Burglars utilize numerous methods to gain entry into homes. Some techniques involve lock tampering. Here are a few signs that someone has tried to break one or more of your home’s exterior locks and when to call a locksmith to have them replaced.

How Can Your Locks Be Tampered With?

1. Bumping

Originally a locksmith technique to open locked doors quickly, bumping has become a method for intruders. It applies to cylinder locks and requires using a “bump key” or filed-down key that fits in most locks.

The key goes into the lock with its hills and valleys facing upward, then the top of the key gets struck by a mallet or other heavy, blunt object. After striking the key, the burglar turns it counter-clockwise to attempt entry. Signs of bumping include shiny metal edges on the lock that look like they were struck and nicks around keyhole edges.

2. Picking

locksmithWhile locksmiths use pick tools to provide lockout services, burglars and vandals use them for unlawful entry. The tools range in size but often have a flat screwdriver-like appearance.

Other items, such as hair pins and dental picks, can also be used to flatten pin tumblers in cylinder locks and make them turn. Picking can leave small, shiny scratch marks on the lock.

3. Brute Force

Some burglars attempt break-ins simply by trying to break the entire lock. The most obvious sign of tampering, brute force indications can include damage to the door, such as sections that have been kicked in or hit with a large object.

In addition to serious door damage, you may notice paint discrepancies because the lock has been moved, as well as warped door frames, bent latches or deadbolts, and deep scratches. Burglars may also try to drill locks before destroying them with crowbars. Any other sudden damage or wear typically means a break-in attempt has occurred. 


If you think your locks have been tampered with, contact Competition Locksmith in Port Jefferson Station, NY, for replacement. These professionals offer 24-hour emergency locksmith services to keep homes, businesses, and vehicles safe. Call (631) 807-1366 today to make an appointment, or learn more about their lockout services online.