Keep Your Tenants and Property Safe at NAA 2015

Keys in a doorLas Vegas is a city that knows all about keys. Casinos, banks, businesses, apartments — it's a town that needs to keep things secure. As such, there's no better place to learn about how key control can help your property be safe and secure for your tenants.

KeyTrak will be in attendance at the National Apartment Association (NAA) Education Conference and Exposition, which will be June 24-27 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Convention Center in Las Vegas. We will be demonstrating our electronic key control systems that can keep your keys secure while streamlining property management tasks.

We're excited to show how the KeyTrak Multifamily Plus systems alert tenants via email when a key to their apartment has been checked out, integrate with property management software such as MyBuilding.org to keep tenant information up-to-date, and even track employee work schedules and tenant packages.

For more information about KeyTrak's attendance at NAA 2015, visit our website. We will be in booth #1637.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Electronic Key Control’s Importance in Prisons

Prison KeysDue to the high level of liability prisons could face if something goes wrong, it’s essential that prison owners do everything in their power to keep their facilities highly protected. One way to maintain security is to invest in a method of key control that's more secure than a manual process. Here are three of the most important practices when implementing key control in your prison.

Keep Keys Secure

Manual methods of key control that involve handwritten logbooks or pegboards aren't as effective for restricting access to keys and maintaining an audit trail. Rather than relying on manual key control, consider using an electronic key control system.

Electronic key control provides higher security than manual methods. An electronic system creates an automatic verifiable audit trail that records information about who checked out a key and when. This creates a more safe and organized facility while also enforcing employee accountability.

Utilize a Total Lockdown System

With a pegboard or loosely secured cabinet, there's no way to make sure each employee only takes one key at a time. Prisons are high-level security facilities, so don’t take a chance with your key inventory by leaving it open to unauthorized users.

Consider a key control system that offers total lockdown security so only approved users can have access to certain keys. With this system, an authorized user is only allowed to take the key they’ve requested while all other keys are locked into place. By limiting the number of keys employees can take, you reduce the risk of keys falling into the wrong hands.

Receive Alerts

With manual key control, there are no alerts for overdue or missing keys. You won't realize that a key is not in its proper place until you physically count how many are in your inventory. By then, it could be too late to avoid a costly security breach.

However, maintaining supervision of your key inventory at all times can be a challenge. To help you keep tabs on your keys even when you're not on-site, an electronic key control system for your prison can send system administrators automatic email or text alerts if a key has been checked out for too long or if a user tries to take a key they're not allowed to access.

Make sure your prison has the proper key control security in place to avoid dangerous consequences. For more tips on how to account for all your keys, check out this post.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Businesses' Keys Stolen by Unexpected Thief

Woman arrested
Sometimes the people targeting your keys are the people you least expect. A 70-year-old California woman posed as an unassuming visitor at several Palo Alto businesses before stealing keys with the intention of returning to burglarize the businesses later. It was after one of those return trips that the woman was finally caught — and in possession of about 80 keys to local businesses.

In March, Trinity Lutheran Church's alarm system was triggered shortly after midnight and a surveillance camera captured footage of an elderly woman inside. After being arrested, the woman admitted to police that she had been in the church that night and had taken money from there in a separate robbery in February. She was also in possession of documents from a Los Altos pre-school and police said she had recently attempted to pawn two stolen guitars, one valued at $5,000.

The thief might not have seemed threatening on the surface, but you never know who could be targeting your business. That's why it's crucial to know where your company's keys are at all times, keeping your business and your employees safe. Consider using an electronic key control system to manage your assets and keep thieves at bay.

An electronic key control system that logs who took the keys and when should deliver reports and alerts to your computer or phone when a key is either taken by an unauthorized person or hasn't been returned within a specified amount of time. This keeps your employees accountable and allows you to react quickly if something does go wrong.

To learn more about the costs of losing your company's keys, read our post "Majority of Phoenix Fire Department's Keys Go Missing: 9,000 Businesses at Risk."

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

String of School Bus Thefts Reveals Lack of Key Security

School bus on road
Several accounts of stolen school buses have been cropping up in the news recently. While the circumstances around the thefts are unique and unsettling in their own way, they have two things in common: None of the thieves were authorized to be driving the buses, and all of them used keys to steal the vehicles.

So how were the perpetrators able to gain access to the keys in order to steal the buses? Let’s examine a few of the incidents.

Woman Tries to Swim to Canada After Stealing Bus

In early May, a woman stole a school bus from a Washington school district. She had gotten 70 miles away before her erratic driving in Blaine, PA instigated a police chase. The pursuit culminated with the woman crashing the bus through a harbor-side parking-lot barrier and into a tree. Abandoning the bus, she dove into Boundary Bay and began swimming away. Police caught her right before she reached Canadian waters.

After interviewing the woman, police determined that she was not an employee of the school district from which she took the bus. Somehow, though, she had obtained the key to the vehicle. Unfortunately, no one knows how, as the school district reported that its drivers and personnel were all accounted for.

Sex Offender Uses Stolen Bus to Attempt to Pick up Children

One April morning, a Utah father was surprised when a new school bus driver pulled up in front of his house. After talking to the man behind the wheel, the father sensed that something wasn’t right — and for good reason. The driver was, in fact, a convicted felon and was arrested shortly after attempting to pick up a different child. The convict had found the bus parked at the home of a substitute driver with some valuable items inside: the keys, directions to bus stops and a list of student names. The regular driver was supposed to have picked up the bus later.

