Have Your Locks Been Tampered? Here’s How To Tell
Nobody is immune to the threat of theft and there are plenty of ways that burglars can gain access to your belongings, especially if you do not have a solid security system. One of the most common ways thieves can get into your home is by picking your locks. How do you know when somebody has attempted to pick yours?
There are several obvious signs that your locks have been tampered with, including scruff marks at the key hole area and dents. But there are other specific signs that you can look for regularly just to be sure you remain safe. Here are some of them, as well as ways to ensure that no unauthorized entry happens in your home, office or place of business.
Unauthorized entry is defined as what it says. It’s when somebody you know or don’t know gains access to your space without permission or through sneaky means. The moment your suspect that your locks have been tampered with, the first thing you should do is to be calm and study the situation before reacting.
Do you have evidence that someone tried to open your locks (or, worse, had broken into your home)? The first thing you should look for is any deformed or broken glass, door frame, or lock. Call the police to report it immediately. But if you’re not sure that somebody has broken in, you might want to investigate further for clearer indications. Basically, there are three ways that burglars can enter your space.
- Through forced entry
Brute force is the hastiest and messiest type of break-in. In this type, the burglar will have been in a hurry and may have kicked a door down, bash a lock in, drilled through a deadbolt or leave a trail of destroyed materials.
This method doesn’t always leave a mess, however. Some are more discreet yet can still be classified as “brute force.” These include warped door frames, paint circles from lock fixtures as if they were loosened, and bent latches and deadbolts. When you put your usual key into the hole and find it difficult to fit or that it’s harder to turn, it might have been tampered with via picking or bumping.
- Lock picking
This is perhaps the most traditional type of tampering. It happens when someone employs small tools like a pin or a flat screwdriver to turn the lock and rake the pin tumblers. The more crafty ones even use a dental pick to do so. Once the tumblers catch the lock, it will turn.
Picking requires a lot of skill and patience. However, this method is way gentler and might not leave a trace at all. It’s not likely to show dents or warped bolts after, but it could show tiny scratch marks and some exposed metal around the key hole. These marks are usually finer than if done by a key because of the size of the tools used.
- Lock bumping.
This technique is what professional locksmiths often employ. In fact, bumping has been popular since the early 1900s but only to real lock experts. However, since people started talking about the process on the media, so many copycats (and burglars) all over the world have tried it, as well.
How is bumping done? First, one files the teeth of a key down into a number of points to make it look like a small saw. They insert this modified key all the way into the keyhole and take it out by one click. Then, they take a blunt object and hit the key. They withdraw it by one click again and repeat the process. This is done until all the tumblers of the lock have been caught. When this happens, you can finally open the door.
Professional lock bumpers will hardly leave any trace, but amateurs who it hastily will definitely leave marks. How do you know if your locks have been bumped? Look for fresh scratches or nicks around the keyhole caused by the pounding.
Protecting Your Locks From Being Tampered With
Now that we have the basic signs to look for — and find that you, indeed, had your locks picked — don’t let it happen to you again ever. Our team at Security Info notes that one of the most foolproof ways to dealing with tampering is to upgrade your locks or change them periodically.
Hybrid lock models are not heavily reliant on pins and tumblers, so they are more difficult to pry open. A sliding bolt that prevents a deadbolt from being turned even after it’s unlocked also helps. A quicker solution involves the popular WD40. Just spray some into your keyhole so only your key will fit and no pins can get through.
Should you find that your entryways have been forcibly opened, a simple lock upgrade might not do the trick. Perhaps it’s time you consider installing a home security system to ensure that all possible places of entry is monitored and you are alerted of any attempt 24/7. This way, after you’ve reinforced all your locks, if a burglar tries to still go in, they get caught on the security tape or set off alarms that will have them running.
Security systems offer an additional and more solid layer of protection for you and your family. Get in touch with a professional service provider to know what types of technology you need for your home, office or place of business. There are plenty of devices and packages to choose from depending on your budget, area and security needs. You can also request to have your system customized.
We are lucky we live in a time where there are plenty of resources that help us maximize protection. Today’s technology goes beyond just taping who goes in and out and blaring alarms when a door is opened. There are devices that can also detect movement, potentially poisonous gases, fires and other hazards that could threaten your family and your home.