Can You Tell If A Lock Has Been Picked – 2024 Guide

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Despite the current age affording a lot more safety to our belongings, there are still plentiful cases where we have to deal with potential break-in attempts. The security systems are decently pricey and rarely take priority over more important items in our life. However, if our locks have been tampered with we will be able to tell with a few nifty facts.

This also allows us to identify issues that we may need to eventually fix to prevent possible break-ins. The damage induced by the attempt could also result in potential issues later down the line so it’s safest to resolve it as soon as possible. The information below will help you identify the type of break-in attempt and cover the ways to deal with pick locking attempts as well as their consequences, so if you live in Tucson, Arizona, keep reading to find out more!

Types of break-ins

There are three main ways your lock could get broken into. These apply different principles that are meant to disable the lock. The tampering that occurs can vary in severity but in every situation, it is important to keep calm and evaluate the situation. Check if there is any telltale evidence of tampering and contact the authorities to report if you find any.

1. Attempt to break in by force

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This is the crudest style of tampering with the lock. They are usually done with blunt tools, kicks, or even crowbars in some cases. Tampering by force is usually characterized by splinters and ruined paint jobs, caused by the applied force. It can also be expressed through bent deadbolts and latches which can compromise the safety and functionality of your doors in the future. The latches should be taken care of as soon as possible, they may not last another attempt. The use of a crowbar may result in door frame bending or the doors themselves being warped. Needless to say, this may cost a lot to repair and can cause structural issues to the area around the doors as well. Consider getting tougher doors if possible to protect you from future intrusions.

2. Tampering through bumping

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Although it sounds like something that involves force and would be classified as a break-in by force bumping requires a bit more finesse. Firstly, it requires the use of a bump key. A bump key is a tool most frequently utilized by locksmiths for professional needs. However, these keys can be acquired for less ethical means without too much issue and can be used to break into houses with proper technique. It involves putting the entire bump key into the door’s lock, with the valleys and hills facing up, and then striking the top of the bump key with a hammer or another appropriate tool. This takes a few smacks but will eventually allow the burglar to turn the key and unlock the doors.

Signs of bumping are a bit more subtle, including any deformities and nicks around the edges of the keyhole. The form of the keyhole may also be changed, potentially even causing issues to regular actions of locking and unlocking the doors. If you notice signs of bumping being attempted on your lock check the other doors that lead into your house. It is possible burglars attempted to get in through other doors. Consult nearby neighbors and check if their locks have similar traces or if they had something stolen from them, this may be a sign of a serial burglar and can lead to a lot more security issues.

3. Break-in through picking a lock

Now for the most subtle way of tampering, picking a lock. This is the most traditional method of tampering with locks and includes the use of small tools to turn the lock and pick it. The picking of the lock involves raking the pins inside of the lock. This results in the lock being easily turned after the proper maneuvers have been performed. This method is rather gentle and has very subtle indications of having been performed. However, it can still be identified if you know what to look for. Take a peek inside of the keyhole itself, looking out for scratches in it. There will be a shiny metal look to the components if your lock has been picked.

Issues with car locks

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Sometimes the burglars won’t even attempt to break into the house itself but attempt to steal your car. The signs of such attempted break-ins differ somewhat so let’s see how you can recognize them.

Attempts to break into the car by sabotaging the lock may result in a few unique issues. The attempt to break in by force will usually result in the car’s doors being harder to open and close, with a way louder thud due to damaged rubber that usually dampens the sound. Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about bumping because car locks cannot be bumped due to not conforming to bump keys. Lastly, picking a car’s lock takes a different approach to the usual doors. These attempts utilize inflatable wedges that are inserted between the door and the car’s body. The wedge is then inflated for the sake of creating a gap.

This gap allows burglars to insert metal rods, hooks, and other objects that are able of slipping through the gap and unlocking the car by using the button on its inside. The damage will be more noticeable than the one on picked house doors. As gaps may persist, being easy to spot by anybody using the car. In case you notice any of these issues on your car, contact a professional to get a better insight. Check out what you can expect in terms of services from a locksmith from Tucson Arizona at

How to secure yourself in the future

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Once you’ve identified what sort of threat you are having trouble with it’s smart to take precautions as soon as possible. These will usually require you to contact a locksmith and evaluate the current damage as well as the required prevention measures. Changing your doors or their door frame may be important but even if this pricier investment is required it is worth the peace of mind and security it offers. In case the whole neighborhood is having issues with tampered locks it may be useful to organize a neighborhood watch.

Try pooling together money to afford some security cameras that will cover the streets and hopefully catch perpetrators in the act. Contact your local authorities and try to get some assistance with the issue either in form of police patrols or funds to resolve the issue yourself.

Regardless, knowing is half the battle. We hope these tidbits of information have helped you with that.

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