Teens Crash Stolen Buses

In Tennessee, two separate groups of teens stole school buses from two Nashville schools in the same week. The first incident involved three teens stealing an unlocked bus in which the previous driver had left the keys. A few days later at a separate school, two teens allegedly noticed the keys inside an out-of-service bus and took it for a ride. In both cases, the buses were damaged after striking utility poles.

Intoxicated Couple Takes Bus on Drunken Joyride

During the early hours of a weekday morning, an intoxicated man and woman entered a Maryland school district’s bus lot, where they found a key in the glove box of one of the buses. They took the vehicle on a dangerous joyride, which ended when the bus struck an electrical tower and crashed into the woods. After the theft, school officials reported that the driver assigned to the now-damaged bus still had her key. It turned out that the key in the glove box had been left there by a former driver.

Lessons Learned

What’s noteworthy about these stories is that except for the possible exception of the bus stolen from the Washington school district, the keys were left inside each vehicle, giving the thieves easy access to them. The rising number of school bus thefts is a prime example of why you should secure keys, implement a process to create a verifiable audit trail and educate employees on the ramifications of leaving keys unattended.

As a result of the thefts, most of the school districts experienced monetary damages (all but one of the stolen vehicles were crashed). In addition, the schools were forced to do damage control for their reputations and potentially breached the trust of the community, particularly in the case of the school that had a bus stolen by a sexual predator. And had there been any deaths or injuries involved in these incidents, the districts could have faced lawsuits as well.  

For more about the role of key control in school security, read this post

Friday, May 15, 2015

Small Dealership Has Entire Inventory of Keys Stolen

Used cars
A small used car dealership owner in Grand Island, NE woke up to one of the worst Christmas gifts imaginable one morning late in December. During the night, thieves had accessed the dealership through an unlocked bathroom window and stolen every set of keys — 42 in total — before taking a 2001 Ford Taurus and a 2001 Dodge Ram pickup from the lot.

The thieves returned the next night and took a 1997 GMC pickup. Within a week, all three vehicles were recovered along with half of the stolen keys, but the dealership still faced the liability and inconvenience of not having the keys to the rest of its inventory. Without the keys, the dealership was limited on what vehicles it could sell from its lot.

An electronic key control system could have not only kept the dealership's vehicles safe but also given the owner the peace of mind that he would be able to continue business as usual in the event of an attempted robbery.

To keep keys out of the wrong hands, dealerships should consider using an electronic key control system that uses secure drawers that can only be accessed by approved users via a password, biometric fingerprint scanner or key fob.

Ideally, the system should also have a full range of reports as well as the option for authorized users to monitor the system anywhere, anytime using a standard Internet connection. This capability allows users to see when keys were checked out and who took them even when they're not at the machine.

Learn more about keeping your dealership's assets secure from our post "Tighten Your Dealership's Key Control to Help Secure Your Vehicles."

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Burglary Ring Targets Property Offices for Master Keys

Home robberyMaster keys are golden tickets to thieves. Whether at hotels or apartment complexes, thieves have repeatedly targeted master keys to gain access to multiple rooms, apartments or condos.

A group of thieves had those lucrative prospects in mind when they broke into several apartment and condo offices around Tacoma, WA to steal the properties' master keys and use them to access residents' homes and mailboxes throughout the first three months of 2015.

The thieves also stole rent checks from the offices along with personal documents, tax returns, credit cards, checks, driver's licenses and bank statements from the homes and apartments. Police had identified more than 50 victims at the time of making three arrests connected with the burglaries in early April and said the group was responsible for hundreds of robberies.

Keep your master keys safe with an electronic key control system that protects your property's keys in a secure drawer or cabinet. This allows you to enforce authorization methods, such as providing a password or a fingerprint, to access keys. Every transaction by the user should be logged and recorded in reports so you know exactly who has checked out keys and when they took them.

As an extra layer of security, consider a system with a built-in or attachable camera that can take pictures or record videos of anybody attempting to access the system. This will enforce accountability on authorized users while simultaneously discouraging unauthorized access.

An electronic key management system can also help you with day-to-day functions in your property's office such as tracking packages, prioritizing and tracking work orders and entering prospect and resident data into your records.

An electronic key control system can do more than keep thieves at bay. To learn more, read our post "The Everyday Advantages of Apartment Key Control."

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Police Recover Three Stolen Cars After Dealership Break-in

When a sheriff's deputy discovered shattered glass and several key fobs scattered on the floor of an Oregon dealership in March, it was a nightmare scenario for Buick GMC of Beaverton. Three cars and several key fobs had been stolen.

Pegboard with keysA deputy pulled over a 2015 GMC Yukon for a suspected DUI the morning after the theft and found several key fobs and a dealership sales sticker in the vehicle.

The discovery led to the investigation of the dealership and the realization that the car had been stolen along with a 2014 Jeep Cherokee and a 2015 Chrysler 300. The Cherokee was recovered in another suspected DUI stop the same morning and the 300 was soon found abandoned at a construction site.

Limit your liability and keep your keys from falling into the wrong hands during a break-in by implementing a secure method of key control, such as an electronic system.

An electronic key control system allows keys to be tagged and added to secure drawers or cabinets as soon as the vehicles arrive on the lot. Access can be controlled with computer passcodes, a biometric fingerprint scanner and/or a proximity card reader. Alerts can be sent immediately to a cell phone or email address if there is an unauthorized attempt to access the keys.

Find out more ways you can keep track of your keys with an electronic key control system from our post "Do You Know Where Your Keys Are?"