You use ’em every day, maybe to start your car, get into your house, or catch the attention of infants, cats, and full-grown adults with short attention spans: we’re talkin’ about keys. And as with everything else we interact with on a daily basis, we’ve collectively come up with a number of creative ways to use and protect our keys.
Well, many of these key tricks you’ve learned are wrong — flat-out “hack” disasters that put you and your keys in more danger than had you never pulled the jinglers from your pocket. So grab your keys — if you can find them. We’ve got the truths behind a few of the most common key-related myths…
Quick, where are your keys? If you’re out and about, they’re probably in your front left pocket, or maybe in a purse slung around your shoulder. They’re almost always at arms’ reach — and that’s why people think they’re handy tools.
For instance, spend time listening to martial arts gurus or combing internet forums, and you’ll learn about using your keys in self-defense. Stick ’em between your fingers like so, you’ll hear, and keep assailants at bay with ease. But that’s key myth number one.
The logic behind this myth, of course, is that, with the keys between your fingers Wolverine style, any punch you pull off will be ten times more impactful. A punch stings, but a punch accompanied with the blunt end of a key hurts. But again, it’s not a good idea.
X-Men: The Last Stand
There are half-a-dozen reasons why it isn’t, the most prominent being that hitting someone with key claws can cut up your hands pretty good. Just imagine your grip slipping and the key creating the world’s worst paper cut.
If you cut your hands on your keys or don’t have a good grip on them, that only heightens the possibility that you might drop them. If there’s truly an assailant coming at you, this would not be the best time for that.
Because besides having to then pick your keys up, you couldn’t run away — doing so would leave them at the feet of your assailant. Still, there are two ways your keys can defend you in a pinch (if, for some reason, you can’t run).
The first? Attach ’em to a lanyard. If you have to use your keys as a weapon, at least you can swing them like a medieval mace, letting you stay out of your assailants’ arm range.
The Daily Northwestern
If lanyards aren’t really your thing, but you still find yourself in a life-or-death situation only keys can bail you out of, try holding them in your palm with the neck sticking straight down — like so.
Now all you have to do is mash the key into a soft, fleshy bit of any attacker to keep them at bay — might we suggest the neck? Key myth number two offers a way to protect yourself, too — but not from an assault.
This myth suggests that sticking your car keys in the freezer or microwave will protect you from a certain kind of carjacker that intercepts the signal from car keys to open your car’s door and start the engine — no hot-wiring required.
While signal jacking sounds like a wacky concept made up by old farts that don’t really understand technology, the cybersecurity head at Blackberry, Campbell Murray, right, suggested it’s a very real problem.
It’s “the easiest way to gain entry to or otherwise steal a high-end car,” Campbell told The WashingtonPost. “A quick search on YouTube for ‘car stolen key amplification’… will return hundreds of CCTV clips where the attack is being undertaken.”
Because modern key fobs are essentially always putting out signals, waiting to get near your car’s doors, thieves with a relay can capture the signal and use it while your keys are hanging on a hook by your front door!
But any signal-stealing tech, the composer of key myth two suggested, would be thwarted by thick metal fridges and microwaves — signals can’t get in there. However, this isn’t the best way experts suggest to protect your keys.
According to Michael Calkins, AAA’s manager of technical services, refrigerators and microwaves can affect the electrical components in your keys; if you’re truly worried, he added, just take the battery out of your key fob when you’re not using it.
He offered another solution, too: aluminum foil. While it might be inconvenient, wrapping your keys in leftovers protectors can mitigate the potential of a signal relay attack. But ultimately?
Michael admitted it’s not worth the effort to protect your keys, as it’s impossible to know how many carjackings have transpired this way (and it could be very few). You’re better off taking preventative measures that stop criminals from targeting you all together…
Luckily, Indianapolis police officer Candi Perry lent a hand to the local news channel and explained how to do just that. She shared some of the signs criminals might look for before striking a target.
