Inventor Aims to Stop Break-Ins

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Sep 17, 2013

Bump keys make opening locked doors easy, and few products address the problem. The most common way of dealing with the risk is to change the lock to a 'high security' type that can cost $100 or more per lock. However, an inventor created a product that fits nearly every door, and stops bump keys cold for ~$15 called the "Lock Locker". Is this product a stroke of genius, or is potentially life threatening? We look deeper in this note.

"Lock for a Lock"

The Lock Locker's Indiegogo page describes the product as "preventing ANYONE from unlocking your deadbolt" from the outside regardless if they have lock picks, a bump key, patron key, or even a master key. The product achieves this by essentially fixing the deadbolt so it cannot be retracted. The clip below describes this function in detail:

 

Using a plastic collar that installs over both the doorknob and the deadbolt, a cap piece fits over the deadbolt's thumbturn, preventing it from turning regardless of the key or force turning to open it. The cap is held in place with magnets, so kicking or jostling the door will not break apart the assembly when in place:

The product claims near 'universal fit' for any deadbolted door, regardless of type or country of origin. Other claims include:

  • Installation is fast - the page claims '2 seconds'
  • Keeps doors locked even when used on hotel/motel or apartment and multi-tenant facility doors that frequently have many copies of keys.
  • Clear plastic construction will not mar door finishes or disrupt 'aesthetic' appeal of openings.

The inventor hopes to raise $14,000 to fund the product, which is presold [link no longer available] for ~$10 - $15 per unit, depending on quantity.

Pros

The greatest strength the Lock Locker offers is that it can be used on nearly any door inexpensively. Any other 'anti-bumpkey' protection, like a tumbler lock fitted with 'anti-bumping pins [link no longer available]' would cost significantly more and only fit a specific range of potential doors.

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Because security best practices call for layers of security as the best method of combatting vulnerabilities, the Lock Locker enhances existing door locks by adding another device, totally independent of the lock, to keep it secure.

Indeed, the principle of operation -keeping the thumbturn from turning- will keep bumpkeys from opening your doors.

Cons

Aside from the fact the product itself appears to be taken from a Harriet Carter catalog, it potentially could endanger the life-safety of occupants trying to escape during an emergency. Building codes are very clear in mandating the utter simplicity of emergency egress, citing that "requiring more than one motion to unlatch a door is too complicated" for a panicked individual to unlock.

Considering that deadbolts themselves are not permitted for security emergency egress, adding another layer of delaying equipment to a doorlock might indeed keep the badguys out, but could unfortunately keep the helpless inside.

Also, when installed, the Lock Locker keeps everyone (even those with a valid key) from entering the door. The impact of this could range from unexpectedly breaking keys off in the lock, to preventing first responders from access in an emergency. Keeping a door locked is good, but allowing valid access is equally as important, and the Lock Locker may prevent it.

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