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  • Writer's pictureDavid Miller

Security Tips

Security Information Without Rocket Science (SIWRS) is a series of short articles written by David Miller M.I.S. (SA) who has over 50 years experience of security and door related hardware, panic and exit hardware and access control. David Miller owns the copyright on all the editorial content.

If you wish to copy or disseminate any of the information attachments for training or advising clients or any purpose other than for personal use – please ensure you have written permission from David Miller – to avoid legal costs and high penalties for infringing his copyright.

Please use the links lower down to access PDF documents containing valuable information for improving life-safety and security.

Most housebreakings are as a result of poor security; cheaply made gates and inadequate doors and locks (bought on price), and of opportunistic crime. Go to our locks page for more information. A thief will seize the opportunity to steal when valuables are easy to get to, visible through unsecured windows, left on the seats of cars, or left out in the garden. Thieves may be deterred by lights, dogs, bars, bolts and security patrols, but a determined criminal will find the unlit area, the door that is in poor condition or poorly locked. CCTV cannot protect you – but is useful in gathering evidence after the event.

Business shrinkage is a very polite word for theft, whether on the supplier side by over-invoicing or goods being under-delivered, or whether the company’s own staff and vehicles are being used to perpetrate these crimes after hours. Business can harden the target even during business hours by introducing lock systems with keys that cannot be copied, like Astral Tekno S01 or CISA C3000 T06. Plan the lock system to allow access only on a need-to-have basis, and by using access control to define who may enter each area of the business. Master-keyed systems should be custom-designed to suit the unique needs of the specific business. Biometric access control using fingerprints or facial ID is very much safer than tags or cards which can be copied. Facial ID is valuable tool against COVID-19 because it is a no-touch device.


The success of the so-called Crow Bar break-ins is mostly due to the fact that the public and business are buying-down, to save money in the short-term, at a high cost! The result is that criminals using a crow-bar can often break open a gate AND a door in under 30 seconds. They then rely on the delay of the burglar alarm system (usually around 60 seconds or more before it generates an alarm) and the fact that armed response will probably take another 2 minutes or more to arrive. These skilled thieves work in teams – after entering, some go left, some go right, and in a matter of minutes they have stolen the most valuable items – before any reaction has taken place - if you are lucky enough not to be home when this takes happens! The ONLY protection against this sort of housebreaking is to harden the target by fitting much heavier gates and locks, as well as better doors, Security Hinges and locks. These criminals do not have the time to fiddle, and your objective must be to slow down any attempt at a break-in. This will (sadly) deflect these criminals to a neighbouring property that is less secure and can be more quickly broken into.

David Miller and The Lockshop or their agents accept no liability for consequential or other losses of any nature at any time, from any cause whatsoever arising out of the use of this information – which is of a general nature.


Cylinder locks are always the preferred choice because of the flexibility of being able to change the cylinders and keys as your needs change. The cylinder ( sometimes referred to as a barrel) is the removable and changeable part of the lock – sold separately. They vary vastly in price – from cheap imports to high security cylinders, and – as always – you will get what you pay for!

Cylinder locks – the preferred choice

An interesting look at Cylinder locks. Are the locks on your external doors safe? Can your keys be bought over-the-counter? A cylinder lock will overcome this problem.


A brief explanation on why and how existing lock cylinders can be changed – to lock-out old keys.

Cylinder patterns: View a leaflet showing the different Cylinder patterns mostly in use in Southern Africa. You can use this information to order replacement cylinders from us.

Making lock cylinders to old keys

A warning of the pitfalls of making cylinders and padlocks to suit old existing keys

Cylinder deadlocks for additional security

Why use a deadbolt? View Deadlocks for additional security to understand the use of deadlocks – mostly used for additional security and/or to strengthen a door that already has a lock with handles, against attack,

ASTRAL TEKNO S01 High Security Cylinders

Cylinders, padlocks, electric locks etc – CISA quality – all using a flat double sided key. Extra cylinder or locks can be ordered to operate on your key. They are available to suit most locks used in South Africa. Extra keys are only made on written authority and ID.

CISA C3000 T06 High Security Cylinders

Who has keys to your Premises ? This document looks at the many security benefits of fitting CISA C3000 T06 Lock Cylinders. They are available to suit most locks used in South Africa. Extra keys are only made on written authority and ID.

CISA TSP 736 and SP 116, SP 122 and SP 136 have been discontinued by CISA Italy. We no longer sell new systems using these keys, but continue to make these keys on written authority as before. We can offer limited service on these products - depending on the availability of spare parts for this range.


(Afrikaans = Insteek slot) These locks gain strength and protection from the fact that they are morticed INTO the door thereby being largely concealed (except for the handles and keyhole or cylinder), and protected from the weather. The lock on your bedroom door is most likely a mortice lock – usually of the lever (usually less secure) type.

Mortice-latch locks and strikers

A look at the principle of using morticed cylinder latch locks for automated locking and electric release

Sliding Door Locks

An article about locking sliding doors with hook-locks.


Master-keying or keying-alike will reduce your key burden

Have one key for all doors. Read Master keying & Keying Alike for a clear explanation of the differences and benefits. Besides the convenience of knowing that the key in your hand always fits – having one key can be a life-saver in an emergency1

Panic-bars with vertical rods

A one page document explaining why vertical rods offer better security than Panic latches

Magnetic locks pros and cons

An overview of the Pros and Cons of magnetic locks by David Miller

Shrinkage from Stores

Did you know that designated fire escapes in buildings in South Africa which have a ‘designed occupancy of 25 or more persons’ are required by law to have one or more outward-opening doors as fire escapes or emergency exits, through which occupants can escape to safety in an emergency? This documents shows some of the fundamental solutions for use on fire escape doors. For more options see our Alarmed Panic and Exit Hardware section.


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