While most people agree on the importance of home security, many are unaware of the very real threat that lock bumping represents. After all, home is supposed to be a place of safety and refuge where outsiders are allowed access on an invitation-only basis and locked doors usually mean that residents are safe from intruders and that valuable possessions are secure. Lock bumping burglars, however, view home security quite differently.
By purchasing a modified or “bumped” key over the Internet or even adding a few strategic grooves to a typical house key, burglars can gain entry to a surprising number of homes by simply inserting that key into a lock and tapping or bumping it a few times with another tool such as a screwdriver. The result of this activity causes the pins inside of the lock to align so that the lock can be turned. Not only does this method offer easy access to a home, but it can often do so without leaving any signs of forced entry. In fact, the art of lock bumping is so fast and effortless on an intruder’s part that a passerby might not recognize that a crime is being committed.
Skilled burglars aren’t the only ones with such unfettered access since the Internet is rich with lock bumping how-to articles and instructional videos. Security experts warn that lock bumping directions are so easy to follow that a 10-year old child can be taught to unlock a door with a bump key in less time than it takes to watch a television commercial.
It is estimated that as many as 90 percent of home locks are vulnerable to lock bumping. With such high numbers, it is likely that anyone reading this can be robbed of their most valuable possessions before reaching the end of this post. Those who are alarmed by such a thought (and everyone should be) can take the following precautions to avoid becoming a victim of a lock bumping burglar:
Install a Home Security System
While burglars can walk into most homes with a simple lock bumping technique, few are willing to do so in the presence of a shrill alarm. Not only is the sound a deterrent, but since many alarms are wired to also alert security personnel, burglars know that authorities are likely in route just minutes after an alarm is triggered. Also, displaying stickers and signposts alerting the public to the fact that a home is being monitored by a home security system is often enough to prompt burglars to search for an easier target.
Let Security Cameras Keep a Close Watch
By installing security cameras to monitor activity around doors and windows, homeowners can feel more secure whether they are at home or away. Most thieves take the time to study a target location before a burglary and the mere presence of video cameras sends a clear message that not only is all movement being recorded, but that the home’s owner takes security seriously enough to think a few steps ahead of would-be thieves. Criminals appreciate easy jobs and, unless they have foreknowledge and are targeting specific items that are unique to a certain location, thieves will likely pass on attempting to burglarize a home equipped with security cameras.
Purchase a Lock Bumping Protector
Luckily, inexpensive do-it-yourself devices, such as the Keypout Lock Bumping/Deadbolt Protector, can be placed on a lock to make it virtually impossible for a burglar to use the lock bumping technique to gain entry to a home. Because they are completely portable, lock bumping protectors are especially good for college students and renters who are not planning on being a long-term resident at a given location and would eventually like to transport their DIY home security devices to a new home.
Change All Door Locks
Because lock bumping is such a popular method used by burglars, certain manufacturers have developed special locks to deter bumping. Some of the most highly recommended brands include the Schlage Primus and Medeco locks. Also, electronic locks or locks that have had ‘mushroom pins’ added to them are less susceptible to bumping than other locks.
Investigate Several Burglary Deterrent Options
In addition to home alarm systems and security cameras, devices such as those that mimic the sounds of a guard dog whenever a person approaches a home or a device that emits moving light beams to suggest that a premises is being protected by a high-tech motion sensor and alarm system can help deter burglars. Do-it-yourself home security measures like these tell burglars that a home is not an easy target. Precautions like these are often intimidating enough to make even the best lock bumping thief think twice about entering a home.
Thieves make an extra effort to learn how to exploit gaps in home security with techniques like lock bumping and other devious tactics. Unfortunately, beyond simple door locking, many homeowners don’t put as much effort into studying the systems and devices that offer protection from these unsavory characters. Many are unaware of the affordability of home security systems and that their professional installation is often unnecessary. People who arm themselves with home security knowledge, however, are often able to think two or three steps ahead of a common thief and, thus, prevent their home from being the next target of a lock bumping burglar.