The Problem with Lock Cylinders
The majority of key locks today rely on lock cylinders as the method that allows the key to open the lock. Unfortunately, about half of all burglaries committed take advantage of the lock cylinder design with something called a bump key. A bump key is specially designed and generally available to locksmiths. In the hands of a burglar, the lock key can gain entry to most locks with lock cylinders in as little as 30 seconds. In fact, there are videos on the Internet show pre-teens using bump keys to defeat a lock in less than a minute.
Choose Strong Locks with Lock Cylinders
One way to make it more difficult for a burglar is to have a strong lockset. Security experts suggest that the very strongest locks, which also two or three times the cost of regular locksets, either resist bumping or slow down a burglar enough that they may move on to another home. The very strongest locks have the follow features:
- Strong deadbolt with steel chips. A steel deadbolt is a necessity so that it cannot be easily sawed off. The steel chips come in handy because they engage and mangle a drill tip. Burglars often try to defeat locks by quickly drilling through the center of the lock.
- One-inch throw on deadbolts. The throw is the length a deadbolt extends out from the lock. It’s important that the deadbolt extend fully into the door frame to offer the most security in the event a burglar tries to overpower the door.
- Heavy gauge strike plate. The strike plate is perhaps the weakest link in a lockset because many locks use decorate strike plates made of plastic that can easily be pried off or kicked in. But a steel gauge strike plate, along with 3-inch screws securing the strike plate, offers a higher level of protection.
- Go with double cylinder locks. Double lock cylinders require keys to both enter and exit a home. Double cylinders also are valuable because many burglars break a window or door sidelight to reach in and open the interior door knob. That’s not possible with double cylinder locks.
Avoid Vulnerable Lock Cylinders with Keyless Locks
Digital locks can help with the issue of lock cylinders and bump keys, but remember that many digital locks also include keys and have lock cylinders. Look for keyless locks in systems that either include pushbutton entry, remote-control entry or fingerprint entry. In each case, if there is no key in the lock there’s no way for bump keys and lock cylinders to remain an issue.