If you're worried about home break-ins in your area, you may want to consider whether or not your home locks are vulnerable to lock bumping. Lock bumping is a method of breaking in using a special kind of key, known as a bump key. Bump keys are designed to allow the bumper to put tension on the pins inside the lock.
While normally the pins should only move when the correct key is inserted, the bump key forces them to move long enough for the bumper to turn the lock. Some researchers say that up to 95% of conventional home and business locks are vulnerable to being bumped. Find out what you can do to protect your locks.
Opt For Non-Tumbler Locks
An easy way to remove your home's vulnerability to lock bumping is to replace your existing locks with locks that can't be bumped. Bumping works on the kinds of locks that rely on pins, which are called tumbler locks. So if you want a lock that absolutely can't be bumped, you need a non-tumbler lock.
There are a variety of non-tumbler lock options, including magnetic, rotating disk, and electronic locks. Electronic locks in particular are becoming more popular for residential use as they offer more security and convenience features as well. For example, many of today's electronic locks don't rely solely on keys for entry. You could opt for a lock with a keypad, RFID access, or Bluetooth access.
There are also biometric locks that require a fingerprint for access, and smart locks that can be controlled via app. Not only will these lock options ensure that your lock is not vulnerable to bumping, they can also allow you to increase security by changing codes or limiting who has access, and eliminate the chance that someone could get into your home by stealing or finding a key.
Have Your Locks Customized
Maybe you like the look of your existing locks, and don't want to make drastic changes to the appearance of your front door. If you're not ready to give up on traditional locks and keys, you still have options. A good locksmith can modify your current locks to make them more secure against the threat of bump.
Remember, bump keys are designed to force the pins inside a tumbler lock. Your locksmith can add custom security pins that are much harder for a bump key too force. While this method doesn't provide total protection against lock bumping, it does make a break-in far less likely. Bumping is an efficient way to get into through a locked door, but it's also a loud and conspicuous process, and burglars like to move quickly. If your lock gives a burglar too much difficulty, they're likely to move on to a less complicated lock rather than continue to try to force it.
Add Extra Barriers
One more way to protect yourself from lock bumpers is to add extra barriers to getting through your door. For example, a simple chain latch lock can't prevent your door lock from being bumped, but it can provide another level of difficulty by preventing the bumper from making it in the door. Not convinced that a chain lock is strong enough to prevent a break in? Consider a single-side deadbolt. It locks from the inside, but has no key access at all from the outside, so there's no way for a burglar to tamper with it.
Of course, the problem with a chain lock or single-side deadbolt is that they only work when you're also inside the house – you can't lock them behind you from the outside. But if you're looking to beef up security on a side or back door, or if you typically enter and leave the home through the garage door instead of the front door, an additional barrier lock might be all you need to protect yourself from lock bumping.
If you're concerned that your locks aren't secure enough or you're interested in a lock upgrade, visit a locksmith in your area to find out about your options. You don't have to live with locks that are vulnerable to lock bumping. Learn more by contacting services like Doug's Lock & Key.