Your lock is one of the most important components of your home or business security system. Thus, stay vigilant and aware of the state of your lock. Discover five telltale signs that may indicate that a trespasser has recently compromised your lock. You can then take the necessary steps to mitigate future break-ins and protect yourself, personnel, property, and other users.

1. Scratches

Scratches are an indication that an intruder has picked or attempted to pick a lock when they appear near the edges of the lock. Lock picking is a method of tampering with locks that uses small tools like a flat screwdriver to turn the lock and a pick to manipulate the pin tumblers.

As the tools move around inside the lock, they can cut into the edges and leave scratch marks. These marks are usually finer than those from a key and appear as fresh, shiny metal around the keyhole.

2. Metal Nicks and Shiny Metal Traces

Metal nicks below your lock or door show that there was a recent attempt to force the lock open with bumping. Bumping is a locksmithing approach in which a burglar uses a conventional key with saw-like teeth and places it into a compatible lock. They then gently hammer the dummy key to catch all pin tumblers.

Bumping can leave no trace if done correctly. But, if it happens too violently, it can create new nicks and shining metal traces around the keyhole as proof that a trespasser bumped the lock.

3. Missing or Extra Spare Keys

The lack of spare keys can signal that a lock has become insecure. People hide spare keys to use when they lose their primary keys. However, trespassers can look for keys in obvious locations like under flower pots and use it to enter or prepare for a break-in attempt.

Also, sometimes a previous tenant or property user can have an extra key even if the key has a do not duplicate stamp on it. Locksmiths can duplicate the key when ownership changes hands or previous owners vacate the estate. You can reduce the number of suspects in a break-in if you have this information. In such cases, the security of the lock remains undermined until you replace or rekey the lock.

4. Improper Function

Improper lock function occurs due to bumping and snapping, two popular burglary strategies, that cause the lock to malfunction. Bumping, as previously mentioned, employs an improvised key to push the tumblers to release.

A trespasser who uses snapping will hammer any item that can hold the projecting part of the lock until it snaps, which renders the lock’s security worthless. Lock snapping is most common with locks that resemble the Euro Cylinder profile in unplasticized polyvinyl chloride (uPVC) doors.

5. Damaged Fixtures

When a trespasser attacks a lock violently, they can bend or distort a lock, door, or frame. Brute force can cause significant damage to door fixtures, with drills and crowbars to damage the lock body, or kicks on the door to unhinge it.

Curved or bent metal deadbolt locks or latches, deformed wood on doors or door frames, fragmented wood on the floor around the doorway, and paint marks near the lock installation are all signs of this type of compromise.

If these signs are present, lock replacement is usually necessary, and further safeguards, such as stronger locks, can assist to deter another perpetrator.

If the current lock does not provide you with sufficient deterrence from break-ins, consider an upgrade to an electrical lock system. Contact us at DuPage Security Solutions Inc. to learn how we can help you with your door security.