Monday, April 7, 2008

Lock Bumping--Home Security Concern or Urban Legend?


I've recently come across the phenomenon of "lock bumping" (also known as "key bumping") as a method used by thieves to break into locks. At our friendly, local locksmith, they even had handouts about lock bumping and what you can do about it. A quick internet search demonstrated, however, that it might be more urban legend than widespread problem.

Lock bumping is real, but the question is how prevalent is it. But, you are probably wondering first what the heck lock bumping is. It is a method that allows a lockpicker to easily crack nearly all common door locks. They just figure what caliber of key a lock takes, and then get a "bump key" or "999 key", which is locksmith lingo for a key with all the notches cut to the maximum depth of 9. The lockpicker inserts the key and taps it in a certain manner with a mallet to crack the lock and enter. Videos demonstrating the ease of this method have flown across the internet and local news stations like wildfire. You can check one out right here.

But many officials claim it is impossible to know whether a lock has been bumped or not and whether this is a widespread method. Few thieves have been caught i the act, and it leaves little evidence. In fact, a door that has been bumped and a door that has simply been left unlocked will look almost the same. The excellent urban legend website Snopes.com has a great report on lock bumping. They say it would cause a lot of noise, which would stop most thieves from using the method.

Should you be overly worried about lock bumping. Perhaps, if there has been a proven pattern of lock bumping in your neighborhood. Home security is always an issue, though, and you can always consider a a more secure lock. And, of course, if you have a home alarm system, you are already one step ahead. Consult with your own friendly local locksmith. Or let me know if you have any questions. I'm always happy to help. I can be reached at 510-547-5970 x57 or MSmartt@jps.net.

3 comments:

beachdude said...

Venisse Quellette said...

It's scary to think that even 10-year-old kids can do it. Improving your home security is a must, since you can't put a price on your family's safety. One way of preventing lock bumping is changing your door knobs to a higher quality. You can even opt for electronic locks.

Jade Graham said...

This means if an intruder is nearby, their movement will likely prompt a security light to turn on, The Lock Guy Pty Ltd