Chances are, you have both a locking doorknob and a deadbolt on your front and side doors. Since the point of locking your door is to keep you safe, you probably feel quite secure and safe when you're in the house with the locks engaged. While there are many ways that a burglar could get into your home, one popular way is to use what is called a "bump key." While bump keys are not easy to get ahold of, they are fairly easy to use, and they don't take any special equipment or extra effort, so someone using such a key to gain entrance into your home is unlikely to attract attention. Here's what you need to know about bump keys, along with some tips to help you stay safe.
What Are Bump Keys?
A bump key is a modified house key that is cut in such a way as to allow it to open any lock that the key fits into. A regular house key works by moving the pins inside of the lock into the right position to allow the door to open. A bump key makes those little pins unnecessary when it comes to opening the door. This means that if the bump key is made from a house key of the brand matching your doorknob or deadbolt, it can make your lock ineffective.
Will a Better Lock Help?
Spending the money on a more expensive lock can help. Why? First of all, most people are using one of two popular lock brands: Kwikset and Schlage, according to Front Range Locksmith. If someone with nefarious intentions were to get ahold of bump keys from these two brands, they could very likely get into most homes via their front doors. Having a locksmith build and install a lock that does not match either of these brands makes it much less likely that anyone will be able to bump your lock.
In addition, having a custom or uncommon lock installed can make it less likely that would-be thieves even bother with your lock at all. Burglars want to be able to get into a home quickly, not spend time fumbling with an unfamiliar lock.
What Are Other Ways to Protect Yourself?
It's important to keep in mind that picking or bumping a lock is only one way that a burglar can get into your home. In addition to getting the best lock you can and always locking your home, there are practical steps you can take to discourage a robber before he or she even approaches your home closely enough to examine the lock.
- Get an alarm and post warning signs prominently. You can even post warning signs if you don't have an alarm; this alone will dissuade some burglars from calling your bluff.
- Get a dog with a big bark. Even a dog with a small bark will help. Most thieves don't want to try to test whether a dog is friendly or not. If you don't have a dog, you can set out a large bowl of water and a heavy-duty leash on the front porch to fool would-be burglars into thinking you have one.
- Keep the plants and bushes around your front door trimmed back. Don't give robbers a place to hide while they break into your home.
- Make your house look lived in. If you go on vacation, keep up with your lawn or shoveling service. Have the post office hold your mail, and ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up packages and drive by to check out the house occasionally. Also, consider setting lamps on timers so the lights go on and off as though someone is home.
Protecting your property and your family is important, and your locksmith can help you by installing a safe lock that will guard against bump keys and lock-picking. For more tips on protecting yourself from would-be burglars, contact a local locksmith company like Top Security Locksmiths.