There have been a series of break-ins and thefts in our neighborhood recently. There is no set of signs or events that seem to point to the source of the increase. My wife said it best while she was talking to a friend. The conversation went something like...
Wife: Our HOA has been sending out notifications about break-ins recently.
Friend: Oh wow, that's no good!
Wife: The fact is that it happens everywhere, crime does not have a place or time it's just always happening.
That's so true. We know that we should not walk through this life in fear but we also know we don't need to check our brains at the metaphorical door that could be kicked in either.
The truth about break-ins
Were you bothered by those statistics? I was too. Were you surprised? I wasn't. It's easy to see things like this happening around us. So now what? Head for the hills, move, hide in a cave? Nope, remember "crime doesn't have a time or a place."
A little perspective
After pastoring a para-church in Portland, OR for convicted felons, homeless, etc... our friends in the congregation over the years explained how easy it was to break-in to places in detail. They made it sounds simple, lacking any real effort at all. I was dumbfounded. Having grown up on the east side of Fort Worth, TX I saw crime all the time as a kid. It was a terrible part of town and we couldn't get out of it. I remember coming home one day from church watching a shady character leap from our house window and run off with whatever valuables we might've actually had - it was scary having to deal with not feeling safe as a child.
Fast forward to October 2018 (now living in Texas). Our friends around the neighborhood began posting videos of people breaking into their homes.
I recounted how I felt when I was a child.
I ordered a Haven Connect lock. Not out of fear but out of pragmatism and duty to my family. We resolved that we were going to be smart and safe. You see, I did the whole 3 inch screws in the deadbolt plated on the frame but I knew practically that would still fail based on the research and videos that I had seen recently. We needed something that was proven and well made.
A bit on the company
On September 24, 2014, a Tennessee company named Haven launched a kickstarter. I remember wanting to back the project but never did. Later, after the kickstarter was finished (with funding unfortunately unsuccessful), I considered a preorder after seeing a fella named Zeus lay waste to a door protected by a haven lock. I just didn't appreciate the value and importance of what they were offering.
They are based in Tennessee and their CEO, Alex Bertelli, is a decorated veteran, and is a guy who genuinely cares about protecting our families. They employ skilled Tennesseans to craft the locks that keep the bad guys out and they give back to our warriors and their families by supporting the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF).
They not only make products for residential and businesses but they have an incredible product to help protect children at schools as well.
You can read more about the company on their website but know they have a heart and a passion for keeping friends and family safe and they have the track record to prove it.
While the install was simple and straightforward I did have some problems. I submitted a ticket and tweeted the company explaining things after my lock failed to engage. It was Friday, I expected to see an email sometime in the middle of the following week.
Do you remember my comments about how much the company cares for our family's safety? The phone rang not an hour or two later and it was Alex, the CEO asking if I wouldn't mind troubleshooting the lock with him. After rolling through a handful of different approaches, Alex said, "I get a new one out to you rigth away."
That's attention, that's standing behind every product you make, and that's genuinely caring about the people you're helping through your products.
It turns out the issue wasn't with the device at all, just with my mindset.
What I mean is, when putting the six steel screws into the plate I was a bit liberal with how tight I tightened the screws. If any of y'all have perused any of my past builds or projects (or are familiar with my tendency to gold-plate things: see FutureStack talk for more details) you'll know that I have an "If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing" mindset. My fault! I imagine the author of the install guide never would've anticipated my need to push products to their edge. I reached out to Alex again and true to his character he simply said "no worries we'll update the docs with a note to not over tighten, we want to make sure your family is safe."
The pros & hopeful changes
These are simply my opinions on my experience with the Haven Connect. I wasn't paid to say these things or been influenced outside of my experience with the people behind these devices and the device itself.
- The people - they care, a lot! (just read above)
- You can tell the product is high quality the minute you put your hands on it. I even felt it would be effective as a weapon to swing at any intruder - it felt strong and heavy.
- Setup (once I backed off my super powered install) was super simple, 10 minutes, possibly less.
- The directions were clear and concise
- When the lock is armed no one will be coming through the door, I mean no one. I have seven kids (4 boys) and they stop for nothing - except this lock.
- The Bluetooth connectivity rivals my August lock. It's fast and responsive.
- The app (iphone) is super simple to use and setup
- The manual arm and disarm is super handy and easy to use
- It holds a charge for about 3 months and takes roughly 6 hours to get a full charge
- Did I mention, when the lock is armed - no one is coming in...
- The charger for the device is proprietary. It would've been nice to see a micro USB here or something like it. I am bound to lose the plug.
- The admin panel on the device opens facing the door which makes resetting or applying firmware on the device a bit clunky - it would be nice if the plate opened toward the inside of the house.
- There is no internet connected unlocks but it looks like there is something called haven hub (bottom of the page) in the works - this might be a solution for that.
- There are currently no IFTTT recipies for Haven. I need to get coding. It would be nice to add the Haven locks to a lockdown command.
- The locks can seem expensive but they are always running promotions and the device is well worth it in my opinion.
#1 Follow every step laid out in the install guild
By doing this, like running a full charge, syncing with the app, priming the lock, so on you'll have a much more pleasant install experience.
#2 Use a good masonry bit if you're drilling into concrete
Don't go cheap here. I was going into wood flooring, with an inch of concrete board and then into the slab. Use a 5/32" x 4 1/2" masonry drill bit meant for 3/16" concrete screws.
#3 Use a corded/electric drill if you have one
I use a trusty Dewalt 10-amp pistol grip drill. It goes through concrete like butter - remember: if it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.
#4 Wrist tighten the screws
You'll know that you've overtightened the screws if the lock does not stay engaged when locking it using the App. It will simply raise up then close again - too much tension does not allow the locking mechanism to engage.
#5 Check the nylon straps
I missed this one as well. When securing the Haven lock some of the threads from the nylon staps can get caught in the threads of the screws or the straps can get bunched up. Avoid this by making sure all of the nylon segments are evenly distributed and pulled out of the way when installing the screws.
#6 Use the Apps
The mobile app is super simple to use and you can do things like hand out temporary keys or set up household users.
Haven you're the best
Thank you for making a great product Haven! I hope that you continue doing the good work of protecting families everywhere!