Valdosta - The only thing standing between your home and a bad guy may be the locks on your doors. But will they keep the crooks out?
Internet sites are showing criminals a new way to break into your home without leaving a trace of forced entry.
It's called lock bumping, an Internet phenomenon, that, thanks to web sites like YouTube, is sweeping the nation.
It's a simple concept. You take a normal key, cut some extra grooves, and a few quick taps is all that stands between your home and an invader.
But is it really as easy as it looks? "I'm a locksmith understanding how this thing works," says Locksmith Paul Kinsey of Ace Lock and Key, after banging on the lock for several minutes.
"It's not as easy as it looks!" Adds Ronnie Duff of D & D Bonded Locksmith. "Sometimes it's simple, like lock picking. You take a few minutes and open one up, or take an hour to get in."
They beat the keys with screwdrivers, hammers, and a rubber mallet. And it always took several minutes for the lock to finally open. "A minute is a long time to a thief breaking into a house," Kinsey says.
Not to mention a lot of noise. "You can see hitting on that makes some noise and burglars don't like noise," he adds.
So are you at risk of having your locks bumped? Probably not. Valdosta Police say lock bumping is not a problem in the area, but there are still many things you can do to keep those intruders out.
Police say making sure your locks and deadbolts are working properly will make you a harder target. You can also install extra deadbolts to your doors or an alarm in your home.
Exterior lighting is also a good deterrent. But police say the helping hand of a neighbor is a great way to protect your home and the community. "Neighbors looking out for each other, being part of a neighborhood watch group. I can't tell you how important that is," says Commander Brian Childress of the Valdosta Police.
They hope taking these extra precautions will help this Internet phenomenon stay just that.
If you're still concerned about lock bumping, call your local locksmith. Or Police may come by and do a safety inspection of your home to let you know how to become a hardened target.