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Staying Safe: Keys available that open many locked doors

Staying Safe: Keys available that open many locked doors

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Deanie Wimmer reportingWe lock the doors to protect our homes and families, but you may not be the only one with the key. We looked into a troubling practice that could allow thieves to walk right through the front door.

It's called lock bumping. The keys that open many, if not most, locks are readily found on the Internet. We tried lock bumping in some neighborhoods, and what we found can help you Stay Safe.

Beth Hendrickson said, "I just think it's scary anyone can buy this key and get into my house."

We had a locksmith put our bump keys to the test. Without giving too much detail, a few taps opened the door.

Locksmith Rob Fehr said, "The Internet has really brought attention of the public to it." Keys and how-to videos on dozens of Web sites provide tools once privy to locksmiths to anyone who wants them.

Police with a few agencies have heard of the problem, but it's a tough crime to track -- a burglarized home with no sign of forced entry.

Jared Wihongi, with the Salt Lake City Police, said, "It can be difficult to determine whether this method was used at times, just because there is no evidence if it is used that it was indeed the method that was utilized by a suspect."

We tried it ourselves at Ellie Fuller's house, but we couldn't get in. Our locksmith told us lock bumping isn't as simple or quick as often portrayed. "It's definitely a concern in the industry, but it's not something people should be tearing their hair out over," Fehr says.

To Stay Safe, do have a decent home lock system. Some locks are bump-proof, but even a good lock makes a difference. Other tips are tried and true: Keep your eyes open to suspicious behavior in the neighborhood, and keep your house well-lit and your door in plain view.

Wihongi says, "Whether it's lock bumping or someone that's going to be breaking into your house, we'd offer the same precautions to people."

If you'd like more information on lock bumping, not the how-to's, but the lock systems that are bump-proof, click on the related link.

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