Drew Daudelin / WFYI Indianapolis
Officer Perry’s advice would come in handy for anyone, from the frailest grandma to the strongest man. She was especially careful to show how criminals might take advantage of you in everyday situations.
With cameras rolling, Officer Perry started giving her safety advice in the parking lot of a store. Unless you’re a complete shut-in, you can’t avoid grocery shopping — and parking lots are some of the most common key-related crime scenes. Signals for days.
Say you’ve loaded your cart up with groceries and you’re wheeling them back to your SUV parked in one of the first rows of the lot. Your purse or backpack is sitting in the front of the cart, right where you can see it. Only, it’s not as safe as you might think…
While the front of the cart may feel like a secure place for your belongings, it doesn’t take any sleight of hand to nab a purse there. Luckily, Officer Perry showed how to protect your stuff from this sort of grab and run.
Fox 4 News / YouTube
According to Officer Perry, keeping your belongings safe is as simple as using a bit of forethought. Carry your purse or bag in front of you, keep your keys in your hand, and put your cell phone away.
Officer Perry offered another tip to those crossing parking lots: park by the cart return. Chances are, these are the biggest hubs within the lot itself, and they see constant foot traffic from shoppers returning their carts. No thief would dare venture here.
When you get home from the store, you might have a garage to pull into so you’re safe and sound. But Officer Perry had a warning: criminals might see the garage door as the perfect cover for sneaking into a home. Don’t believe it? Think of it this way…
Garage doors aren’t exactly notorious for their silent operating, and the loud whirring of gears in motion could provide the perfect cover for even the most heavy-footed burglar. Similarly, intruders can utilize vehicle blind spots for easy cover.
Officer Perry made a suggestion that would help to spot garage intruders. All you’d need to do, if you felt so inclined, was tilt the side mirrors toward the ground. You’d be able to catch anyone lurking in your car’s blind spots.
Alright, so you made it out of the parking lot without issue. Your garage door closed behind you and no unwanted visitors slipped in under the cover of a blind spot. You can rest easy, right? Well…
Once you’re inside, there are a few anti-intruder tips you can utilize to give your home extra security. For starters, keep your windows locked; that’s because it’s easy for criminals to see when they’re open and unlocked.
Fox 4 News / YouTube
How often do you think about the patterns in which you turn off your lights every night? Probably never, right? Chances are, you turn off your bedroom light last, and if a criminal was watching, they’d know precisely which room you were sleeping in!
Officer Perry offered a solution to that, too. If you leave a few lights on every night — and maybe different ones each night — there won’t be any completely obvious patterns to pick up on. How very Waltons series finale!
Still, you can end up the victim of a break-in even if you think you’re taking all the right precautions. For example, do you stick little rods in sliding glass door tracks or windows so that burglars can’t open them? Never use a hollow one. Here’s why…
Fox 4 News / YouTube
All it takes is a little tool—a flattened out coat-hanger, for instance—and a bit of patience to weasel the jamming rod out of the track through the tiniest gap. Phew! Now it was time for Officer Perry’s last two tips…
Fox 4 News / YouTube
Some doors don’t have a frame that covers up narrow gap between the door and the wall. Possible thieves can use that gap to see where you are, which may not seem so bad on the surface. They’d know you were home and they’d simply flee, right?
Fox 4 News / YouTube
If your would-be attacker watched a lot of action movies in his heyday, he may be tempted to kick in the door. When you check to see who’s outside, he’ll see you through the crack and deliver a swift kick, sending the door into your face.
Officer Perry also informed viewers of a consequence of social media activity. If you use Facebook and you RSVP that you’re going to an event, guess what? Criminals will know when and how long you’ll be away. So maybe just click “interested” next time.
Even the most cautious among us could spruce up on safety tips every now and again, especially when dealing with life or death consequences. Pay attention to each one of Officer Perry’s tips — they could save your life!
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