"Lock Bumping" technology threatens homeowners in Amarillo

AMARILLO, Texas----Most people lock their doors before leaving for work or going to bed.

However, the door knob and lock you use everyday may actually be an open invitation for criminals.

Thieves call it "lock bumping," and it's been around for about 5 years.

The technology to stop it has changed since then and the problem is nothing new to law enforcement.

"We know the technology is out there," Cpl. Neufeld with the Amarillo Police Department said.

"It's basically putting a shaved down key in to cylinder of the knob and taking an instrument and hitting the key," Home Dept Assistant Manager Brad Guidry said. "When they continuously hit the key, causing the locking mechanisms inside the lock to become out of place, opening the lock."

We're told most older model locks have the ability to be "bumped," making your home a cash incentive for burglars.

However, don't feel completely out of luck just yet.

"Our Schlage and Kwikset locks are bump proof and guaranteed," Guidry said.

Lowe's Home Improvement also has a solution to keep your door locked and secure while at home.

"It's called a dual function door security bar," Mike Perez with Lowe's said.

It costs about $20. Meanwhile, door locks can cost anywhere from $20-$249 dependent upon several factors.

Local locksmiths also have advise for protecting your home while on vacation.

"This time of year it's important that you don't advertise when you're going out of town," Steve Stanhope said. "Don't tell all your co-workers because word gets out and people know you're gone."

Other security measures you can take to secure your home include:

*Checking the length of the screws used to hold the door plate in tact.

Generally, screws should be longer than 2 inches.

*You can always invest in a stronger door frame plate.

*Dead bolts provide added protection and are relatively easy to install.

Finally, if investing in new locks all together, ask the sales associate if the lock is "bump" proof.

Most companies such as Schlage advertise this on their packaging.

Amarillo Police also encourage residents to use their home security alarm.