Student charged in Campus Housing Burglary

College campus’s are not immune to burglaries.  Thankfully this crime did not add to the home invasion statistics.  On March 27, 2014 COSETTE GASTELU sited,” Eight burglaries were reported in the Quad on Saturday, leading to the arrest of a Penn student for one of the alleged offenses.

Four burglaries were reported in Ware College House, and another four were reported in Riepe College House last weekend.

Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said that all eight of the burglaries resulted from individuals leaving their dorm room doors unlocked, as there were no signs of forced entry. Electronics, such as MacBook Pros, and cash were among the items taken from the burglarized rooms.

On Sunday night, the Division of Public Safety issued a safety advisory to Quad residents informing them that “several thefts of electronics that occurred within College Houses in the Quad” were under DPS investigation and that “in each case, entry was gained into the rooms through unlocked doors.” The message also reminded students to keep their doors locked.  “By leaving the door unlocked, people are tempting someone to come in and take what they don’t have.”

While leaving doors unlocked is a possibility and may have been the means for this burglar to enter having a locked door is not always a barrier of entry to someone who wants in.  Several methods are for unlocking pin-tumbler locks are circulating on the web.  The most popular method is “Lock Bumping” and 3D printed keys are on the rise.   It is imperative that each person keeps keys to their home, apartment, dorm with them and guard against giving out copies.   For extra protection while in the home a device like The Lock Locker may be used to prevent a key from unlocking the door.   Even the best deadbolt locks cannot stand up to a criminal with a key.

Read the full article at The Daily Pennsylvanian.




5 Security Tips to Keep You and Your Family Safe

What can be more important than the safety of your loved ones?  With crime on the rise it is a good idea to revisit simple ways to deter criminals from coming in your home and stealing your peace of mind or more.  By making a few simple changes in your day to day living, you may tighten weak spots in your home’s security and keep your family safer.

1.Refrain from announcing your whereabouts on social networking sites

While many of us love to share highlights of our vacation fun on social media,  broadcasting your whereabouts might not be the best idea.  If the wrong person learns you are gone for a week, it could make your home an easy    target.  Instead, save yourself the worry and post your pictures and stories once you are back home.

2. Don’t open your door to strangers

Although opening your door to strangers is not a good idea, you should make your presence known.  A current tactic of criminals is known as a “knock-knock” burglary.  The bad guys go to the door of a home and             knock.  When no one answers, that is their cue to go around the back and break in.  By announcing your presence, you stay safe behind a locked door and avoid someone from thinking no one is home.

3.  Lock your doors and windows and have good outdoor/indoor lighting

It may go without saying that one should lock their doors and windows.  Take a moment to reassess your habits.  Do you close all your windows when you leave or go to bed?  An open window is an invitation for a criminal to enter your home.

As for lighting, criminals don’t want to be seen, so good outdoor lighting tightens up another possible weak spot in home security, the dark.  Also, indoor lighting says that people are home so keep lights on a timer when you are out of town as another step to prevent your home from being targeted.

4.  Get to know your neighbors

Your neighbors can be a great asset to your home security!  They are unique in that their proximity allows them to see your home from a different perspective and notice when something doesn’t look or feel right  Get to know your neighbors, exchange numbers to notify one another if something is amiss, and collect one another’s mail while on vacation so the pile of uncollected mail doesn’t scream “nobody is home!”

5.  Keep your house key close at hand

New technology exposes weak spots in our home security.  It is now possible to use 3D printing to make a copy of a key and a new app allows one to get a key made from just a photo of a key. Don’t compromise your home security and peace of mind by putting your key in the wrong hands.  When handing your keys off to a valet, mechanic, etc…only give them the key to your car and keep your house key safely tucked away.  A valet key chain makes this simple to do.

As a final “tip”, store the local police/sheriff station number in your phone. By having the number nearby you can easily phone in a concern and avoid using 911 in a non-emergency.

Every active step we take towards home security is another layer that may deter a break in and prevent our home from being compromised.

The Lock Locker which prevents someone from unlocking your dead bolt, by either lock bumping or using a legitimate key, while you are home is a perfect example of a simple solution that adds another layer of security.

What is a bump key?

What Is A Bump Key?

