Most people have never heard of the term lock bumping. They have heard of the term lock picking where a slick criminal uses a paper clip to disable a lock. The term lock-picking may also conjure up images of an escape artist such as Chris Angel or Harry Houdini shackled by multiple locks, locked in a cage then opening all the locks and escaping to freedom. Lock bumping is the fastest technique used by criminals to enter a residence without notable signs of forced entry. For homeowners and apartment dwellers that lock the doors and forget it, the ease of entry by a semi-skilled burglar is almost comparable to the door being left unlocked. This is so because of the simple physics of a pin and tumbler lock system. The inside of the lock mechanism contains a number of cylinders. These cylinders are called pins. When a key that has the corresponding cuts or grooves is inserted, the pins are pushed back and the lock opens. This mechanism of locks has been used for many thousands of years. The very antiquated nature of this system is what makes these locks vulnerable.
Lock bumping utilizes a key that has been filed down and will fit any lock of corresponding size. The key is placed in the lock and tapped with a blunt object such as a mallet or screwdriver. Kinetic energy travel through the key and knocks the pins out of place and when the key is turned at the right time the lock opens. This technique is so simple that a small child can master it. Burglars are increasingly looking for homes that don’t have alarm systems that they can quickly enter and steal items which may never be quickly discovered such as credit card bills and personal information. When a home has been violated through lock-bumping it is difficult for a home owner to have their claims paid by the insurance company because it looks like negligence.
Simple solutions to lock-bumping are to install locks that do not use a pin and tumbler system such as keyless entry locks and to install a home security system and surveillance system.
Jim McNeely, Life Safety Specialist
Power Home Technologies, #1 Vector Home Security Dealer