3 Signs Indicating Home Lock Tampering

It can be quite unsettling for any homeowner to find that their locks have been tampered with. Georgia ranks 11th in the states with the highest burglary rates, and there is always a chance that your home is the next target.

Burglars can be quite crafty and use a number of methods to break into your home, which includes forced entry, bumping and picking the locks. As a homeowner, you must be able to identify the signs of lock tampering so that you can take corrective measures immediately.

Here are three main ways in which burglaries break into a home:

Forced Entry

Burglars that are in haste tend to enter homes through forced entry. The most common ways in which burglars force entry is by trying to bash into the home lock, kicking down a door or drilling into the deadbolt. This is a messy method and you can easily identify attempts of forced entry with splintered wood and twisted metal.

However, there are certain sneaky burglars that may not leave behind an obvious trace. In this case, you can identify forced entry through these signs:

  • Bent latches or deadbolts
  • Warped door frames
  • Paint circles around the lock fixture (indicating that someone was trying to loosen the locks)


Bumping is a method that locksmiths have been using from the early 1900s to unlock locks with misplaced keys. However, this method was soon adopted by burglars worldwide. In this method, the burglars file down the cuts of a key from various places so that it fits into the lock. This makeshift key is then inserted into the lock, and is tapped several times until the lock gives way and the lock can be turned.

If this technique is performed correctly, it leaves very little evidence of tampering. However, if the burglars were in haste or just plain amateurs, they can leave behind certain marks for you to pick on. Here are some signs by which you can identify bumping:

  • Shiny metal edges on the lock, indicating that the lock had been hit several times
  • Scratches around the keyhole


Picking is a traditional method to unlock locks and doors. In this method, burglars use small tools, such as screwdrivers and dental picks, to reach the pin tumblers in the lock and force it to turn. This is quite similar to bumping, but requires a lot more time and expertise.

This is also a much gentler technique, which is why it doesn’t leave behind obvious marks. However, if any of the small tools wriggle during insertion, they can leave cut marks on the key hole. If you notice shiny metal around your key hole, it could be an indication that someone was trying to pick your lock.

The first thing you must do after you notice lock tampering is to have your locks replaced immediately. Even if your home wasn’t broken into and vandalized, your locks are probably damaged from the tampering and won’t hold the next time someone tries to break in.

Give us a call on 404-281-3140 and we’ll replace your locks in a jiffy. We are one of the leading residential locksmiths in Covington, GA, and provide complete locksmith services, including:

  • Re-keying
  • Lock replacement
  • Deadbolt repair
  • Replace cylinder

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