How Do You Know If Your Lock Has Been Forced?

How Do You Know If Your Lock Has Been Forced?

Lockpicking is an entry method used by unscrupulous people to enter the property illegally. Maybe you’ve already taken the necessary steps to secure your doors, and the only option left for a motivated thief is to pick your locks.

It may also be that an exterior garden or service door is less secure and therefore a godsend for a burglar. The fact remains that you suspect that your locks have been picked. So how do you know for sure?


Picking is a so-called “fine” lock opening technique that allows a lock to be opened without breaking it and rarely leaves visible indications. A locksmith can disassemble the lock and look for marks on the keyway, pins, actuator, and pin chambers. You can research these indications yourself, but without professional testing, there is no way to make conclusive statements as to whether or not a lock has been picked.


Some law enforcement officers may have experience or training to identify certain signs of break-ins. However, police officers are unlikely to have the locksmithing experience required to determine whether or not a specific lock has been picked.


It is not always easy to know where a seasoned burglar went (window, door, garage, etc.). You should look for signs that the house is not as you left it. There should be indications like open and searched drawers and missing valuables (especially electronics). Without these obvious signs of a break-in, you can have a professional locksmith check for evidence of so-called “fine” lock opening, such as lock picking.


The lock can be picked, but some locks are difficult enough for less experienced burglars to pick.


It is picking a lock once is unlikely to damage a lock. This is why locksmiths prefer to open a lock rather than pick it up so that the hardware does not need to be replaced after maintenance. However, repeated picking attempts can potentially damage the lock.


Lock picking describes a method of opening locks without having the correct key. There are many ways to unlock a door without a key, but picking also indicates that the lock is manipulated through the keyway and not the door, latch, or latch. Picking is non-destructive for a lock and is therefore secret. A secret entry means that the method is detectable by a professional evaluation but is otherwise invisible.


Standard picking methods include raking (or scraping) and “pin by pin” (pin picking). Although they are distinct, they work on the same principle from a mechanical point of view. Raking is the least precise application of the methods. “Pin by pin” involves manually aligning all the pins with the hook. But both processes boil down to the use of tools like the tension tool, the hook, the diamond, or the snake. The tension tool is inserted into the keyway at the top or bottom and tightens the locking cap, allowing the hook to manipulate the internals.

These methods are the default representation of picking and are what most people imagine when picking is mentioned. We can consider this as standard picking. Most locks use a tumbler pin system, so the internals handled are likely to be ‘pins.’

Visible indications of standard picking

– Cuts and grooves at the top and/or bottom of the keyway.

– Small scratches on the pins, distinct from normal wear.

Without disassembling the lock, you can look at the top and bottom of the keyway for small scratches that suggest using a tensioning tool. Once the lock is disassembled, the pins can also be examined for scratches and small cuts.

How to Prevent Standard Picking

– Safety pins.

– Non-standard types of locks.

– Complex keys.

If you need to upgrade your apartment security but can’t upgrade your locks, you can always re-pin your lock. This will not change the keys but rather replace the standard pins with security pins of a similar length. This does not create any changes that will disrupt key management. The only difference will be that your lock will be less susceptible to picking. However, if you have the option of upgrading to a more secure lock, consider something other than a standard tumbler lock.


Knocking requires a knock key that matches the make and model of the lock and some type of blunt object to knock the key (thus knocking the key). The kinetic energy of the blow is transferred to the key and finally to the pins. The key is turned immediately after the pins jump, hoping nothing is caught at the shear line.

This is a method that only works on tumbler pin locks. It will not work on disc locks and most car locks. Some variations of tumbler pins, such as cruciform and tubular locks, can be considered impact-resistant. And most high-security tumbler locks that use safety pins are unlikely to be vulnerable to this exploit. But if the thief did not know, there is a chance that he tried in vain to open the lock.

Visible impact key indications

– Semi-uniform bumps on several spindles.

– Serrations on the sides of the pins.

– Notches on pin chambers.

