Special Report: Keeping Your Home Safe

By: John Tramontana Email
By: John Tramontana Email

Most people lock their doors before they leave the house or turn in for the night. But that simple action may no longer be enough to protect your family and your property. An old break-in technique is gaining popularity thanks to the Internet and you could be the one to pay the price.

It's called key bumping and thanks to instructional videos on YouTube, some burglars-to-be are getting free advice. the theory suggests that the right amount of force applied to a properly cut key would lift the locks cylinders, causing it to open.

"Unfortunately we find more people will spend more money on a pizza and a six pack of soda than they will for their front door lock of their home," said locksmith Mark Blum.

Blum owns "Marks Lock Shop" in Lansing. He says there's one simple way to protect yourself.

"Upgrade to at least a commercial grade piece of hardware for your front door. Stay away from the five or ten dollar locks on the market. They're junk."

Those commercial locks will cost you about 90 to 100 dollars, but could save in more ways than one.

"There really wouldn't be any significant evidence left behind if bumping had been used," Blum said.

And that could force your insurance company to second guess the break-in. Stacy Lewis is a State Farm Insurance agent in Lansing. She says key bumping could possibly prevent insurance companies from paying out your claim.

"We take a look at what happened, what evidence. We will actually send a claims adjuster out to take a look at the door, the window," she said.

But with no evidence left from the break-in, it could take months before your claim is rewarded, if at all. So what are the chances your house could be hit? And how hard is it to learn how to key bump?

After all the buzz on the Internet, we did some searching to see if we could purchase our very own bump keys.

Sure enough, just seconds later, we found the website "Bumpkey.US." We looked through all the options before settling on the 11 key package at just over $32.

After talking with locksmiths and watching the you tube video, we decided to put the keys to the test. Once we placed in the lock and gave it a few taps, we discovered it's a lot harder than it looks. The door we tried didn't open.

Locksmiths say it takes a few hours of practice and a lot of patience. But with the instructions and tools available, there's no telling who may be able to gain entry into your home.

There are four brands of commercial locks experts tell us are immune to key bumping; Medeco, Primus, Abloy, and Scan-lock.


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