Over the past three years, more than 1,200 families have faced the worst possible start to Christmas by having their home burgled on Christmas Eve. Research by leading home security firm UAP, using data from 37 of the 43 police forces across England and Wales, has found that the number of residential burglaries reported on Christmas Eve has risen by six per cent over the three-year period – from 422 in 2014 to 449 in 2016.
Despite more and more of us facing the threat of our homes being broken into – the latest national crime figures also show a six per cent annual increase in burglaries, too many homeowners are not aware of a growing tactic used by burglars to get into houses. 87 per cent of the 2,000 homeowners questioned in a nationwide survey, never heard of lock snapping or lock bumping, which are the 2 most common methods burglars use to break in to a cylinder lock. And what is even more worrying is that many doors around the country are fitted with poor quality and cheap cylinders that offer little or no security against these burglary methods.
Lock snapping hampers residential security
Lock snapping is one of the most common burglary methods and is thought to account for around a quarter of all break-ins. It takes place when force is applied to the outside of the lock cylinder, snapping it at the weakest point, the central screw hole. Once snapped, it makes it easy to manipulate the lock into opening using tools such as a screw driver. Cylinders can be snapped if they protrude as little as 2mm from the outside door handle – so make sure you have the correct size cylinder fitted to your door so it sits flush to the door handle.
Lock bumping is when a key that has been specially cut (called a bump key) is placed in to the cylinder, pulled back a couple of notches and the end of the key is then hit, usually with a mallet or hammer. This causes the pins inside the cylinder to vibrate up and down, which eventually line up and trick the cylinder in to opening. There is often very little evidence to prove forced entry which can result in insurance companies refusing to pay out, as they believe you have simply forgot to lock your door. Make sure your cylinder lock is mechanically anti-bump.
UAP Locks prevent lock snapping and bumping
Manchester-based UAP, which produces locks which have technology to prevent snapping and bumping, are encouraging people to consider giving the gift of security this Christmas by upgrading their locks. In a television campaign featuring ex-Coronation Street star Sean Wilson, they are highlighting the dangers of leaving our homes exposed. UAP home security expert Barry Halpin said: “This year, far too many of our homes and businesses will be left exposed to unwelcomed festive visits from burglars who want to ruin what should be one of the happiest times of the year.”
“Our research shows criminals are increasingly targeting homes and businesses at Christmas to steal brand new presents and goods, and they are exploiting the ignorance of basic security measures. Simple steps, such as upgrading locks to high security BSi Kitemarked cylinders and installing high security BSi Kitemarked door handles will help to prevent bumping and snapping, making it much harder for burglars to enter your home. You can go to bed relaxed and safe in the knowledge that your presents and belongings are protected over the festive period.”