June 21, 2012

Sometimes old news makes the best reading. Ken Dunckel wrote a letter to the editor in our August, 1992 issue where he complained about locksmiths who do safe work. His argument was that only the "consecrated few" should be doing safe work and "authorized locksmiths" must be willing to turn over their safe change keys to these safe men and never touch a safe again. Meanwhile, the "consecrated few" safe men would agree to never unlock another car. From the tone of the Dunckel letter it is hard to decide whether he was joking, serious, or trying to make some kind of point.

Mr. Dunckel is well known in the safe business. He has written safe articles for Locksmith Ledger and other publications. His original complaint was that few locksmiths took the time to write to him about his safe articles, while at the same time locksmiths would write a flood of letters to complain about police opening cars or hardware stores who offered change combination services.

I cannot sypathize much with Mr. Dunckel about his empty mailbox. Safe lock service is an interesting but minor part of most locksmith businesses. The problem with safes is that they don't malfunction very often. Furthermore, hundreds of different safe lock designs have been invented over the years and an article on servicing one single model may never be of use to most readers.  

If Mr. Dunckel was seriously trying to separate safe men and locksmiths, I don't agree with that either. People working in the security industry may wear many different hats, but in my opinion physical security products encompass everything except fire and burglary alarms. Some people may even differ with that, but at least it provides a starting point for discussion.

Each segment becomes weaker if we try to divide the security field into little pieces. Some of those who have contacted me refer to access control people as invaders who will put us out of business. We are all in this game together and people selling electronic security would not be in business if the public was not willing to pay for their services. They are us and we are them. It may be difficult to blend the pieces at the moment, but in a few years the       homogenous mixture will produce a stronger security industry for all.