Locks and keys protect us and our valuable property in gardens, homes and offices. Good quality locks deter criminals, as thieves prefer to move on to another, easier target. Do not tag keys with a lock's location and report lost or stolen keys to the police immediately. Different types of locks and keys suit each of the items we need to secure.

Keep your home safe with a secure lock and key.

Padlocks and Keys

Padlocks work well when using a chain.

The Collins English Dictionary defines a padlock as, "a detachable lock with a hinged hoop fastened through a ring on the object to be secured." These portable locks come in a variety of sizes and strengths. Secure bicycles, briefcases and outside tools, like ladders with this type of lock. Padlocks using keys are available in two varieties; rekeyable (locksmiths can alter the locking mechanism so it opens with a new, different key) and non-rekeyable. Padlocks secure chains used to lock up movable items, like bicycles, to immovable fixtures, such as the thick metal bars of bicycle parking facilities. Padlocks with a "shrouded shank," (those with a raised area protecting the U-shaped bar) are more difficult to cut with bolt cutters.

Window Locks and Keys

Latching the inside of your window could save you from being robbed.

The States of Jersey Police advise, "Use window locks to prevent easy access to your home. A burglar is less likely to break in if they have to smash a window." Criminals look for a quiet and invisible entry to any property they rob; window locks are a great visual deterrent. If a burglar gains entry to a property via a window, he can often unlock a door from the inside. Varieties of effective window locks include sliding window track locks, sash locks and louver window locks.

Exterior Door Locks and Keys

Deadbolt locks are a popular choice for exterior doors.

Doors that require locks range from a shared bathroom door to the main entrance into a property. In his article, "All About Locks," John D. Wagner of "This Old House," recommends all exterior doors be fitted with deadbolt locks of a American National Standards Institute (ANSI) grade one or two security level. These feature dead-locking latch bolts with heavy duty fittings. These high quality locks prevent criminals from using a credit card to pry open the door. Keys required for opening deadbolt locks from the outside (or inside, once locked) must not be concealed in locations around the door, such as in potted plants or under mats.

Interior Door Locks and Keys

Interior door locks give you privacy.

Their design does not prevent crime or intrusion of a burglar; however, interior door locks ensure privacy. Choose American National Standards Institute (ANSI) grade three-security level locks for interior doors. The best kinds of locks feature an emergency release device, (a hole in the handle's middle to release the lock on the insertion of a hairpin) which are especially useful for homes with small children and elderly family members.