Old Burglary Technique "Key Bumping" Making Waves Online - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

02/05/07-Longview

Old Burglary Technique "Key Bumping" Making Waves Online

Imagine someone making a key to get into your home, and you don't have any clue who they are.  The reality is anyone can do just that.

On the internet, people are learning about "key bumping." It's something crooks have known for decades, but on the Internet, people are posting videos of exactly how to break into a home.   And we felt you should know.  

"It's a very violated feeling, when everything that you own has been touched by someone. You don't know who it is.  It is a strange feeling," says Barbara Smith, who has lived the nightmare. The home where she used to live was broken into time and time again.

"For months, my house was upstairs. I had to sleep upstairs. I slept on my couch for over six months simply because I didn't feel safe," she says.

Anyone can kick a door in, and be inside in moments. But what if the bad guys were able to get in the same way you do -- by using a key? 

Today, crooks can turn the key on just about any home in America, probably yours.

"Probably 98 to 99 percent of them," estimates Tom Warren, President of Lock Doc, Inc. in Longview. 

The technique is called "lock bumping."  Crooks have known the trick for decades.   But now, how-tos are all over the Internet.

"If they walk in and they have the technique down, they can be in in under a minute," Warren says.

It's frighteningly easy.  Certain cuts are made to a standard house key, and it becomes a master key.  Then, the bumping.  It's that simple.  And if you don't think it can happen to your home, Tom Warren shows us otherwise.

"It's not that exceptionally difficult," he says.

Just a few taps, sometimes a few more, and "it just sounds like someone knocking on a door," Warren says.

If there's no one home, there's not much alarm -- especially if there is no alarm. 

After a demonstration on her home, Smith was surprised.

"I'm just amazed at how easy it is for someone to get into your home when you think it's secure," she says.

The good news is that we have no indication that any criminals in East Texas are using bump keys to get into homes.  However, knowledge is power.  And with new technology, there are other options out there to keep you and your family safe.

Brands of bump-proof locks are Medico and Multi-Lock.  The keys look different, the mechanism is advanced, and these are commercial grade locks.   Any lock can be defeated, but it's much harder.

They can cost in excess of $100.

"What's the value of what you're trying to protect versus what you're going to spend trying to protect it?" Warren asks.

Every door's lock is the front line of defense.  And as an extra level of security, only that locksmith will be able to make a key for your home.

"If you come in with a key from another locksmith, I don't even have the blank on file," he adds.

Barbara Smith says she's taking action. With this technique now all over the Internet, there's no time to wait for a break-in to happen again.

"It's very frightening. I live here alone. I'm in the comfort of my own home and i'm watching television or I'm in bed and someone could be in in a matter of seconds? That's very scary. I'm going to be rethinking my locks," she says.

We've received emails from viewers who had concerns about us airing this story, fearing we're giving information to criminals. We have left out details of a very important step in the process. But since videos are all over the Internet right now, we felt you should know so you can protect your family.

Morgan Palmer, Reporting morganpalmer@kltv.com

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