Preventing 'lock bumping' in your home - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Preventing 'lock bumping' in your home

By Dan Wells - bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Have you ever heard of lock bumping?

It's a technique for opening a lock using a specially crafted key, and it may be a burglar's secret weapon in ripping you off.

Lock bumping has become a potential security problem across the country in recent years, but there are things you can do to prevent it from happening.

Every 13 seconds in America, a home is burglarized. Half of those happen during the day, and in more than 50 percent of all residential burglaries, entry is gained through a door.

Locking your door may not keep you safe if those burglars have a bump key.

"Bump keys have been around for 50 years. "It's been a technology that locksmiths have used and bad guys have used to by-pass locks," said Bob Alvis with Larry's Lock, Safe and Security Center.

What started out as a trade secret among locksmiths and safecrackers has leaked out.

"It is technology that does work and it's fairly simple to use," said Alvis. "It's not as simple as it's shown on the Internet, but it's not difficult either."

Without giving too much away, here's how it works.

"It's a specially cut key that when you tap on it, it drives the pins upward and makes a sheer line where you can turn the cylinder," said Alvis. "So it's similar to picking, but it's a little simpler. Apparently, you can buy them on the Internet and we cut them here but we don't use them during our day to day operations."

Several local businesses, including Larry's Lock, Safe and Security Center, have tools to keep you from being a potential victim.

"With the bump keying becoming more known, some of your residential lock manufactures have created locks with bump resistant features to them," said Alvis.

(Copyright 2009 WXIX-TV and Raycom Media. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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