Lock bumping is one of a multitude of lock picking strategies however it is actually one of the most dangerous to the safety of your home. For a burglar to attempt to bump a lock the lock must be a pin tumbler lock, which is actually extremely common on American households. The main component to lock bumping is for the burglar to have a bump key. A bump key, which must be specific to the type of lock they are attempting to pick, is a key with only small teeth on the key that slightly raise the pins inside of the lock.
What is lock bumping?
View the picture to the left, in this case a pick tool is being used however a bump key is not much different it is only more discreet and easier for burglars to use. The red pins, key pins, are what allow each specific lock to be operated by a specific key. The blue pins, driver pins, are attached to springs and drive the key pins into place so only the key made for the lock will work. How a bump key works is that it has small “teeth” which are raised ridges which are just small enough to fit below the key pins however long enough to still be in contact with them.
Once the burglar has inserted the bump key into the lock all that needs to be done is striking the end of the bump key while turning the handle at the precise time to easily open the door. The way it works is that since the bump key is still in contact with the key pins the energy of the bump is transferred to the driver pins and springs which recoil slightly and allow the door to be opened for a split second. In order to bump locks practice is required however it does not take long to be able to figure out how it works.
Since this process is so simple, and after many times of practice a burglar can become quite skilled, it can be very easy for them to sneak into your home or apartment without drawing any suspicion.
So how can you protect yourself from break-in through key bumping? The best way to protect yourself from bump key burglary is to make sure that you purchase a bump proof lock. There are only a few bump proof locks available that are fully protected against bump key but the main difference they have from standard pin tumbler lock is that the tumblers are discs. Since the springs are replaced by discs any bump goes to waste because the discs are not elastic like springs are. Of course since bump proof locks offer such great security and there are so few out there they can be quite expensive but in some cases worth the money!
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