Waterloo Lock Bumping
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Waterloo Lock Bumping – A Serious Problem?
There has been quite a bit of hot air in recent times about the subject of lock bumping, the popular press and advertisers would have us believe that unless we invest in the latest and probably most expensive home security devices, that our homes are wide open to the lock bumpers.
Is this true?
The answer is both yes and no. Firstly it’s important to understand that a good deal of this ‘hot air’ has been generated by those with a financial interest to promote or protect, and by that I mean locksmiths, lock manufacturers, and insurance companies etc.
Do they have a point?
Yes, lock bumping is a method of opening certain types of lock that requires little in the way of skill or knowledge.
Are we all at risk?
No, only those with locks that are susceptible to this method are at risk.
As a semi retired locksmith I have known of this technique for a long time, most professional locksmiths regard lock bumping as a rather ‘amateurish’ method of defeating a lock preferring to use more refined picking techniques that have a much higher success rate. However largely due (in my opinion) to irresponsible internet sites, knowledge and equipment for lock bumping has become available to anyone, (there can be few folks other than locksmiths who have a legitimate need for this knowledge and equipment). Before opening any locks with this technique our would be lock bumper has a few problems to overcome. This technique only works on cylinder locks and only on the lower quality (and therefore lower cost) cylinder locks, however there are millions and millions of these in daily use, so you could say that our lock bumpers environment was still ‘target rich’.
The next issue our lock bumper faces is the need for a bump key. This is a specially cut key something that only a locksmith or a specialist key cutter would have the knowledge, equipment, and data to produce, and here’s the rub- any specially cut bump key is specific to the make, model, and profile of the type of lock it has been cut for (the profile is the grooving down the side of the key-different for any manufacturer and model). In order to be a fully equipped lock bumper able to try and bump any susceptible lock encountered our lock bumper would need literally thousands of specially cut bump keys, not something that can be carried around in the back pocket.
In practice those who use this method for their nefarious activities will have acquired a few bump keys for those locks that are most common in their area of activity. Also set to frustrate our lock bumper is the fact that if I took ten locks all of the same type and profile etc I would find that two or three would bump open quite easily a further one or two would bump open with some difficulty (i. e. after repeated attempts) and about half of them wouldn’t bump open at all, this is to do with the individual combinations of pins within the lock -certain combinations bump open easier than others. Another issue for our lock bumper is the fact that a good deal of what is for sale on the internet lock- bumping sites is of dubious quality as is the information on many of their sites. Its my opinion that the vendors are aware of this but are also aware they are unlikely to face trading standards issues as the gullible purchasers will not wish to draw attention to themselves.
Not with standing all the difficulties above, lock bumping has become a problem and a few criminals have learned how to use this technique to go about their business, what then should ordinary decent folk do to protect their homes and possessions?
Fortunately beating the lock bumper is not difficult, there are a number of steps ordinary folks can take that need not involve the expense of bringing in a locksmith like myself, however I should point out that lock bumping is far from the only way of defeating poor quality locks and a good locksmith will be able to advise you on a broad range of security measures relevant to your situation.
Here are a number of measures you can implement to defeat any attempts at bumping your locks.
Where cylinder locks are to be used lock quality is of great importance, these days most manufacturers offer ‘bump proof ‘ cylinder locks and this is an option that should be taken most seriously. Door locks that are often overlooked are those on sliding or patio doors and this is one of our lock bumpers prime targets, as they are often mass produced and tend to have small poor quality locks, and all those from one manufacturer will tend to have keys of similar profile, ‘ lock bumping heaven ‘ all those patio doors and one bump key could open up to half of them. Clearly these locks need to be upgraded or secondary locks need to be added. The same consideration should also be given to any out buildings and padlocks around your property.
There is an after market product around called ‘pick buster’, it’s a kind of oil that is injected into cylinder locks, it coats the pins inside the lock and prevents them bouncing when an attempt is made to bump the lock. Pick buster is effective at making locks bump proof, however it also makes those same locks easier to pick using more traditional lock picking methods. In practice the only real answer is to ensure that all your cylinder locks are of good quality -minimum of 5-6 pins and preferably some kind of sidebar mechanism, and are sold as bump proof. This way you will be covering yourself against not only lock bumpers but also those who have a little more skill and may try to pick the lock in other ways.