Inside the U.S. alone, there are almost 3 million homes broken into every year. Most of us take precautions against a break-in with the best front door hardware that we can find but, unfortunately, those locks do not provide a guaranteed line of offense against a break-in. Hinges can be broken, bolts can be cut, and locks can be picked. Now, it is easier than ever for burglars to open key locks without the actual key, simply by using a bump key.

What Is A Bump Key?

A bump key is a key that has been made to easily override the locking mechanism of a lock. It can be made within minutes using a file on an old or uncut key, and it takes seconds to bypass the locking mechanism in the lock. It can fit into any key lock and it doesn’t take any brains to be able to use it, which means all kinds of criminals are carrying bump keys on them at all times.

The truth is that even a 12 year old could use a bump key with practice, and no signs of forced entry would be noticed by you. This means that someone could easily come and go while you are out or sleeping without your knowledge. Using a bump key is a process known as lock bumping, and experts say that lock bumping can be used on almost 90% of homes.

How Does A Bump Key Work?

Inside of a key lock there is an inner part that turns and an outer part that stays still. There are also two rows of pins that meet together at various heights inside of the lock. When the lock is locked, those pins meet together below the intersection where the inner and outer lock meet, which provides resistance against turning the lock. However, when the key is inserted into the lock, it pushes up the pins to create an even horizontal line (where the inner and outer lock meet) between all pins in both sets. At this point, there is no resistance between the inner and outer mechanisms, and the inner part of the lock can easily be turned to open the door.

A bump key uses the knowledge of how pins work. The key is cut with similar sized teeth from start to finish, instead of the various sizes of teeth you see on regular keys, and then inserted into the key lock almost all the way. A blunt object is then used to bump the key into the lock which strikes force against all the pins at once causing the top row to bump above the intersection where the inner and outer part of the lock meet, allowing a brief moment that the lock can be turned with no resistance. Constant pressure on one side of the bump key ensures that it is able to turn at exactly the right moment when the pins move above that intersection.

Everyone Can Learn To Use These

Locking picking used to be something for people who had experience or locksmith tools, but now even a 12-year-old can learn to use a bump key. Type is ‘what is a bump key’ and you will find instructional videos on how to make and use the key all over the Internet. An old key and a file is all that is needed to create the perfect bump key for any key lock. The more coverage these bump keys get on the news brings more awareness to criminals, and the ease of use is very appealing to anyone who has the intention of breaking into a home.

What Can You Do To Prevent Lock Bumping?

You do need to worry about lock bumping. Because so many homes are at risk of burglaries, you and your family could be injured or killed during a burglary gone wrong.

You may want to install lights around your main doors to deter criminals from using bump keys and being seen. However, the fact that bump keys work within seconds may outweigh the risk of being seen for most criminals.

Having a loud barking dog is a great way to scare a criminal off before they attempt to break in. However, the dog must be able to react the moment the burglar approaches the door or else they will quickly open the door and put your dog at risk for injury or escape. This approach should only be used with alert, large dogs who are capable of making anyone think twice about breaking in.

Installing an alarm will also help deter burglars from proceeding into your house after they get the door open; however, it will not stop them from getting the door open in the first place.

You can also buy The Lock Locker, which prevents your dead bolt from being turned no matter how strong the burglar is. This is the best prevention against lock bumping if your locks are susceptible to it. The burglar who uses bump keys is not planning on standing on the porch for minutes trying to open the door, and the inability to turn the lock will have them retreating from your home very quickly. Ensure you have The Lock Locker on every door in your home for maximum security.

Types of Door Locks

With So Many Types of Door Locks, What Do You Choose?

Choosing your door locks can be a daunting task considering there are so many types of door locks to choose from. The most important thing is safety, but aesthetics and ease of use are considerations as well. A lock will do you no good if it is so hard to use that you can’t get in or out of your house quickly in the case of emergency.

Front Door Security For Every Home

The truth is that in order to be as secure as possible, your front door is going to need a deadbolt. You have a couple of choices when it comes to deadbolts.

Single Cylinder Deadbolt – This is the most common deadbolt in homes. It requires a key to lock the outside of the door while the other side can be manually turned closed or open with a simply knob.

