Lock Bumping – Why is it Important to Us?
I grew up in a small town in the 1940s and I don’t ever remember ever feeling a need to lock our doors. First of all, most of us were poor, so we didn’t have a lot of valuable laying around for the taking. But we live in a different world now.
We have had 4 burglaries in our neighborhood since July. Two of them were directly behind our house. So I had already been thinking of ways to keep our home safe. I ordered some door alarms that would deter someone from breaking in. We put in security lights. And I was feeling pretty good until I read the article about Lock Bumping.
I never cease to be amazed at all the different methods a thief will use to gain entry into your home. I thought I had heard everything. Do you even know what Lock Bumping is? Well, I sure didn’t, so I started doing some research to know exactly what it is and how it works.
Now if you are not familiar with it, you need to be. The fact is that most of our houses have 2 to 3 doors that have locks. That probably doesn’t even include PVC doors, garage doors and storage shed doors that are secured only by cylinder locks.
What Exactly is Lock Bumping?
In a nutshell, using this technique, criminals use a specially-cut key which is inserted and knocked on, causing all the pin tumblers in the lock to split and the lock opens. As I Divine Locks understand it, it works best on cylinder locks. Most older homes are very vulnerable because cylinder locks are used. Unfortunately, that includes most of us. And here’s the crazy part, there are many “how to” videos on YouTube. So anyone with a computer has access to Lock Bumping.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
So how does the average homeowner protect themselves? Here is some important information to have to make sure our homes are safe..
- The only real answer is to ensure that all your cylinder locks are of good quality -minimum of 5-6 pins and preferably some kind of sidebar mechanism, and are sold as bump proof. This way you will be covering yourself against not only lock bumpers but also those who have a little more skill and may try to pick the lock in other ways.
- There is a product called Pickbuster. It is a solution which is squirted into your cylinder locks and makes them safe from lock bumping. It coats the pins inside the lock and prevents them bouncing when an attempt is made to bump the lock.
- Check the locks to all the entrances to your house. Are they all cylinder locks? If so, consider changing them to either a cylinder lock or a lever door lock. A lever lock cannot be bumped.
- If you have to use a cylinder lock replacement, quality is really important. Most manufacturers offer ‘bump proof ‘ cylinder locks and this is an option that you should seriously consider.
- Here’s a scary thought. Most of us have sliding doors or patio doors. These are prime targets for being bumped because often times they are often mass produced and tend to have small poor quality locks. Stats show that over 50% of these kind of doors can be bump locked.
- If you happen to live in an apartment, you probably already know that the locks have been Master keyed, therefore they are easier to ‘bump’ open. The only real solution is to replace them with high quality ‘bump proof’ locks. Granted, it’s an added expense, but which is more expensive, a new lock or a break in?
- Here’s a little known fact. Did you know that factory made doors of any kind tend to be fitted with the same kind of locks? Someone whose business is to steal your personal belongings would know this and be looking for that particular kind of door.
Will the Insurance Company Pay if it’s not Forced Entry?
The answer to that is yes, no and maybe. It depends on the insurance company you are dealing with. However there is a caveat we should be aware of. In order for an insurance company to issue a claim, there has to be evidence of forced entry. When a door is bump locked, it won’t appear to have been tampered with. Even worse, a lot of times the thief leaves the door open when they leave. So then as a home owner you wonder, did I leave the door open? This would appear to be an accident to an insurance company.