Key Bumping Used By Burglars To Break Into Your Home

Thought your front door lock was safe? Have you heard of key bumping?

A relatively new security problem is the threat of “key bumping,” in which someone with a ‘bump key’ can open most locks that are commonly used in homes…

(except for those which I’ll show you in a minute…)

Lock bumping, also called key bumping or bump keying, is a lock picking technique used to unlock standard pin tumbler cylinders with a ‘bump key’.

The method is one used by criminals to gain access with a bump key. It is a growing problem, globally. Bumping attacks are becoming widespread as the method can be used to unlock most standard residential cylinder locks which are not bump resistant.

Most home doors use standard cylinder locks…
…which are vulnerable to key bumping.

The bumping method is non-destructive. When a bump key is used to break into a house there may be no signs of forced entry or damage to the lock.

What can you do about it?
First, awareness of the vulnerability is your first step to better security. Most people have never heard of this, and don’t realize how easy it is for burglars to get into your home.

Whenever you buy new locks…
Check to be sure that they are specifically designed to be BUMP-RESISTANT.

Video from CBS News on Key Bumping:

The point is this… If you’re ever replacing a lockset, or buying a padlock, I suggest to get one that’s bump proof. There’s a wide variety of choices.

Bump Proof Lock Sets
(view on amzn)

Lock Set that's key bumping proof

How To Keep Someone With A Key From Getting In:

[ Read: Door Security Bar – Extra Door Security Layer for Home Security ]

>> My review of an even better door security bar – The Buddy Bar Door Jammer


  1. Another problem is a “Key Gun” that professional Locksmith uses. These “guns are used typically when you get locked out of your car or home and they are supposed to be illegal to own but a criminal with one can access almost anything with a lock. These guns are supposed to be kept in a secure location such as safes when not in use but some locksmiths leave them in there truck thus giving a thief access to them. Once in the hands of a thief almost any lock can be opened in seconds and this gun leaves no mark of jimmying thus it looks like someone had a key to enter your dwelling or car. The new way to gain access is this “key bumping” as it does almost the same thing. It mimics the real key and gives access to homes or business structures. There are several locks that cannot be opened by “key bumping” but the majority of locks are vulnerable to entry. We think after we set our locks we are safe from burglars but we are not. Switching locks that cannot be bumped are very expensive compared to tradition locks but for what they are protecting is more valuable. Even if you have alarms they can be disabled by those who know how so how to protect your home? The police say that most home burglars know the person living there thus there routine. We are living in a world of technical advancements and not all are good. We trust people we don’t know and feel safe when we leave our homes but are we really? Just another way for the criminals to achieve access to our homes and cars.

  2. This is why a door security bar (mentioned in Ken’s earlier article on burglaries) is so important. The locks keep out honest people only. Barring a door adds mechanical strength to the door to help prevent a home invasion through that portal.

    Of course, this concept only strengths the door, but ramming it has always been done, something that can be seen either in medieval depictions or in present day ramming by law enforcement SWAT teams.

    A criminal could merely use a hole saw bit to drill into the door and then flip tha door bar, but that takes time. It also means close quarters combat because the criminal will be taking fire from the defenders while attempting to do so.

    The point is to slow things down to create a lot of effort to repel invaders, and hopefully them deciding it’s not worth losing invaders to gain admittance.

  3. I accidentally “key bumped” someones car. So embarrassing. I had parked my car, went in to do my business, came and someone and had an identical car to mine, and I wasn’t paying attention. I thought why is my key not working. Please Lord don’t make me call the hubby cause I can’t unlock a door! I wiggled it and played with it and finally it unlocked. When I opened the door and saw the drinks in the cup holders (I have no cup holders in my old car). I was like rut-roh. I locked it back and ran. It didn’t even damage the lock! You couldn’t tell.

    I had a dog in tow, because we were leaving the vets, so I threw her in and left. I parked down the road and adjusted everything. I should never have told the family. I am called a would be car thief now.

    So if I bumbled on it accidently, I cannot imagine what professional thieves can do, in literally minutes or seconds.

  4. You can own and buy lock picks for personal use and/or hobby.
    Just like a crowbar or large screwdriver can be a tool for the average person but tools to comit a crime for others.
    It’s shocking just how unsecured your house is to even a boob with a set of picks and twenty minutes!! An apartment with a master key,,you might as well leave your door open!! I’ve lived in several apartments that took no longer to pick the locks than to use the keys!!!

  5. I’d also like to add that if you DON’T own a picking set (general lock, ward, wafer) in the US – you really should. I’m not trying to pawn or hock for anyone but take a look at what sparrow offers, being international and shipping as “tools” it flies under the radar of a lot of inspection. I do own their snap gun, all of their bump keys, ward & wafer set, the international set but far more specialized rakes and torques from other vendors. My kit is smaller than my father’s but I’ve been able to open everything he has.

