Lock Snapping Advice

Lock snapping is a technique employed by burglars to gain unauthorized access to a property. This method involves snapping a specific type of lock cylinder, which, when subjected to the right amount of force, can break and provide access to the locking mechanism. It’s important to be aware of this vulnerability and take measures to secure your locks against such attacks, such as using anti-snap locks or reinforcing your door’s security.

Lock snapping is a technique employed by burglars to gain unauthorized access to a property. This method involves snapping a specific type of lock cylinder, which, when subjected to the right amount of force, can break and provide access to the locking mechanism. It's important to be aware of this vulnerability and take measures to secure your locks against such attacks, such as using anti-snap locks or reinforcing your door's security.

Lock snapping has unfortunately become more common in recent years as it requires no special tools or expert knowledge. Burglars can use basic household items like a hammer, mole grips, or anything that can physically grab and hold onto a lock cylinder to gain entry. Shockingly, many readily available online videos demonstrate the force, speed, and ease of this technique that burglars are using to break into homes.

Some of the key points to consider about lock snapping:

  1. No Special Tools Needed: Lock snapping doesn’t require specialized tools or skills. Everyday items can be used to break the cylinder.

  2. Speed and Ease: Videos online showcase how quickly and easily burglars can gain access through lock snapping, even if the cylinder isn’t protruding from the handle. They can remove the handle, expose the cylinder, and compromise the locking mechanism using household tools.

  3. Rendered Security Measures Ineffective: Lock snapping makes other security measures on your door, such as shoot-bolts, dead-bolts, roller keeps, and anti-lift bars, useless. Once the cylinder is snapped and removed, burglars can access the locking mechanism with tools like screwdrivers.

  4. Quick Entry: In a TV documentary, a former burglar with no previous lock snapping experience was able to gain entry to a property within 40 seconds using this method. Experienced lock snappers can likely do it even faster, potentially within 15 seconds.

  5. High Number of Vulnerable Doors: Police estimate that around 22 million doors in the UK could be vulnerable to lock snapping, highlighting the widespread risk associated with this technique.

It’s crucial to be aware of this security risk and take measures to protect your home, such as installing anti-snap locks and reinforcing doors to prevent lock snapping attempts.

What Locks Are At Risk

Lock snapping primarily affects Euro Cylinder locks, which are commonly found in uPVC doors. These locks are at risk of lock snapping if they extend beyond 3mm from the handle. However, even if the lock cylinder doesn’t protrude significantly, it can still be vulnerable to tampering.

There are different types of Euro Cylinders:

  1. Single Cylinder: Provides key access from one side only.
  2. Double Cylinder: Provides key access from both the front and back of the door.
  3. Double Cylinder with Thumbturn: Features key access on one side and a thumbturn on the other.

Euro Cylinders come with various locking mechanisms, including disc tumbler, pin tumbler, and wafer tumbler locks. They also come in different sizes and profiles to suit specific door sizes. The profile most prone to lock snapping by burglars is the Euro Profile.

Anti-Snap Locks

Locks that meet the TS007 3 Star standard, also known as ‘anti-snap’ cylinders, are designed to withstand lock snapping attempts. These locks have integrated features to enhance their resistance to lock snapping:

  1. Snap-Off Section: Anti-snap cylinders have a section that is designed to snap off if a burglar attempts to snap the lock. This results in a shorter cylinder, making it more challenging for the intruder to grasp.

  2. Grip Defenders: Built-in grip defenders make it even more difficult for a potential burglar to get hold of the cylinder.

  3. Hardened Bar: Anti-snap locks feature a hardened bar that does not snap but rather flexes, making lock snapping almost impossible.

It’s essential to check your current locks to ensure they do not overextend, as this could make them vulnerable to lock snapping. If your locks appear susceptible, it’s advisable to consider replacing them with anti-snap cylinders to enhance your home’s security.

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