The Friday gathering: Ban bump keys edition

By glblguy

Ever heard of a bump key? If not, you need to. A bump key is a normal house key that fits your lock but has a special series of cuts. If you put the key in the lock and tap it with a screwdriver while turning then the lock will open. Basically, the tap on the key bumps the pins in the lock exposing a split second when everything lines up and the lock will open. Bump keys work on deadbolt and doorknob locks. They are cheap and easy to obtain. They literally cost just a few dollars on the internet. They are so simple to use even children can master this new break-in technique.

Rob, a good friend of mine has started a web-site that promotes not only awareness of bump keys and the threat they provide to our homes, but also has an online petition that will be sent to U.S. Legislators in hopes to put laws in place banning on controlling the availability of bump keys.

Please note, Rob has no hidden agenda here. The site has no advertisements, doesn’t sell anything and adheres to strict privacy policy. The site does make you aware of solutions that make bump keys ineffective, but there are no product or affiliate links.

My loyal readers know as well I would never guide you to something I didn’t use or endorse personally. Rob is a straight up guy that in my opinion is doing something critically important to the safety and well-being of our homes.

So please head over to Ban Bump Keys, read the info, watch the videos, sign the petition, and let’s keep these crazy things from being so widely available and easy to obtain.


You might want to sit down before you read this…I actually remembered to participate in a few blog carnivals this week! Now that you’ve recovered, let me share with you the carnivals I was in and which articles were included:

Thanks to all of the hosts for doing such a great job! Having been a host before, I know how much work it can be!

The Gathering

Photo by: RobotSkirts

16 Responses (including trackbacks) to “The Friday gathering: Ban bump keys edition”

  1. An American in France Says:

    I don’t think any criminals in our area are smart enough to order anything online, but I still agree that there should be legislation on this.

    What about stalkers and stuff… they’d definitely be the type to use keys like that!

  2. Rob Yaggie Says:

    Good morning glblguy,

    Thanks for the kind words and for your support with the effort to “Ban” Bump Keys.

    When I say “Ban” I don’t mean it in a literal sense. A couple of people have told me bans are useless and impossible so I want to assure your readers that this is worth doing.

    By signing the petition you are making it known that enough is enough. You don’t support a permissive society that accepts these keys. You don’t appreciate someone making easy, unethical money selling these keys. You have a right to be informed and hopefully an obligation to inform others.

    Updating the laws to include bump keys is not intended to make the problem go away. However, right now when a suspicious person is picked up (in 48 states) and found to have a bump key on them, it isn’t a crime. They walk. The same is not true for a lock pick set but it is for a bump key. Delaware and California just updated their laws to specifically include bump keys in July 2008. It is worth the effort to have this done in the remaining states and your support will help make it a priority.

    Thank you to everyone for supporting this cause and sharing it with your friends.

  3. Laura Says:

    A lot of great post. Thanks!

  4. George Says:

    I don’t understand what the big deal is. A ban wouldn’t make any sense, since any minimum-wage-earner at Home Depot can make a bump key using a ten-cent key blank and the store’s key cutting machine.

    Lock picking isn’t a problem, so why have a petition and worry about it? If somebody wants to break into a house, they’ll do it the tried-and-true way – they’ll BREAK A WINDOW.

    Picking a lock, even with a bump key, isn’t as easy as you make it sound. Doing it well takes a ton of practice, and most criminals simply don’t bother – there are easier ways to accomplish their crimes.

  5. Will Says:

    I’m sorry, but a ban won’t do any good. Then it will assure that only criminals can have them because they’re very simple to make with a blank and a file.

    And as @George said – there are many other ways to break into a house. Bump keys aren’t the problem. People who want to break into houses are the problem. (And people who like to show off that they have a lot in the house worth breaking in for).

  6. glblguy Says:

    George, it’s not a ban per say, but more about making them illegal. Also, while I understand what you are saying, your argument contains a great deal of speculation. Do you have any articles or stats you’re basing your argument on?

    Also, banning or making them illegal sure wouldn’t hurt anything, but only help.

  7. Frugal Dad Says:

    Some great reads this week, thanks for sharing my article with your readers. I had seen a video going around via email about these bump keys, but appreciated you sharing more here. Scary stuff.

  8. Rob Yaggie Says:

    George and Will

    Thanks for your comment and for voicing your opinions on this effort.

    A literal ban wouldnÂ’t make senseÂ… it isnÂ’t that easy. Let me tell you what does make sense to me and why IÂ’m doing this.

    1) The minimum-wage-earner you mention at Home Depot right now hasnÂ’t had training to recognize a bump key and will make copies of them. A reputable locksmith wouldnÂ’t copy one. Support of this petition in great numbers will encourage manager to train their key cutters to look out for bump keys since it is an important issue to customers.

    2) If you search on Google you will find many news stories that credit bump keys as the method of entry. Bump keys are really being used.

    3) Just because this doesnÂ’t eliminate the tried-and-true way of breaking a window or kicking in a door doesnÂ’t mean it doesnÂ’t make sense. If someone specifically targets your home and wants in then they will get in. However, most burglaries are crimes of opportunity and protecting yourself from bump keys removes some of the opportunity. In the solutions I donÂ’t focus solely on bump keys but instead give higher level security tips. If people simply give more thought to a few of the easy free things they can do to improve their safety as a result of this effort then it makes sense and was worth doing.

    4) Before putting it all on the line with this site I had to make sure this threat was real so I bought some bump keys and tried it. My order was delayed 3 weeks because of the backlog (a lot of people are buying these keys). And yes these do work and it isnÂ’t that hard.

    Again George, I appreciate your views and IÂ’m sure a few others feel the same way.

    I canÂ’t provide you with a perfect solution but IÂ’m dedicated to doing what I can.

  9. ChristianPF Says:

    Thanks for the mention!! And thanks for sharing the info about the Bump keys – I had never heard of this before and it is definitely something I am glad I am now aware of…

  10. Mr. Cheap Says:

    Thanks for the link! I’m not sure how much good banning the sale of bump keys will be (if I recall correctly, they’re pretty easy to make).

  11. Lynnae Says:

    Thanks for the link!

    And thanks for the info on bump keys. Since we’re moving, we were going to replace the locks on our new house anyway. Thanks to your link, now I know what I should look for in a lock!

  12. Lock Picker Says:

    I pick locks as a hobby. It is a fun and difficult hobby to master. I have used bump keys in the past and as George mentioned it isn’t as easy as the media makes it seem. It took me over an hour to get a basic deadbolt open. That same lock I can pick in under 30 seconds. Personally I don’t see why people buy these things, you can make one in about 10 minutes with a small file.

  13. MITBeta @ Don't Feed The Alligators Says:

    Sounds a bit like closing the barn door after the horses are out…

  14. Ami Platania Says:

    your new share!

  15. Melvin Calwell Says:

    Great Post, thanks for your fine Post. I will come back later , Great information about surprise locksmith : surprise locksmith