Lock Snapping is a method used by home invaders which involves snapping a particular type of lock cylinder, allowing the burglar to quickly and easily gain access to your home. If the right amount of force is applied to the cylinder, it can break and give access to the locking mechanism.
Lock Snapping has become more common over recent years as it requires no special tools or expert knowledge, just the force of a hammer, mole grips or anything else that can physically grab and take hold of a cylinder is enough to gain entry. Many readily available videos’ online show the shocking force, speed and ease of the technique that burglars are using to break into homes up and down the country. One online video that we’ve seen shows how burglars will gain access to a cylinder even if it isn’t protruding from the handle. In this case the handle is shown literally being ripped off the door, the cylinder exposed, and the locking mechanism compromised using household tools such as a hammer and screwdriver.
A recent short tv documentary showed how a former burglar, without previous experience of snapping locks, could use this method to gain access to a property within 40 seconds, even he admitted how shocked he was at the ease and speed of gaining access, he said that an experienced lock snapper could probably gain access in as little as 13 seconds [Lock Snapping Video]. Another former burglar admitted that even if he had the best lock picks in England, he would rather snap the cylinder because “it’s simpler and easier”.
Police have said it’s estimated that around 22 million doors throughout the UK could be at risk from lock snapping where the lock cylinder can be broken in seconds.
What Locks Are at Risk
Key locks that are at risk of lock snapping are those of Euro Cylinder profiles, and locks that extend beyond 3mm of the handle. The further the lock cylinder protrudes from the door the more prone to tampering it becomes as it is easier to grip and take hold of, but even if a lock cylinder doesn’t protrude from the handle it still isn’t immune to tampering.
ASB Anti-Snap Locks
Locks that are of a TS007 3 Star standard (also known as ‘anti-snap’ cylinders) are locks that meet the requirements to withstand lock snapping attempts.
Anti-Snap cylinders have a ‘snap-off’ section integrated which will come away if a burglar was to try and snap the lock, making the cylinder shorter, thus making it more difficult to grasp. With the help of built in grip defenders it makes getting hold of the cylinder even harder. Not only that but anti-snap locks have a hardened bar which won’t snap, it will only flex making snapping almost impossible.
Check that your current locks do not over extend. If they appear vulnerable you may want to consider having them replaced or replacing them yourself. Fitting them yourself is relatively easy, takes little time and requires no specialist tools.
Upgrading to an ASB lock by a reputable locksmith will cost you £100 to £150 for a single door. Replacing more than one at the same time reduces the cost per door.
If you are prepared to buy the replacement cylinders off line and DIY it will cost you £35 to £45 per door.