Home Security — Are you safe from Lock Bumping?

Home Security at Risk! — Lock Bumping
Something every homeowner should protect themselves against. First, watch these two videos so that you understand how vulnerable most entry-door locks are:

A TV news segment mentioning how lock bumping is used by thieves to quickly gain illegal entry to homes.

YouTube video explaining how to make “bump” keys, and how they are used.

Note:  The bad guys already know all about this method…I’m just educating our clients who are homeowners.

What can be done?  Here’s the checklist:

Get a monitored Alarm System

First of all, a lock is only a deterrent to theft or burglary.  It won’t stop a determined thief who can simply break out a window and come in that way. The strongest deterrent is a monitored alarm system, which is much more difficult to circumvent, and protects against all forms of entry. Most alarm systems also have a provision for detecting motion inside the home, so that even if a thief is able to gain entry without triggering a window or door circuit (such as by knocking a hole through a wall and crawing in that way), the thief’s motion inside the home will trigger the alarm. Most of the better alarm systems with motion sensing technology can also be adjusted to accommodate movement of small pets inside your home while you’re away, without a “false trigger” of the alarm. Most alarm systems also can be fitted with glass-breakage alarm sensors, so that if non-protected glass panes are broken (such as an upper-story picture window or sidelight panels – areas of glass that wouldn’t normally be used for entry) the alarm will sense the unique sound of broken glass and trigger the alarm.

Post exterior signs advertising your alarm system

If you have an alarm system, be sure its presence is well advertised around the perimeter of your home…such as with easily-recognized signs near primary entry points. With an alarm, the objective should never be to surprise a would-be thief by allowing him to first break one of your doors or windows in an attempted illegal entry, only to discover you have an active alarm system which he’s just triggered. At that point it’s too late to prevent property damage, and the broken window/door may allow wind, rain, snow (etc) to enter your home for an hour or more before someone arrives and discovers it and can take corrective action. Far better to alert the thief to your alarm’s presence, and thus dissuade him from attempting entry to your home. He’ll move on, looking for easier pickings elsewhere.

Use the alarm system!

It’s amazing to me how many people have homes that are equipped with alarm systems, but who don’t utilize them. They’ve become complacent with their state of low-security, and don’t feel at risk of a break-in. Further, they’ve probably come to see an alarm system as a hassle….one more thing to deal with whenever they need to run out or come back from errands.  Thus, they don’t arm their alarm, sometimes leave their garage door open, and even take off and inadvertently leave other entry doors (besides the one they depart through) unlocked.  This is a potential thief’s dream-come-true.

Upgrade your locks!

Once you have the “umbrella” coverage in place that comes from an active alarm system, the next thing to consider is replacing entry-door locks with bump-proof locksets.  If you don’t already have an alarm system and one is not in your budget, then upgrading to bump-proof locksets should be a very high priority. If you don’t have deadbolts, put one in on each entry door. They are much more secure than a simple doorknob lockset.   Lastly, if an entry door contains glass panels, or there are adjacent glass panels (such as in sidelights or window panels), consider using a twin (not single) cylinder deadbolt, so a thief can’t simply break a small pane of glass, reach through the hole and unlock your deadbolt from the inside using the lever.   If you use a twin-cylinder deadbolt, be sure to remove the key from the lock after locking it…put on a nearby end-table or anywhere else your family members can remember to look for it and quickly / easily find it in case of emergency.

Those clients seeking assistance with implementation of improved security for their home should call us to discuss options, timing, cost, etc.