It’s a sad but true fact that about 3.7 million home invasions happen each year in the United States.
Burglars use a variety of ways to gain access to your home. Just one is lock bumping, and it may be the most surprising one of all. While many people have heard of lock picking, lock bumping is not as well known.
What is a bump key?
Lock bumping involves using a bump key, which is a specially manipulated key to pick a lock. The technique has recently gained popularity among thieves due to the increased media attention and how-to online videos.
Bump keys are incredibly effective when used correctly. An intruder simply inserts a bump key into a keyhole and then taps a hammer or screwdriver. This will bump all the pins inside the lock above the shear line. Once the pins are in position, the tight touch will pop open the lock. All this can be accomplished in just a few seconds.
How to protect your home from being bumped
- Buy the right key. Various lock smiths and law enforcement officials state that bump keys can unlock 90 percent of the keys in America. Professional lock manufacturers like Medeco, Schlage, Miwa, Assa and Kaba have versions of bump-proof locks. If your doors don’t have one or you’re unsure if they do, it’s a good idea to consider investing in new locks.
- Reinforce existing locks. An option that’s more inexpensive than replacing your locks is replacing the strike plate. (That’s the metal plate that's mounted on the doorjamb and into which the lock bolt slides.) You can buy a new strike plate for about $10.
- Use patent-protected keys. They help guard against unauthorized duplication of your keys.
- Always lock your door. Lots of people like to brag that they feel no need to lock their doors. That’s a big mistake—it only makes it that much easier for a thief to enter your home.
To protect your home to the best of your ability, check out other important tips to prevent burglaries.
Also talk to an insurance professional like an Erie Insurance agent in your community. They can help make sure your home has the right homeowners insurance in case a burglary happens despite your best efforts to prevent one.