by Bridget Hamilton
On September 14th 2017, three neighbouring Staffordshire families woke up to the news that their cars had been stolen - including one model valued at over £35,000. Each house had been a victim of ‘lock snapping’ - the quick and almost effortless process of a burglar breaking the Euro profile cylinder lock estimated to be used in over 22 million doors throughout the country.
"If I had the best lock picks in England I wouldn't bother using them, I'd just snap the lock." Those are the words of ex-burglar Peter Findlay, who now advises police on crime prevention tactics. It can take as little as 20 seconds for a skilled criminal to expose the lock mechanism itself (usually by breaking or peeling back the UPVC coating) and snap it in half.
When did lock snapping become popular?
It was first reported in the press in around 2009, but had been a burglary method of choice for several years before then. In 2012 West Yorkshire Police reported that approximately 25% of burglaries on their beat were being carried out through lock snapping.
The TS007 Kitemark and 3-star rating
Thankfully there have been some important changes in recent years to make cylinder locks harder to break. The TS007 Kitemark was developed by the Door and Hardware Federation and the Glass and Glazing Federation, and is described as a ‘three star security solution’ to protect locks and security hardware (i.e. the handle and covering) from common tactics like lock snapping.
There are two ways to receive the all-important three star rating; the first is by using the TS007 BSI Kitemark three-star cylinder lock, and the second is to use a one-star cylinder lock combined with two-star rated security hardware.
Selected products also bear a 'Police Preferred' logo to show that they meet the standards of the official police security initiative Secured By Design.
The rise of the ‘smart lock’
More and more houses are being fitted with WiFi or Bluetooth connected locks - enabling only residents to open the door via a fob or a smartphone. With some smart locks, there is the option to send digital ‘keys’ to visitors, which expire when you choose, giving them limited access to your property. And with more and more smart devices in the house, there even is the potential for lots of integrated functionality - such as the heating or lighting turning off when you leave the house.
However, it’s worth remembering the current concerns about security and privacy when it comes to the Internet of Things. Would you want to leave the entry system to your entire home open to attack?
It’s clear that a real concerted effort has been made to safeguard Euro Cylinder locks from the all-too-easy crime of lock snapping. However with current innovations in smart technology we have a new and very real security risk to consider, so it pays - perhaps literally - to be on top of the latest lock specifications and trends.