You may be asking what is lock bumping or what a 999/rapping key is. This is the process where criminals take a special key, using a bumping technique to unlock cylinder and deadbolt locks.
I want to share the 10 tips on how to prevent lock bumping, but first, let’s go into some more information on lock bumping. This technique can open probably 90% of all old style American door locks. You may be thinking you need to run to Home Depot and Lowes right now to get you a new lock to prevent this from happening to you. The problem is more than 90% of the new locks at the big hardware stores are susceptible to lock bumping.
Let’s look at the Some Key Information:
- With a bump key a criminal can open your door in less than 15 seconds
- This will not show any signs of forced entry, so you would not know if someone robbed you until you noticed the items were missing
- Lock bumping is so easy that even kids can do it
- These bump keys can be easily bought online or made quickly
How Does Bumping a Lock Work
The burglars will take the bump key and stick it in the key hole. They then use a hammer or screw driver head to tap the key into the keyhole. This forces all the tumblers or pins up above the shear line (Don’t understand this). Once this is done, the lock is in the position to turn the bump key and open the lock. When they leave, they do the exact same thing, but instead of opening the door, they lock it up ,making it look like the door was locked the whole time.
Like we said in the facts even kids can learn how to do this lock bumping in a short period of time. The internet has made it way too easy for people to get the Bump keys and learn how to use them. The issue is now burglars can enter your home without kicking open the door or breaking glass. The bump key makes entering the home quiet and much quicker.
Now let’s look at the top tips for preventing a criminal from bump keying your locks.
Bump Resistant Locks
This would be the first thing you would want to do to secure your doors from a thief using a bump key. These high security cylinders are much harder to use a bump key to open. The UL rating on these locks is a 437. The manufacturers have started by adding anti bump pins to the cylinders to make bumping harder. Another measure has been to drill one of the pin stacks shallower than the others making it very difficult for the bump key to bump that pin to open the lock.
You can find most manufactures like Schlage or Kwikset will have bump resistant locks to sell you. I would just make sure to look at the reviews to ensure it is the right lock for your needs. We have one of the locks on our product page.
You can also go the route of new technology adding a smart lock to your doors. This would replace the old locks that were susceptible to lock bumping. You can look online or go to your local hardware store to find the best smart lock for you. This can also be tied into your smart home set up if you already have your home wired this way.
You may also want to look into rotating disk locks or magnetic locks. These cannot be bumped at all since they run on electric to move the lock. (What are these locks? You need to explain more in this paragraph.)
You can set up a security system of cameras around the home for more protection. This does not solve the lock bumping issue if you kept your old locks, but its added security. The burglar is more likely to choose a home to burglarize with no security cameras on it. The harder you make it for them to break in the more likely they will go to a different home. Burglars want easy access in and out quickly without getting caught. The last thing they want is to be on the 5 PM news with your video camera capturing their face.
Anti-Lock Bumping Devices
You can look at a thumb turn guard on the door to stop the deadbolt latch from turning. This works great if you are inside the house and you use them to secure the house at night from someone using a bump key. This will not work if you leave the home because they can only be used when someone is inside the home. You can also buy one anti bump lock for front door while you use the thumb turn guard on the other doors in your home.
Security Alarm System
You can get a DIY home security system for your home. This will not prevent the door locks from being bumped but it will sound the alarm once they step into the home. There are many alarm system you can look into using, so just go with the one that will best suit your needs. We recommend a few here on our site.
You can have the option to purchase a wireless home security system or buy security systems that are wired. I like the DIY alarm systems because of the lower cost and they are easy to install.
Having a guard dog or any dog that barks could possibly prevent a thief from breaking into your home by using the bump key. A burglar does not want to break into a home that has a barking dog, so if they see that there is a dog in the yard or in the window, or they can hear one barking as they approach the home, they will most likely leave the premises. Thieves also don’t want to open the door to find a dog running to attack him. When casing which homes look appealing to break into, most burglars will stay away from the homes that have guard dogs.
Bushes and Trees
You need to keep your doors and windows visible to the side walk plus the street. If you have over grown brush, this will make it easier for a burglar to go to the front door to use the bump key to get into the home. Also make sure all your doors are exposed and not hidden by any barriers. Anything that hides the thief while entering the home makes it easier on the criminal to break in successfully and without getting caught. My house has nothing over 2 feet high so my front and back doors are easily visible to neighbors and people walking on the sidewalk. I know in my neighborhood people walk around on the sidewalk all the time, either with a loved one, their kids, or walking their dogs. Exposing our entrances to our homes to the public
I know during the day there’s no need for outside lights, but at night it’s a good deterrent for any burglar wanting to break in. Make sure you have lights that are working and light up every entrance to your home. You can invest in automatic lighting, so you don’t have to remember to turn them on every night. The more light you have at night surrounding your home, the better chance the criminals will go somewhere else.
I have a doorbell camera and when anyone walks on the porch it alerts me. If someone were attempting to break into my house using a bump key, I would be alerted by my camera that has a motion detector. I can see someone trying to use a bump key to get into my home. They would walk up to my door and the video doorbell camera is activated to record whoever is there. I can also talk through the doorbell to the person at the front door.
Although many of these safety tactics aren’t directly related to the lock bumping issue, they are an important part of ensuring your safety and keeping your home protected. If you can prevent a criminal from targeting your home in the first place, you have already affectively secured your home. You need to consider most, if not all of these security tips and tactics, so that you and your family will be protected from any crime that can occur
Lock bumping is one common way criminals can break into your home, so it’s important to gather as much information about them as possible so you have a better understanding into how thieves can penetrate the locks on your own doors to your home. Please look into taking the appropriate steps needed to secure your own locks and practice additional safety measures to ensure you and your family remain safe. If you need more information on specific locks you need to purchase and install, please visit our product section.