Do Criminals Really Can Pick a Lock?

Criminals have many tactics on how to rob a person or property. They target a victim presence and absence so that they can start burglary while nobody home. Depending on the obstacle burglar face such as lock type or door material, they might decide to bring various tools or skills to penetrate and grab all they can carry.

Yes, criminals can pick a lock. However, very few potential criminals have enough skills and experience to perform lock picking. According to statistics roughly %4 of unlawful entries happened by picking a lock in United States. Moreover, a lock itself must be a type that can be picked since there are many locks that can’t be picked at all.

No wonder only small portion of criminals can pick a lock since it requires training, experience and appropriate tools. What about majority of other burglars that plan to intrude to someone’s property?

How criminals get their skills to pick a lock?

Answer is simple. Combination of Amazon + Youtube. In Amazon anyone can purchase lock picking tools (surely sellers are selling for profit, not intending for someone use their tool to do a crime). And in Youtube there are many locksmith professional explaining how to pick a lock with details on how lock mechanism work (surely their do that for more views, company visibility and teach lessons for locksport amateurs)

In conclusion, anyone in 21 century with bad intention can become a burglar with extensive knowledge and practice at home with internet connection. Since lock picking burglary statistics is quite low, it should be a less concern comparing to forceful entry which will be discussed down this post.

What is the statistics of household burglaries?

Below table is an official statistics of Bureau of Justice that describes various types of burglary while household member is present and absent. Based on that table we can clearly show that most of the doors either was open %27, unlocked%28 by offender or someone let them in %18 when household member was present. Picking door lock action happened only in %2.2 cases while someone was inside the house and %4.1 while all household members were out of premises.


How to prevent lock picking?

In order to prevent lock picking you need to have a lock that is not possible to pick. First of all, you should have at least a deadbolt installed on top of existing door knob that cannot be picked because of its internal mechanism. We discussed in more details what type of locks (specifically residential deadbolt) cannot be picked.

How to prevent forceful entry?

What if you have top notch deadbolt that can’t be picked and lock material that truly hard to drill out? That’s definitely awesome and sounds secure. But there are burglars who don’t speak much, they just bring crow bar and muscle guy who can beat a batman from dark knight.

Crow bar with enough muscles can leverage great angle to bend a deadbolt latch and force it to exit from a frame hole. Since even the highest security deadbolt is using old as earth latch that must go inside a hole that keep door shut.

Below video is an actual case that happened to one of our friends. Someone just cracked deadbolt latch and opened the door while friends were out of home. Thousand of dollars valuables were stolen.

So back to the answer. How to prevent forceful entry? Below is the list of things you need to consider so that it will minimize intrusion chance nearly to zero.

  • Make sure the door is lying super tight to the frame so that even paper can’t slip by
  • Make sure the door exterior surface is made of hard metal (even if it’s mainly wood made)
  • Make sure you install 2-3 locks and distribute the 3rd lock higher than the other two
  • Finally, don’t forget to lock the door


I am Rauan, I have over 4 years of experience as a locksmith tech and then as the owner of my own company. I live in Houston, TX, and love to provide valuable insights related to locks. Enjoy reading

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