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Protect Your Home Or Business From Lock Bumping

The videos on lock bumping are all over the Internet and on local news stations throughout the country. It is becoming common knowledge how to bypass a lock using the method called lock bumping. The spread of this information is causing great concern for individual safety and security for home and business.As a security professional, I am often asked, “Can people really open locks that easy?” “Should I be concerned?” “What can I do about it?” and “What do you recommend?”The method of lock bumping using bump keys has been around for many years. The recent spread of information on lock bumping across the Internet and the news has increased the use of this technique for illegal purposes, and now requires individuals to take precautionary action to protect themselves and their property.In addition to the security concern, there is an insurance issue. If your home or business is burglarized and there are no signs of forced entry, does your insurance cover the loss?

If the method used to break into your home or business was the lock bumping method, the signs of forced entry would likely be minimal and might not even be visible.To protect your home or business from lock bumping you need to upgrade your lock cylinders. This may be done by replacing your locks with bump proof locks, or you may be able to replace just the lock cylinder. Residential grade doorknobs are not designed to use different cylinders. If you have doorknob locks, you must upgrade to a commercial grade knob lock and include a high security cylinder. We highly recommend installing a deadbolt lock for added protection. Doorknob locks are easier to bypass than deadbolt locks. If you have deadbolts on your house you may be able to replace just the cylinder itself and keep the existing deadbolt. To determine if this is an option, removed the deadbolt from the door and see if the lock cylinder is held in with a screw from the backside of the lock. If it is, then you will be able to replace the existing cylinder with a high security or bump proof cylinder. Most residential grade deadbolts do not have a removable cylinder.

The solution is to purchase a new deadbolt with the bump proof high security cylinder. The standard holes existing on most doors for deadbolts is a 2-1/8 inch diameter hole with a 1 inch hole coming in from the edge of the door. To insure that the replacement lock you purchase will fit your door, the critical thing is to measure what is called “backset”, which is the distance from the edge of the door to the center of the lock. This distance is typically 2 3/8 inches or 2 3/4 inches. While some locks have adjustable backsets, others have fixed backsets, so it is important that you have this measurement when purchasing your new locks with bump proof, high security cylinders. Most high security or bump proof locks have some type of restricted key duplication. This provides the homeowner or business owner the benefit of no unauthorized key duplication. Typically the purchaser will be provided with some form of identification or registration card that would have to be shown in order to have keys duplicated. High security keys usually cannot be copied at your local hardware store.

It is best to order all of the keys that you need with the purchase of your new locks. When ordering your bump proof locks, have all of the keys numbered. Maintain a list of who has keys to your home or business. As long as all keys can be accounted for, there is no need to change the locks. This is a nice feature when you have to provide temporary access for someone to your home or business. Once the key is returned to you, you know that no one has copied a key and your home or business remains secure.The cost to upgrade your locks to prevent lock bumping is more than the cost of your average lock, but it is a worthwhile investment to maintain the security of your home or business. The cost is small when compared to a denied claim for loss from your insurance company!For your safety and security at home and for your business, I recommend that you install bump proof locks. With all the information about lock bumping on the Internet it is important that you stay one step ahead of criminals instead of one step behind them.

Dave Jabas

Lock expert with 30 years experience, specializing in door hardware, door locks and bump proof locks for residential and commercial applications.