Double Cylinder Deadbolt – This deadbolt is not as popular because it requires a key to open and lock the deadbolt on both sides. One reason this may be a bad choice is because using a key to get out from the inside may be time consuming, especially in the case of an emergency. It can be hard enough to find our keys to get inside our house, and misplacing our keys to get outside can be very frustrating. However, if you have a door that has glass in or beside it, then the double cylinder deadbolt may offer more security because anyone who breaks the glass will not be able to reach in and turn the inner knob to let themselves inside.

Keyless Electronic Deadbolts – These have a keypad on the outside of the door and a manual knob on the inside of the door. They are programmable, which allows you to create your own code to lock and unlock the door. You can still use a key if you like on the keypad, but using the code makes keys a thing of the past for most people. The key will come in handy if the keypad were to ever stop working, which would be very unlikely.

Single Sided – If you just want to add some extra protection from the inside of your home, you can put in a single sided deadbolt that only has a manual knob on the inside of the house. This adds extra protection to a front door, especially if you are able to exit from another door and keep the single sided deadbolt locked at all times. Installing these on your main doors and exiting from your garage will lower your risk of a break in because most break-ins occur through the front or back door, and most burglars are only equipped to pick a key lock or engage in lock bumping. However, deadbolts can still be cut, so this isn’t a guarantee.

Considerations For At-Home Safety

A deadbolt is the best option for locking up when you go out of the home, but when you are in the home you can choose between a variety of options to add extra protection. In fact, installing more than one lock will make it harder for someone to break in, not impossible, but definitely harder.

The chain lock is always a great idea for security when answering the door. If the person does not seem trustworthy, then simply keeping the chain locked will give you an advantage if the person tries to force their way in. You will be able to use the lock to resist force and if you can’t close the door all the way, you should at least have time to grab a phone and call 911.

Other types of door locks will require you to open them if someone comes to the home, but they work well if you do not plan to open the door for strangers. For instance, a latch lock can add extra resistance against opening a door, and you can buy a wide variety of latch locks from thin to bulky. Of course, all of these latch locks needed to be mounted on the wall near the door or on the wall and the door, which means that with enough force the brace can still be knocked out of the wall.

In conclusion, there are many types of door locks, but installing a deadbolt will increase your front door security when you are away or when you are at home. Adding extra locks, such as a chain lock or a latch that work from the inside only, will help to somewhat reinforce your doors resistance to break in.  New products like The Lock Locker control access similar to chain locks or latches but do so much more effectively.   The Lock Locker actually restricts the deadbolt from turning making it impossible for someone to unlock ones door.  Thereby making it harder for a break in to occur.

Door Guard

Wondering About Door Guard Options?

When we are at home, the first thing we do to feel secure is lock the doors. When we are relaxing or sleeping we trust our door guards to keep intruders out and keep us safe. However, not all door guards are created equally and some can be picked, kicked, and drilled open with the right know how. There are many options to choose from, and this article will discuss a few of the most popular choices in homes today.

A Deadbolt Lock: The Most Popular Option

Most people have a deadbolt lock in their house. This is the number one door guard sold and installed, and there is something about locking this lock that makes the house feel extra protected.

The deadbolt cannot be moved once it is locked into position until the key is inserted or the knob is twisted. Because the bolt is quite strong, the door is not going to open easily from brute force such as kicking or body force, which provides some comfort against drunken people who don’t know how to pick a lock. However, this is not a hard and fast rule as some dead bolts have been shown to break with force, and a cordless drill may be all that is necessary to defeat these locks.

Chain Lock: A Close Second For At-Home Security

This is the second most common lock in the home. It consists of two parts. The chain plate holds the chain and is secured against the wall beside the door. The slide plate is attached to the door and the chain can be slid into that plate until it is securely locked.

You can even install a chain plate that is key operated. This means that when you leave your home, you can use a key to release the chain from the chain plate, then grab the chain from outside the door and attach it back into the chain plate using your key. At that point, your door utilizes the chain lock even when you are not home, and potential burglars cannot remove the chain from the chain plate without the key.

When home, many people enjoy the security of being able to open their door while still have a lock in place. This is especially good for older or younger people who are home alone and need some added security.

While movies often portray these locks as easy to kick-in, it is usually easier said than done. However, if a thief breaks through a key lock, and is confronted with a locked chain lock, then they may have the tools necessary to cut through the chain and still enter the home.

Other Security Door Locks

There are other door guards that are beneficial both while inside and outside of the home. They can even be combined to provide heightened security and make it harder or less appealing for an intruder to attempt a break in.

