Lock Bumping - Protect yourself - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Lock Bumping - Protect yourself

Posted: Updated: Nov 21, 2006 10:02 PM CST
Bump keys Bump keys

If you think your home is safe just because the door is locked, think again.  Bad guys may be able to slip into your house with very little effort, by trying something called "lock bumping."

Memphian Cyndi Sinclair has a one-year old son.  To her, security is everything.  "It was certainly important before but now that we have a baby, it's all that I think about it.  I just want to make sure that he's ok," she said.

She was stunned by this story.  You will be too.  Everyone - who sees this in action - is stunned.

"I think that's pretty scary that someone could break into our house," said another homeowner.

It's called "lock-bumping."  And safety experts say this technique works on more than 90 percent of homes.

"The good guys need to know what to watch out for.  The bad guys are gonna find out what to do.  So why should the public not know what's happening?" said locksmith Glen Peifer.

The trick?  A special series of cuts on a regular old house key and a tap or a series of taps will do the trick.

Memphis locksmith Glen Peifer says you need to worry about this because it is so easy.  Even a ten year-old can do it.

We tried to talk with police from multiple agencies about it, but they wouldn't even do an interview, either because they didn't know about it or didn't want to take heat for telling people about it.

But with lock-bumping how-to's buzzing across the internet, we decided it was time to find solutions.

"Alarm systems are more expensive than this lock," said Peifer, pointing at a lock he says is "bump proof."  "So if you're going down the road of expense this is the cheapest solution.  This will put a lock on the door that can't be picked."

There are some things you can do.

Peifer says alarms and pets are good deterrents.  Lighting around your house helps too.  But - he says - the best thing you can do is spend a little money on better locks.  Locks by Medeco and Schlage Primus can't be bumped.  They're more expensive, but they'll do the trick.

"When you're trying to put a value on your property, that's easy enough to do.  But how do you put a value on your personal safety?  You can't put a price tag on that.  How can you afford not to have a lock that you can't pick in this way, that you can't use a bump key on?" he said.

The answer - he says - is that you can't.  And with the digital underworld abuzz about this new threat, safety experts say it's time to key in. 

In our report, we didn't show you how to make a bump key.  Since our original story aired, we've received hundreds of emails from viewrs concerned that we would be telling criminals how to use this technique.  Our goal was to make you aware so that you can better protect yourself.

We felt it would be irresponsible not to tell you about it.

Please email us with questions or comments.

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