    Again, I’m a licensed registered locksmith and this is the BS I’ve learned to avoid helping friends and family visiting the unfriendly states. Most feel differently and as an added bonus, be sure to ask for every unwanted lock your friends may have! My Dad has over 1200, I have around 560 – mostly padlocks, luggage, mail, etc but it is a lot of fun when there isn’t anything else to do.

    To the message of the post – if something was to happen, a collapse of order, however brief. Make friends with a locksmith if you need doors open, or better yet, become one yourself.

  6. Our spare key is in an empty coffee can on a shelf in the shed. I’d rather a burglar find that key than smash windows to get in…

  7. Can just anyone buy a bump key and bump a kiwiset door lock? I had someone get into my house over the years with out braking a window. they some how opened both my doors to get in and then relocked 2 deadbolt door locks. I keep changing the locks over the years but they still keep getting in my house.

    1. Meghan

      what kind / type of windows do you have?

      many windows can be finagled/wiggled open from the outside.

      other thing is….
      any chance whoever who purchased locks from made a key?
      any chance someone you trust made a copy?
      are you hiding a key anywhere…someone may be watching where

  8. I know they came in the door and not the windows I have the keys in my house and not outside were anyone could find them. I’m sure they have a bump key. I don’t thank any one would buy up a bunch of locks to get a key that match mine from a store.

    1. -buy yourself some small motion activated video cameras, and set them up at different angles on all doors. put some inside and out. just make sure they are hidden.

      -on the other hand, over the years I have been shocked at how it is possible to get in to many different types of windows….Basement, main floor, second floor.

  9. Just get yourself a dog that will attack any burglars trying to get into your house and hopefully it will rip his face off,it does work

  10. Put a false lock on the door and get an electrician to divert a powerful blast of electric to it and activate it when you go out so it lifts the burglar right off his feet and launches him right across the street when he tries to break in,I’m not sure if it is legal but who cares for these snakes

  11. Just an FYI when you go to Menards and look at the locks. If they have the same series number on them they have the same keys. So,… That being said,. I decided to count how many matched. I was buying the double set of Kwikset and they had 17 on the shelf. There was 5 sets of 2, 1 set of 4 and 3 that had no match but who’s to say the match wasn’t already purchased. Bottom line is there is multiple sets of your house keys out there. Especially if your buying your locks from big box stores or online. Hire a professional and check there reviews first. Don’t be afraid or to lazy to shop around. Your Safety and Peace of mind is at Stake here!

  12. Someone who is unknown and a stranger to me has stolen my keys with my flash drive and that alone is illegal. however my family insist they do not have a key to my house which is strange because I did not say that they did. They also insist that no one has a key to my house even though they had one of my locks changed without my consent. None of this statement is false. And I am concerned because when I raise concerns about my safety I was told by a law firm that I may have been denied my rights as a citizen in my city state country if someone I law enforcement accused me of lying. which is not the law. My estranged criminal family may not have stolen the key to my home, but they also have no way of knowing that no one else had possession of the stolen keys to my home and yet still testified that no one has a key to my house except me while they were in the process of keeping me locked out of my own home by having the locks to my front door changed without my knowledge, permission consent or any justifiable legal reason. Often times news reports say there was no sign of forced entry in a home that has been trespassed or vandalized, yet if someone has stolen my keys and has been using them to enter my home without my permission there would be no sign of forced entry and still they would be breaking the law in jeopardizing my safety and compromising the security of my private residence. I do not think this is only state law, I think this would be a federal and local law as well. SO why would such a LAW go unenforced and why would I be threatened that someone will accusing me of a home break in if I report that my keys were stolen and criminals in my area perhaps politically connected criminals are using the inside of my home as a spectator pass time? Please specify the laws I can refer to when I go back to the police station in my local district to file a police report.

    For the record I am not interested in 50 shades of grey style psyco thriller torture. So that cannot be the cause for this ongoing threat to my well being.

  13. I saw on Youtube how easy it is to pick a lock, so I thought I’d give it a try. I was shocked to see how easy it is to do. I opened up our deadbolt on the very first try. I could get into our house, picking both locks in under a minute, and I’ve never done it before!

    I’m getting a bump-proof, I wonder about those digital ones.

    1. No kidding! When I first discovered the bump vulnerability years ago I switched out all my locks!

  14. Don’t bother with bump proof!!! My theives got through those too. When I called the company who made them they admitted they were “bump resistant” not bump proof!!! My Adt system failed repeatedly also. My mini cameras were stolen and my hunting cameras tampered.

      1. I had one of them for years and found out one time when a locksmith came to change the locks after another robbery that they were ineffective. He was able to open the door with that device on it with no problem.

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