The key to a locksmith's secrets

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Locksmith Justin Fankhauser

RACV's Emergency Home Assist tradies see it all. Locksmith Justin Fankhauser has seen a man with water pouring out of his locked house, people in their underwear and the same man three times in a week.

Most people lock themselves out in the morning on the way out to work, or in the evening when they’ve come home. He visits people who have accidentally closed the door behind them in their underwear. Normally by the time he gets there someone has given them some clothes to wear, and they usually aren’t a good fit. He’s even tucked people into bed after a big night out. 

“There’s a million stories. There have been break-ins where the burglar has made themselves a meal. They’ve sat down and taken a pie out of the freezer to heat and eat.”

Apart from helping RACV Emergency Home Assist members when they are locked out, Justin also works to make people’s homes more secure.

“The major things we do are re-keying properties, window locks where people have lost the keys, or adding extra security to people’s homes*,” he says.

Justin knows how to secure a home. His two best tips are to leave shoes outside near the front door and to have the radio or TV on.

“I learnt this from a guy who used to rob houses; these were the two things that made him think twice when he walked onto a property,” he says.

For an extensive list of home security tips, read our Safe as Houses series.

Justin's written a book, Confessions of a Locksmith, which has both funny stories and the best ways to secure your home. He reveals in his book that many security measures don’t need a locksmith’s help.

Justin also has two top tips for not getting locked out. The first is to put a sign reminding you to take your keys on the back of the door. The second is to leave a spare key with a trusted neighbour, family member or friend.

If you do lock yourself out at an odd hour, you might see Justin when he’s attending home emergencies for RACV members. Although he’s the boss at Toplock, he still works after hours and loves it.

“I wouldn’t expect my staff to do something I wouldn’t. I love what I do, every day I love going to work and it’s gratifying to help people out.”

*These services are not considered home emergencies for Emergency Home Assist. Find out the top 10 most common emergencies covered by Emergency Home Assist.