A few years ago I was doing a job for my father (who is also a locksmith) and was having trouble picking a lock. I called to ask for advice and he directed me to take a specially cut key, put it into the lock, and hit it with the sole of my shoe. Of course I asumed he was joking, but I gave it a try anyway. Moments latter I had the door open and stood there stunned…with only one shoe on. Since then I have learned that lock bumping (that is what this technique is called) does not require the use of a shoe, but it is a real threat to the safety of your home and business. Read on to learn how to bump locks yourself and how to protect yourself and your business.
How Lock Bumping Works:
A quick search of the internet will turn up pages of places to purchase lock bumping equipment, but the scary thing is that all you need is a key and something to hit it with (a screwdriver works better than a shoe). The following steps are all that is needed:
- Insert the specially cut bump key into the lock fully.
- Pull out one space/cut/notch.
- Apply very light turning pressure to the key in the direction you need the lock to turn.
- Hit the back of the key sharply. Be careful not to hit your fingers.
- Repeat if the key does not turn.
I have a test lock in my shop that I also bring to trade shows and presentations. I am amazed at how quickly the average person can learn to bump a lock. In fact, my seven year old is getting rather proficient at it.
Why this is Important:
As we showed you above, bumping is exceptionally easy and the tools are readily available. We are seeing thieves use this method more and more. Apart from the loss of security, bump keys are presenting a new problem for insurance claims. A lock that has been opened using a bump key does not necessarily show obvious signs of entry. An insurance company may deny a claim because it appears that the door was left unlocked.
The Solution to Lock Bumping Safety:
There are several locks that provide protection against lock bumping. I have written seperate articles on these products:
- Master Lock Bump Stop (least expensive): Master Deadbolts Product Review
- Medeco KeyMark X4 (good value): Medeco’s KeyMark X4 – Product Review
- Mul-T-Lock MT5+ (best security): Mul-T-Lock MT5+ Product Review
Lock bumping is not just being used on residential locks, it is also used on padlocks and filing cabinets.
You can easily secure your home or business from this new threat, but the answer cannot be found at your local hardware store. Contact a local locksmith and you can be assured this problem will never happen to you.