Lock shock necessitates a great deal of force, which results in more obvious forms of superficial damage. The traditional picking’s dents and scratches left on the pins will be larger and deeper. When the lock is disassembled, you will notice very distinct and relatively deep marks on the pins. There may also be serrations on the sides of the pins where they have been caught on the shear line without clearing it.

You may see nicks on the side of the pin chambers of the locks that have been overtightened in one or more failed knock attempts. It is also possible that the repeated slamming of the key also deforms the face of the lock.

How to Prevent Bumpkey

– Safety pins.

– Locks without pin.

– Complex keys.

While single-prong picking can open any existing lock, with the right tools, training, and time, the Bumpkey method cannot open every lock.


A burglar is more likely to learn to bypass a lock than to learn to pick a lock in the traditional sense. This is because the workarounds work the same way every time, with a near guarantee of success. Circumventions take various forms, but all work on the principle of exploiting a fault, a flaw in the locking system, without picking the safety of the lock. These design flaws allow safety pins to be bypassed. The actuator is the component of the lock that moves to allow a spring-loaded latch to move freely or retracts and throws a lock. On the back of the cylinders, there will be a tailpiece or cam that rotates in response to the rotation of the appropriate key. The actuator or cam can be moved to open the lock in some locks without rotating the cylinder. This is known as a bypass.

Visible indications of bypasses

– Markings on the actuator.

– Non-standard cuts and wear on cams/tailpieces.

– The marking will have a variety of depths and angles.

You will have to dismantle the lock to check for signs of manipulation of the bypass. Marks on the groove or face of the lock are extremely rare. Bypasses by their nature interact almost exclusively with the actuator, tailpiece, cam, etc. All of these parts are inside the lock.

Normal use should not leave scratches with different depths and angles. If anything rubs against these parts during standard use, it should contact consistently and predictably. If a bypass tool is used, it will miss its target several times and fumble around in a way that your wrench wouldn’t.

How to Prevent Bypasses

– Change the locks.

– Install specific anti-bypass parts.

Locks that can be bypassed only give the illusion of security. Beyond what is tested and considered, a weakness has been discovered, and the lock no longer provides the desired level of security. This means that the best way to prevent a bypass is to purchase a lock that has no documented bypass. Changing the locks is highly recommended if you find that your lock is vulnerable to a bypass.

Some brands’ inventory bypasses as they are discovered and offer anti-bypass add-ons that can be retrofitted to existing locks. If they don’t, third parties and locksmiths can step in to fill the void in the market. But watch out for these “solutions,” as bypass tool makers are also likely to be looking to maintain sales and will attempt to find a bypass for the anti-bypass. The best way to secure a door equipped with a bypass is to remove the lock, as it is likely to be repeatedly targeted by individuals interested in bypasses.

Persistent questions.

After taking in all of this information, it’s sadly unlikely that you’ll have the simple answer you’ve been looking for.


Often, you will have no way of knowing if your lock has been picked unless you get the advice of a professional locksmith tampa. But if you can see marks on the face of the lock that suggests repeated impact or tool marks, it may be worth investigating, provided there is evidence of burglary or attempted burglary. ‘breaking in. But even with proof, the burglar didn’t necessarily pick the lock.


If it is clear that the lock has been opened, it is possible that it was done with an existing key. If you hid your duplicate house key incorrectly (we strongly advise against hiding a duplicate key in your garden!), It could have been utilized. Someone who has access to a key could be blamed, or an unauthorized copy could have been made. You should consider changing the locks, instituting better key control, or upgrading to locks using patented keys. If the correct key is used, there will be no pick sign.


Often, there are simpler ways to open a door than picking a lock. If there are any openings, such as dog doors or unlocked windows, entering without ever fiddling with the using a key is possible. On exterior doors adjacent to non-locking pet entrances, use double-sided deadbolts.

If you believe your security has been compromised, it is critical to determine how this happened to protect yourself in the future. Preventing another burglary is the most critical aspect of responding to a burglary. Some locks will still be vulnerable to picking, but your door locks may be pick-proof to the point of being unpickable.

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