Locker Security Precautions

Up until now, when you closed your Master combination padlock, you may have felt that the contents of your locker were secure inside. Now that you know better, here are some security precautions to follow that will reduce your risk of being a victim of a locker intruder. These precautions are conservative. If the locker is in a fairly secure area, you may not need to be this careful.

1. Avoid storing valuable items in your locker. If you must store valuable items, hide them and plant fake items in the places where a thief is likely to look. For example, for a high school physical education class, you probably have little choice but to store your wallet or purse in your locker. If you must store a wallet, place an old wallet in your pants pocket before going to phys. ed. class, and hide your real wallet in your bookbag, which you store in your locker. If you must store a purse, keep a fake purse in your locker, in plain view, and hide your real purse in your bookbag. The old wallet or purse may contain a few dollars and some cancelled credit cards, so the thief won't know it is fake until later, too late to find your real wallet or purse.

2. To protect against vandals, make copies of critical class notes and store them at home, so the back-up copy can be used if a vandal destroys the originals.

3. When you return to your locker, do not assume that, just because it is locked, it hasn't been opened. Check for missing items, especially credit cards or money. A thief may be busy running up charges on a credit card that you don't even know is missing.

4. After closing your combination lock, always spin the dial at least two turns. (If you don't, a thief can easily get the second and third numbers of your combination, and then work out the first number by trial and error.)

5. Dial the "reverse combination" to confuse observers. On a Master combination lock, turn the dial left two turns and stop 6 marks before the "normal" first number is reached, example stop at 16 if the first number is 22. Then, right one turn and stop 3 marks before the normal second number is reached, example stop at 13 if the second number is 10. Then left to your last number.

6. Use a more secure lock,. For school lockers, school administrators may allow you to use your own padlock as long as you provide them with the combination or a duplicate key. The disadvantage, if your locker is in a group of lockers secured by standard locks, is that it may be singled out for forced entry because, "if it has a secure lock, it must contain something of value."

We highly recommend using a more secure padlock for a self storage locker. People rarely know the other renters at a self service storage facility. A thief can pass for the locker renter and manipulate the dial on an ordinary combination lock to open the locker. On the other hand, if the thief uses bolt cutters to force open the locker, he or she may attract attention, and will need to replace the lock with an "identical" one to avoid arousing suspicion by leaving behind an unlocked locker. Even if no one sees the thief actually removing the articles, a locker missing a lock may be reported in time for management to get a description of the vehicle and person who removed the articles, from other people who used the facility that day, or from security camera tapes. After the thief opens your locker by manipulation, he or she can remove belongings, take them to his or her vehicle, relock your locker with the same lock, drive away, and nothing will look unusual. You won't know anything is gone until the next time you open your locker and find things missing.

Click here for our security warnings concerning four digit resetable combination locks.

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