Does your property have either UPVC, Composite or Aluminium doors fitted? If so you may be at risk to ‘lock snapping’!
‘Lock Snapping’ has now become a widespread problem for millions of householders and property owners across the UK, who have either a UPVC, Composite or Aluminium door/s fitted to their property, as most of these doors are fitted with what are known as Euro cylinders. These can be either single opening doors, double French doors or sliding patio doors and are fitted to both domestic residences and some commercial properties too. The problem of lock snapping first reared its ugly head around 2005, in West Yorkshire. However, as the years have passed, this problem has now spread to other parts of the UK too. As a trading Locksmith in the Midlands area, lock snapping is something I am personally seeing more and more frequently now, particularly when attending a property to secure it, or replace the locks, after a burglary.
Whilst lock snapping was never previously that widespread in the Midlands area, over the past couple of years it has now become a major problem here too. This can also be said for other parts of the UK too, and lock snapping is now a common form of entry and used in roughly 25% of burglaries in certain parts of the UK. One of the reasons for this is because it is extremely quick, a quiet form of entry and burglars don’t need any specialist tools to do it.
So what actually is lock snapping? This is where the burglar breaks the door lock cylinder at its weak point to allow them to manipulate the locking mechanism and then unlock the door. Many insurance companies now specify that a multi point locking mechanism is fitted to all final exit UPVC and Composite doors, and most homeowners think this will protect them from burglars breaking in through these doors. Unfortunately this is not the case, once the cylinder has been snapped!
So how can a burglar snap your cylinder so easily? As a Locksmith, I come across many properties fitted with oversized Euro cylinders. Whilst not only does it look unsightly when you have a cylinder sticking out of your door too far, the really worrying thing is that the more the cylinder protrudes from the handles, on the outside of the door, the easier it is for it to be snapped. There are many sizes of Euro cylinder locks, so there is no reason why you should have one that sticks out too far, making it an easier and more likely target for a burglar. However, even having a cylinder that is flush fitting, or only protruding very slightly from the handles, doesn’t mean you will be protected from lock snapping. Burglars will even jemmy your handles away from the door to expose the cylinder, to enable them to then snap it.
So how can you prevent or reduce the risk of a burglary due to lock snapping?
There are a few things that can be done to prevent or reduce the risk of a burglar gaining entry to your property by using the method of lock snapping; the most common one being to get ‘Anti-Snap’ locks fitted to your doors. However, I prefer to call these ‘Snap-Safe’ locks, as they can still be snapped, but they are designed to snap at a special built in sacrificial point, towards the end of the cylinder, (rather than at the centre of the cylinder, as with none ‘anti-snap’ locks), making it far more difficult and time consuming for a burglar to gain entry through that door.
When an ‘Anti-Snap / Snap-Safe’ cylinder snaps at the sacrificial point, although the end of the cylinder will have come away from the main body of the lock, the rest of the cylinder still stays in place, meaning that the burglar is not able to access the locking mechanism to unlock the door. You will still need to call a Locksmith to replace the snapped cylinder, but this should have kept the burglar out of your property.
Another option would be to replace your handles with high security door handles, although at present there are only a few sizes of these available, so it may be that you are not able to get any to fit your door.
These are usually made of a heavier construction than standard UPVC or Composite door handles and are fitted with a rotating anti-drill disc, which hides and shields the Euro cylinder, just allowing you to insert a key into the cylinder. They also usually come with a snap resistant integral cylinder guard, thicker hardened fixing screws, and reinforced anti-grip chamfered backplate shoulders, which helps to reduce the risk of the handles being jemmied off the door. For even better security, you can combine a pair of these high security handles with an ‘anti-snap / snap-safe’ Euro cylinder, which will dramatically reduce the risk of a burglar from gaining entry through a door fitted with these.
Another advantage of fitting high security door handles, where available, is that they also serve as a visual deterrent to a burglar, as they can instantly see that your cylinder is shielded and that you have improved security fitted, hopefully putting them off even attempting to attack your door.
Please note, fitting ‘anti-snap / snap safe’ locks and/or high security handles to your doors will not necessarily stop a burglar from attacking your door and locks, however it will make it far more difficult or even prevent them from gaining entry through these doors.
For more information on lock snapping and how to help protect your property from this increasingly common method of attack from burglars, please contact LockAid 24/7 today.