Lock bumping or the “999 Method” is the latest criminal craze to hit the streets. Crimes of this nature have been highlighted all over the news these days. If you haven’t heard of it yet, you should be aware of what it is, and how to prevent it from happening to your home or office. Lock bumping is not a new concept. It was actually developed long before it became prevalent within the criminal community.
Back in the ’70s, locksmiths introduced a technique for tapping on a lock cylinder while applying some pressure to the back of the lock plug or while pushing the key into the hole with extra pressure. When the pins would jump inside the lock cylinder, the plug would slide freely out and the lock could be further disassembled. This was a quick and easy solution for professional locksmiths back then and was mainly used as a method to undo a misassembled cylinder on their workbench, rather than to gain entry into a home or place of business.
It wasn’t until 2002 that criminals gained knowledge of this and began using this technique as a means of illegal entry. Now lock bumping and bump keys can be found all over the Internet which makes it even easier to compromise conventional pin tumbler locks. And a burglar that breaks in with a bump key shows no visible sign of forced entry, but further examination from an expert can determine if the pins were manipulated. Insurance companies may still be resistant in paying on a claim, even with
1. Clear Visibility
Keep the landscaping around your home and office as clean as possible. Criminals look for bushes that cover the home so they can hide behind it while they’re trying to gain access. Places that have wide open spaces and good lighting deter these intruders. Adding security measures like motion sensors is one of the many ways that you can keep your home safe from criminals.
2. Neighborhood Watch
Be alert and aware of your surroundings. Talk with your neighbours and organize an official neighbourhood watch website
3. Security Camera
Since lock bumping does not leave any visible sign of damage, it is hard to prove to insurance companies that a claim is not fraudulent without hiring a professional forensic locksmith. As an extra security measure, install cameras by your main doors. If you are able to provide video of the intruder, you can submit this evidence to your insurance provider to prove that you were actually broken into by an intruder.
4. Anti-Lock Bumping Devices
If you’re on a limited budget, there are several very inexpensive anti-lock devices on the market today such as a thumb turn guard designed to prevent the thumb turn part of a deadbolt from turning. When it can’t rotate, the key can’t turn which means the deadbolt can’t retract back inside the lock. Though inexpensive, this may not be the most convenient option for an entry door since it also prevents the lock’s key from unlocking the door. For only a few Rands more, you can get a lightweight commercial grade lock at least for the entry door, then use this kind of device on doors that are rarely used.
5. Install Security Pins
You can either take your locks to a locksmith or have them come to you to install special pins that will make the lock harder to bump. These pins are commonly referred to as, security pins. They are designed to bind before they reach the lock’s
6. High-Security Locks
Installing high-security “bump and pick resistant” locks can be a good idea. The Mul-T-Lock Hercular is known for its strength, resistance to attacks and additional security features that you won’t find on other high-security locks. These additional security features range from
7. Light Commercial Grade Locks
Replace your current locks with light commercial grade locks. These locks have been tested and have been put through quality and durability testing. For example, the highest quality locks would be given an ANSI Grade 1 certification which is commercial grade. UL grades deadbolt locks based on how they perform through a series of lock picking tests. These commercial grade locks can easily be used on residential exterior doors.
8. Keyless Deadbolt Locks
Keyless locks started growing in popularity a few years before the news media started reporting on lock bumping crimes. If you decide to install a keyless lock, make sure it is bump proof. Many of the older ones still have key cylinders that can be lock bumped. The security of these locks can be enhanced when they are integrated with biometric technology. This is more costly than the options offered above but by far the most secure.
If you decide to upgrade your locks entirely, also consider that good locks are only a fraction of the security equation. A door with a solid core and frame, a high strength strike plate, and strong door jamb are key to preventing a forced entry which is the number one method of entry after lock bumping.