Bump Keys: A Reason to Consider Home Automation

Annual FBI crime statistics routinely show that the majority of residential burglaries occur by gaining entry through the front door. Although this may seem strange to someone unfamiliar with burglary tactics, it makes perfect sense to a burglar who knows what he/she’s doing. A home is only as strong as its weakest link, and door locks tend to be pretty weak links. They can be breached easily with something known as a bump key. With the prevalence of bump keys growing, it is more important than ever to consider home automation packages equipped with electronic door locks.

An electronic door lock is one that does not necessarily need a key to open and close. It may have its own built-in keypad, it may be operable with a smartphone, or you may have the option of doing both – along with using a traditional key. The most important thing in terms of home security and automation is to purchase locks that are bump proof.

How Lock Bumping Works

The majority of American homes are equipped with old-style tumbler locks that use a series of spring-loaded pins set to different heights. Those pins prevent the lock tumbler from rotating unless an associated key or master key is inserted. Lock bumping circumvents the built-in security features by taking advantage of one of the inherent weaknesses of tumbler locks.

With the use of a bump key, a burglar can easily and quickly breach a door lock with minimal effort. He/she inserts the bump key one position short of full, then strikes the key with a hard object to force it in the remainder of the way. This quick action briefly causes all of the pins inside the lock to jump, giving the burglar a split second to rotate the tumbler and open the door. It takes practice to get good at bumping, but it is a practice that is easily mastered. A burglar with a set of 10 to 12 bump keys can breach just about any tumbler lock.

How Home Automation Helps

A home automation package with electronic door locks can be a very valuable tool for thwarting burglary. It starts with the locks themselves. Locks with built-in features to prevent bumping utilize a new kind of technology that is not so easily breached. Most of your major lock manufacturers now have bump-proof models available.

Home automation also helps by making it possible for door locks to communicate with the system’s control panel every time locking or unlocking takes place. Imagine your home equipped with electronic door locks on every first-floor door. Whenever someone unlocks a door, a text message is sent to your smartphone. You will know in an instant if someone has entered your home without authorization.

In addition, you can assign each family member a unique code for completing keyless entry. With home automation, there is no need to ever use keys again. Individual codes also make it possible for you to know exactly when someone in your family locks or unlocks the door. You’ll know when the kids arrive home from school and when they leave to visit friends afterwards. Should it be necessary to allow out-of-town family members or home service providers entry to your home, you can assign them unique access codes as well.

Thwarting burglars is a matter of staying one step ahead. If you are still using old style tumbler locks, consider installing a home automation system with new electronic door locks. You will make it a lot harder for people to get in your home without authorization.