Summer vacation time is upon us and so therefore are home burglaries. And let’s face it – with a sluggish economy, disenfranchised law enforcement and the uptick in family travel and vacation during the summer months, one can reasonably presume that the number of home break-ins will increase dramatically during the next several months. From time to time in the upcoming weeks, we will post security tips that we hope will increase your personal security risks and management.
This week we will concentrate on the first usual point of entry – the family home door. Whether it is the front, side or basement door, burglars know how to get inside and to your property.
As if evilly purposed technology isn’t bad enough, the old-fashioned methods of breaking and entry are still widely used by burglars.
A phenomenon known as ‘lock bumping’ is on the rise. It’s a little-known technique that’s fast, simple, and very discreet. It draws far less attention than breaking in a window or tearing down a door. If your cylindrical door lock is one of the more popular brands or models on the market – and 90% of home door locks are cylinder-models and ACME types – you’re vulnerable to this particular type of illegal home entry. Lock-bumping requires a bump key.
What is a Bump Key?
A bump key is a key in which all the cuts are at the maximum depth (999). Bump keys can be cut for standard pin tumbler type locks as well as “dimple” locks. (From lockwiki: A dimple lock is a pin-tumbler-based lock design that uses flat side of the key blade as a bitting area. Cuts on the bitting area resemble dimples, hence the name. This contrasts traditional pin-tumblers that use the edge of the blade as the primary bitting area.)
How is lock bumped?
A key type is determined that fits inside the target lock. In most cases, a particular model of lock will accept all keys from that model because only the teeth of the keys are different. In other words (and as mentioned above), once a burglar has an Acme-model bump key, it could open all other Acme-model locks.
Obtain a bump key. There are two ways to obtain a bump key: one way is buy the type of key for the model lock in question and ask the locksmith to lathe a “999” key, a kind of key where all the valleys are at the deepest possible setting. OR
Cut one’s own bump key. With a copy of the key in question made, a burglar will then use a metal file to create his own bump key. All of the valleys are filed down so that they are even with the lowest point in the teeth.
4Insert the key into the lock, then pull it out one “click,” so it is almost in all the way, but not quite. While pushing or pulling on the edge of the key in the desired turning direction, sharply strike the back end of the key with a solid object such as the back of a screwdriver. If done correctly, the key will turn in the direction it is being pushed or pulled in, and the door can then be unlocked. If not, simply repeat this step until it works or you decide to stop.
In our next mid-week Beacon Bulletin, we will bring you information and videos on how to bump lock-proof your home.Just remember that your personal safety and that of your family is paramount. Whatever knowledge in this area that we may impart, do not back up it with a plan to confront a burglar unless it is absolutely necessary. If a successful entry does occur, hopefully, no one will be home and material possessions are not worth a life.
BNI Operatives; Situationally aware.