Has Your Lock Been Bumped?

If you have ordinary locks on your home, you may be at risk for burglary according to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). Thieves have caught on to a new technique that has been used by professional locksmiths for years called “bumping.”

It is easier than traditional lock picking and can be done with little effort.

Find out if your home is at risk.

Bumping 101

Bumping is a technique that involves using a “bump key” or a specially manipulated key to pick a lock without any other tools. When the bump key is inserted into the lock and hit with a plastic mallet, the key bumps open the lock for a brief moment, granting intruders access to your home. The technique has gained popularity among thieves recently due to the increased media attention and how-to videos online.

Protecting your home

Some say that bumping is easy to learn because a thief only needs to obtain a bump key that fits the keyway. However, bumping involves a lot of noise and would be hard to do in an occupied residence, apartment building or close residential area.

“There is a lot of debate about how easy the technique is to learn and how much criminal activity is occurring as a result of bumping,” says Dave Rioux, vice president and manager, Erie Insurance's Corporate Security. “Experts recommend installing higher quality locks in your home as a precaution because they often are protected by patents or other restrictions that are much more difficult to bump.”

What can you do to protect your home? The NCPC recommends:

  • Use high-security locks (Schlage for example)
  • Consult a professional locksmith for advice about your current locks and which ones should be replaced
  • Use patent-protected keys to protect against unauthorized duplication
  • Lock your doors when you are away from your home

For more information about how to secure your homePDF, visit the NCPC Web site at www.ncpc.org.

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