Three out of five burglaries committed in the UK are done using methods known as lock bumping and lock snapping. The euro-lock cylinder found in 98% of all uPVC/ double glazing type doors, of which the vast majority (estimated to be between 90 – 95% of the UK market) are vulnerable to these methods of burglary. This goes a long way to explaining why burglars are adopting these techniques at an alarming rate.
Lock bumping is a lock picking technique in which a burglar uses a specially crafted ‘bump key’ that can open all locks of the same type. The specially designed teeth of a bump key transmit a slight impact against all the bottom pins in the lock, which in turn transmits the force to the driver pins. Due to the elastic nature of pin movements, the driver pins jump from the key pins for a split second. In this moment of opportunity the burglar turns the key and voilà, instant access to the property.
High quality locks are even more vulnerable than cheaper ones because the more precise manufacturing tolerances within the cylinder make bumping easier. Less force is required and the pins move more smoothly, making the burglars job easier. To make things worse, because of the nature of bumping it leaves little or no sign of damage to the lock, which could leave you without a valid insurance claim.
The other technique, called lock snapping, has become increasingly prevalent in West Yorkshire. West Yorkshire Police reported that a quarter of all burglaries were being committed by criminals using this technique. Lock snapping basically involves using everyday tools to apply enough force to break certain types of cylinder locks, which can typically be done in under a minute. It is a technique that became popular in Bradford, and has since spread to Leeds. It works best on cheap locks, so if you’re thinking of changing your high quality locks for cheaper locks that are harder to bump, think again.
Leeds is a burglary hotspot, with the third highest burglary rates in the UK. Last year the Audit Commission study said that some parts of the city had burglary rates three times the national average. Leeds student property is particularly vulnerable due to students being away for long periods several times a year.
Burglary is no fun for either a tenant or a landlord, so what can be done to help combat the criminals? Replacing the old euro cylinders with anti-snap and anti-bump locks will definitely go a long way to keeping a property safe and secure.
Because we are concerned about the increasing frequency of burglaries, Let-Leeds will be fitting anti-snap locks to all properties over the next 12 months to give our tenants added security and peace of mind to our landlords!
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