For instance, when you are inside the home, there are various latch locks available for the inside of your doors. A latch lock has one plate attached to the wall with a latch, and then another plate attached to the door with a bump that the latch can fit around. These can be in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and finding one that goes with your decor should be very simple.

When coming home, you may want to buy a door guard that doesn’t require a lot of fumbling around. For instance, you can buy an electronic security keypad lock that works with batteries and provides an easy way to enter your home when your hands are full. They can also re-lock after a few seconds for extra protection in case someone is following you into your home and is waiting for you to be vulnerable after entering. Often these locks have additional key locks for use too.

Lastly, one of the newest door locks is the fingerprint door lock. Obviously these locks run through fingerprint recognition, and many of these locks can recognize over 100 fingerprints for access, which makes them great for commercial purposes, but also reliable for home purposes as well. A fully functional fingerprint lock will give you the ability to not have to worry about lost or stolen keys again. You can simply use your fingerprint to lay claim to your home and keep all unwanted fingerprints out.

lock diagram

Why Even The Best Door Locks Aren’t Secure

We take all sorts of action to ensure that our home is secure. We lock our windows at night. We use outdoor lights to highlight areas around our home where potential intruders could hide. We buy the best door locks to put on our doors and keep intruders from breaking in. But what if those door locks are not as protective as we thought they were? What if someone could easily open them up and break into our house while we are out or while we are sleeping?

How Does A Lock Work?

Even though most key locks look different on the outside, they all function the same on the inside which makes picking locks an easy task once you know how to pick one. Inside the locks you will find tumblers which sit vertically to the actual locking mechanism. They each hold pins that are all various heights.

When the lock is locked, the upper and lower pins meet at various heights. However, when the correct key is inserted into the lock, it pushes pins up certain heights (which is why keys have peaks and valleys) in order to create a perfect horizontal line along the space of the inside of the lock that turns and outside of the lock that stays in place. When this happens, the lock can move freely with no pins blocking its ability to turn.

The Old Way To Pick A Lock

Picking a lock used to be a skill that was learned from a lot of practice. A pick and a tension wrench were needed to pick a lock with pins. The tension wrench would be inserted into the keyhole and then the pick would be used to push the pins individually up to their perfect position along the sheath line. The person picking the lock would have to be able to hear the pin go into place, or feel the pin go into place, which took a lot of patience and attention. There are still many people who can do this with even the best door locks, but most people can’t be bothered to sit and take the time required to learn how to do this properly.

Another method is called raking. This is a less precise method of picking a lock, but it can be just as effective. A tension wrench is still inserted into the lock, but instead of carefully pushing each pin up into place, the pick is raked along the pins quickly to bounce the pins up and above the line so that the tension wrench can quickly be turned.

Of course, both of these methods are still viable ways to pick a lock, but there is a new method in town that is easier and requires much less attention to detail.

Lock Bumping Is Growing Rapidly

The new way to pick a lock easily and quietly is with a bump key. Bump keys can be easily created, and people are teaching other people how to create them and use them via videos online. Lock bumping has gone viral, and more and more people are learning how to do it every day.

Bump keys can be created out of old keys or uncut keys. By using a simple file, the key is filed down to create small peaks and valleys like a regular key; however, they are not inconsistent in size like a regular key. Instead, the peaks and valleys are small and even, except for the last peak, which is a little bit higher than the others.

Once the bump key is created, it is inserted into a key lock. It is then pulled back a bit so that a blunt object can ‘bump’ the key into the hole. This does no damage to the key hole, but it does bump the pins up as it enters the hole and for a brief second those pins rise about the line where the turning mechanism and the solid mechanism meet, and this gives free access to turn the lock. All the person has to do is put pressure on the key as the pins rise above the line where the two parts meet, and it instantly and easily turns and opens the lock.

Even The Best Door Locks Aren’t Secure

Knowing how easy it is to create and use bump keys, you should be starting to get a good idea of how even the best locks are not going to provide safety if a key is all that is required to open it. Most people only need to use a bump key a few times before they can easily use it on any lock they encounter, which means that someone can break into your home within a second quietly and unnoticed, day or night.

Ensure that you have extra precautions when you are inside your home to keep yourself and your family safe from someone who thinks they have the upper hand on you.