Tuesday, March 31, 2009
7 News Investigations: Key to Crime
You are sitting in your home right now, your door locked safe and secure, right? Odds are you are wrong, not safe that someone could unlock your door within seconds using a key now sold all over the country. Dangerous? You bet, and it's why Patrick Fraser is checking out "Key to Crime."
WSVN -- When you walk into your home you lock the door to feel safe. You may not be.
It just took a few seconds to unlock Leeor Geva's door.
Patrick Fraser: "When you lock your doors and go to sleep, do you think you are safe?"
Leeor Geva: "I think so but not anymore."
Mark Campbell thought the lock on his front door protected him.
Patrick Fraser: "Did you think your locks were secure?"
Mark Campbell: "It was surprising to see how easy they could get in with their precut keys like that, so it's, it actually makes you feel a little insecure about how safe you really are."
Precut keys called "bump keys" to match almost every lock made, and they can definitely unlock trouble.
Robbie Berg: "Now, when I do the bump key, three times is a charm."
Robbie Berg is the owner of Dr. Locks. It's not very hard for a professional locksmith to make a bump key.
Robbie Berg: "Now, basically, this is how you make the key, and I cut it to a depth of nine."
Your key opens your lock by lining up all the pins inside the lock. When you hit the bump key, the pins are pushed up into the lock, the key turns, the lock opens.
Robbie Berg: "Whoever goes to your door and wants to try, they will succeed with a bump key."
Locksmiths like Robbie can use the key to help people, but unfortunately, anyone can buy bump keys on the Internet.
We went on-line and paid $15 to a company in Florida and $50 to this company in Texas. Each sent us bump keys to match most locks to fit everything from padlocks to door locks.
Robbie Berg: "The bump keys are dangerous. The bump keys are a problem because people can get these keys on-line, and if you can get them on-line, you're not safe."
Patrick Fraser: "And you don't have to be a locksmith to bump a lock. I can do it, you can do it. So now you may be thinking why tell people about bump keys? Why show them how they work, how to make them? Good question. The answer? Because ignoring bump keys won't make them go away."
Richard Masten: "I think it's probably a better approach that we at least talk about it and make people aware of it so."
Dick Masten is the head of Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers. He says people need to know bump keys are falling into the wrong hands.
Richard Masten: "And I think you take a comprehensive look at all of your security around your home, not just the locks but your lighting, your alarm system. Having a pet indoors, we know is a crime deterrent."
Ninety percent of home locks can be bumped. Lyle Andrew could not believe his lock was popped in two seconds.
Locksmith: "Basically, that's all it is to open it."
Lyle Andrew: "I'm astounded. I mean, seriously, I can't believe it."
But there are ways to block bump keys from working.
Robbie Berg: "The solution is to get a Medeco lock because the Medecos are totally key restricted, bump proof, and that's the only way to solve the problem."
Medeco, Abloy and a couple of other companies make locks that cannot be bumped. Also, lock companies are creating new locks with bump pins to block bump keys.
Robbie Berg: "If it can be bumped, it should be replaced. It should be replaced."
When Lyle Andrew bought his new condo, he was told his door locks were top-of-the-line.
Lyle Andrew: "That lock was forever safe, impenetrable."
Robbie Berg: "That's true, but that doesn't have any effect on the bump key."
He was so surprised how easily his locks were opened, he wanted to see if for himself.
Lyle Andrew: "It is incorrigible. I mean, I just can't believe that that is possible. I really can't, not in a place where you are putting out a lot of money to feel secure to protect your valuables and protect your family."
Lyle is changing his locks, spending a little more money, so he doesn't hear a bump in the night from someone who has a Key to Crime.