How to tell if your locks have been tampered with


Fearing your locks have been tampered with is a worrying feeling. If you have just returned home you will be concerned that a stranger has been in your home and perhaps stolen your property. You may be afraid that they are still in your home. Perhaps most of all you are likely to worry that once the locks have been tampered with, your home is no longer secure and there is nothing to stop a burglar or stalker returning. If you suspect your locks have been tampered with, as well as calling the police, it is a good idea to contact a locksmith. They can advise you on suitable locks for your doors, helping you feel secure in your home once again.

There are a number of different ways a lock can be tampered with. A lock which has been forced may leave obvious signs, such as splintered wood, a warped frame or even a kicked in door. But there may also be more subtle signs such as bent latches or paint circles from where the lock fixture has been moved. If you are finding it hard to turn your key in the lock, this could be a sign that your lock has been picked or bumped.

Picking a lock, using a thin object such as a screwdriver or a pick, is a long established burglary technique. Picking a lock is time-consuming, but may leave few marks. To work out if your lock has been picked look at the metal around the keyhole. Over time that metal has become weathered and dull. If there are shiny scratches around the keyhole this could be a sign that someone has recently picked the lock.

Bumping is a technique used by locksmiths to open locks. A key has been filed into points so it resembles a saw. It is inserted into a lock and then withdrawn one click at a time, striking it to catch the lock tumblers. An amateur trying this technique may leave signs such as shiny marks around the keyhole from the hits. However when done properly, this technique leaves very few signs.

Suspecting your locks have been tampered with is a distressing feeling, but it is important not to panic. Contact the police at the earliest opportunity to report that you believe some has entered or tried to enter your property unauthorised. If you are confident it is safe to do so, you can check to see if any of your possessions are missing, but try to leave the area as undisturbed as possible for the police to investigate if necessary.

To improve security after a break-in or to prevent one from happening, contact a locksmith or a security expert to discuss possible improvements you can make. You could use a device to prevent a deadbolt being turned even after it has been unlocked or consider a sliding bolt. Most people are familiar with electronic locks on cars, but these can also be used in homes. These are not reliant on pins and tumblers to operate and so cannot be picked or bumped. Alongside new locks, security cameras and burglar alarms can be used as an added layer of protection. Whatever measures you use to keep your home secure, it is important to remain vigilant to any possible signs your locks have been tampered with.

For more information, visit Tony’s Locksmith.