What is Lock Bumping and How to Prevent It

how to prevent lock bumpingAs criminals continue to become craftier perpetrators, the general population finds themselves needing to stay apprised of the latest craze in the criminal underground. One of the more recent techniques offenders use to gain access to your home or business is via lock bumping.

A specialty key, called a bump key or rapping key, must be used to carry out the task but once obtained they can be used on any cylindrical or dead bolt locking system to gain unauthorized entry.

Statistics on Lock Bumping

Nearly two-thirds of all break-ins show no sign of forced entry. The primary cause is poor home security habits like leaving doors and windows unlocked, but lock bumping is also a contributing factor. Unfortunately, bump keys aren’t very difficult to get your hands on and with enough experience, a person can unlock your doors in under 20 seconds—how’s that for a cause for alarm?

What’s more is that 90% of standard household locking systems are vulnerable to being bumped. Older homes may pose more of a problem for the criminal in question, but chances are the locks on your home have been changed multiple times throughout the years as people have moved in an out and you’re probably outfitted with a newer, more susceptible, variety.

How does a bump key work?

To understand how a bump key works, you must first understand how a standard lock and key system function. Each cylindrical lock has pins inside which will only unlock the door if the matching key is inserted causing them all to perfectly align. The teeth of the key are essentially the code to unlocking your doors.

The teeth on a bump key are of identical height and will easily slip into the majority of key holes. Once inserted, the key is tapped with a hammer or other instrument to jigger the pins inside the lock into alignment. Once they’ve lined up, the door will open with ease.

Preventing Lock Bumping

Lower your chances of a break in by safeguarding your home or business from the growing popularity of lock bumping. One option is to call your local Boston area locksmith and requesting they modify your existing lock sets. Having them add security pins will make it much more difficult to bump, but not impossible.

If you’re after a higher level of security, you can always replace your standard system with a high security key set. This variety of lockset requires a properly milled key to engage a sidebar within the lock in order to open. Even if a bump key is used and is able to align all the pins, if the sidebar is not engaged the lock will not give way and bump keys are not successful at doing this.

Non-tumbler locks, like electronic locks, are not susceptible to bumping making them the most secure in this regard. Since more sophisticated electronic locks utilize an electrical current to activate the locking mechanism, a bump key is all but useless.

Lock bumping is on the rise, particularly in the Boston area. Don’t wait until you’ve fallen victim to a burglary to upgrade your home or business security measures. Contact Kenny’s Locks to learn more about your options or to get your home rekeyed today!

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