We all want to know what we can do to minimize the risk of a burglary. An option that has emerged is the rise of pick proof locks, which promise resistance to lock picking and bumping. It can all be a bit confusing, so we’ve done all the research for you to make it easier for you to choose the best lock possible.
How could someone enter my home?
There are many different ways that an intruder could enter your home; through an open window, an unlocked door etc. However, there are 2 main techniques that are used to bypass a door lock. These are:
This technique is often used by Locksmiths to help give homeowners access to their home in many different circumstances. So what is lock picking? Effectively it is when the lock is manipulated with a tool that mimics the same position the key would be in when it is inserted. It can be a very fiddly practise which can be risky for an intruder as the longer it takes, the bigger risk that they might get caught.
Essentially, every lock that has key cylinder is susceptible to lock picking. But the most common locks that you will find on domestic doors are a mortice and/or Yale (night latch) for a wooden door and a euro cylinder lock for a uPVC (plastic) door.
Key bumping is a technique for opening a pin tumbler lock, it has become a trend among burglaries as it requires very little effort and leaves very little trace of a break in. Typically a master key called a ‘bump key’ is used to manipulate the bins inside the lock cylinder; this is often used in tandem with a bump hammer, rubber mallet or screwdriver to force the key into the keyhole.
What locks are vulnerable to lock picking and bumping?
Lock picking can be done on most door locks that use a physical key such as a mortice, Yale and a euro cylinder lock. However, key bumping is mostly reserved for a pin tumbler lock which is also known as a euro cylinder lock that are found in uPVC doors. This type of lock contains of a series of spring loaded stacks, often referred to as pins that are made of two parts stacked vertically on top of each other. There are multiple sets of pairs throughout the lock, all differing in length, with a shear line forming at the junction of the two separate pins. This means that when the key is inserted it creates a level shear line across all the pairs, so that when the key is turned it turns the cylinder which separates the key and drive pin thus opening the lock.
What can I do to prevent someone picking my lock?
Unfortunately, 100% pick proof locks don’t exist unless you have a keyless lock. Pick proof locks are actually just more resistant to lock picking and bumping as they have an extra set of tumblers which then gives the key effectively two jobs to do. This gives the lock a better resistance to manipulation and so is then more resistant to lock bumping.
What are some types of pick resistant lock?
This type of lock has been designed so that the lock must be raised to a particular level and also turned in a specific direction to allow the key to turn. This means that to bump the lock, the bump key would need several thousand angle variations in order to open the lock. This variation of lock can be used on both wooden and uPVC doors as they provide both lever cylinders for uPVC and mortice locks for wooden doors.
For uPVC doors, find out more here
For wooden doors, find out more here
This lock consists of a pin within a pin design, which makes creating a bump key for this extremely difficult due to the keys being specifically drilled to precise depths in order to engage the pins. It also contains a retaining bearing that prevents the lock from separating from the door frame and there are very few other high security locks that boast this feature. This specific type of lock can only be installed in an uPVC door as they are very similar in design to the euro cylinder lock that is the standard lock to be installed with that type of door. A bonus feature of this lock is that it also resistant to lock snapping, which a method of entry that intruders will often use on uPVC doors.
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What are other options?
Get a lock with an uncommon keyway
One way to discourage key bumping would be to have a lock with a keyway that an intruder is less likely to have a bumper key for. A keyway is the part of the lock cylinder where the key is inserted, and to bump a lock the bumper key to work it must be the same keyway as the cylinder lock. With an unusual keyway the chances of them having the key would be slim and if the key bumper was to take a photo of your lock with the intention to come back it has a higher risk of being noticed.
Install a Keyless lock
In order to guarantee a bump and pick proof lock, it must be keyless. There are many options of keyless locks that range from deadbolts to smart locks; however, although they might a perfect solution to bumping they can come with challenges of their own.
A keyless deadbolt such like the Schlage Touch Camelot Deadbolt Bump Proof lock is a perfect example of a more traditional lock which has abandoned the use of keys altogether. To open this lock all you need to do is enter your access code and your door becomes unlocked.
However, the issue is with this type of lock is that there is no back up should anything go wrong it would prove hard to rectify any issues.
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When referring to smart locks, it’s a lock that is controlled by your phone, or another device like a fob and often do not have a key cylinder. Although the pricier option these locks are great as with no key cylinder it cannot be bumped, it also gives the option to program in multiple access codes or attach multiple devices for friends and family members. However, an issue to consider is that like all technology these locks can be hacked, and if you also have phones and security systems linked to the smart locks the whole bundle could be compromised.
No locks are truly pick proof, or ensure that an intruder cannot pass them, but you can take steps to improve the security of your current external doors. If you are concerned your current lock may be vulnerable, you might want to consult an experienced Locksmith.