Euro cylinder lock and home security advice
What is "lock snapping" ?
Lock snapping is a method of forced entry that targets certain types of euro cylinder locks commonly found in residential doors, particularly in the United Kingdom and some other European countries.
As the title would suggest, this is where the lock cylinder is literally snapped in two by applying force to the cylinder. Thieves have devised methods of snapping these types of cylinders locks in a matter of seconds and still be able to operate the lock to open the door.
The vulnerable part of the cylinder is typically the section that extends outside the door, known as the "snap line." By applying enough force and snapping the cylinder at this weak point, the intruder can remove a portion of the lock and manipulate the internal mechanisms to unlock the door.
This threat can be considerably reduced simply by upgrading the cylinder to one that is specifically designed to prevent this method of attack. These locks often have features such as anti-snap lines, reinforced bars, and other mechanisms that make it much more difficult for an intruder to break the lock using this method. Additionally, homeowners can take other security measures, such as installing security handles, upgrading doors and frames, and improving overall home security to deter burglars.
We recommend that all vulnerable doors using Euro-Profile cylinders be upgraded to incorporate 'Break Secure' cylinders. Euro cylinders are mainly fitted to uPVC doors but some aluminium and wooden doors also use this type of lock.
How do I know if I have a vulnerable lock?
You cannot tell from the outside if it is a vulnerable lock, it would need to be dismantled. Although this is fairly simple to do, our advice is to contact a registered locksmith for advice. If you have a Secured by Design door fitted after 2010 you can be confident that it will have a "Break Secure" lock. Please note this applies only to Secured by Design doors and not all doors.
Solution and Euro cylinder lock advice
Break secure, or anti-snap cylinders, are specifically designed to combat lock-snapping. A cylinder has been designed that although it will snap, it will snap in a predetermined position leaving intact a portion of the cylinder that will still provide security and still require key operation to open, thus preventing the easy manipulating of the locking system.
A qualified locksmith can offer a full installation and upgrade service to meet your needs; or a replacement break secure euro cylinder can be purchased from any recognised DIY store.
Replacement lock cylinders should meet all parts of the exacting British Standard Kitemark (BS EN 1303:2005) accreditation scheme.
The Master Locksmiths' Association website www.locksmiths.co.uk provides a list of registered locksmiths who will be able to provide advice and information and give you practical help to ensure your locks are suitable.
The minimum recommendation for wooden doors is five-lever mortice locks which carry the British Standard BS3621. If you have traditional nightlatch (commonly known as a Yale lock) fitted to your doors, do not rely on this as the only method of security. You must fit other locks, preferably deadlocks.
To prevent lock snapping and enhance the security of your home, consider the following measures:
- Upgrade to Anti-Snap Locks: Install anti-snap euro cylinder locks that are specifically designed to resist lock snapping. These locks have built-in features to prevent the cylinder from being easily snapped, such as sacrificial sections that break away under attack.
- Check the Kitemark: Look for locks with the British Standard Kitemark (BSI) to ensure they meet industry standards for security. Locks that meet the TS007 standard are designed to withstand lock snapping.
- Use Three-Star Locks: Opt for locks with a three-star rating under the TS007 standard. These locks offer the highest level of protection against various forms of attack, including lock snapping.
- Fit Security Handles: Install security handles with reinforced backing plates. These handles provide additional protection to the cylinder and discourage attackers from attempting lock snapping.
- Door Upgrades: Consider upgrading to doors with more secure frames and reinforcements around the lock area. This can make it more difficult for intruders to access the lock cylinder.
- Lock Guards and Cylinders with Guards: Use lock guards or cylinder guards to shield the lock cylinder from direct access. These devices make it harder for attackers to grip and snap the cylinder.
- Anti-Snap Door Furniture: Use door furniture (handles, escutcheons) that are designed to prevent attacks like lock snapping.
- Security Grilles and Bars: If appropriate, install security grilles or bars on windows and doors to deter burglars from attempting to break in.
- Home Security System: Invest in a home security system with alarms and monitoring. This can alert you and authorities in case of a break-in attempt.
- Lighting and Landscaping: Ensure proper outdoor lighting and maintain clear visibility around entry points. Trim bushes and trees that could provide cover for burglars.
- Neighborhood Watch: Participate in or start a neighborhood watch program to promote vigilance and community safety.
- Security Assessment: Consider getting a professional security assessment for your home. Experts can identify vulnerabilities and recommend appropriate security measures.
- Locksmith Consultation: Consult with a reputable locksmith who specializes in security to get advice on the best lock options for your doors.
General home security advice
A recent spate of burglaries saw one out of every two burglaries committed via an unlocked door or window. Therefore, one of the most important steps to prevent your home from being burgled is to always remember to lock them! The security around your home starts at the perimeter of your property and ranges from security lighting, sturdy locking gates to removing valuables and attractive items from view.
- I've checked that all the doors and windows are locked - even if I'm only popping out for a minute.
- My door locks meet British standards
- I've made sure that neither my house keys nor my car keys are in sight or easy reach of my windows or doors, and that I don't keep them in an obvious place in the house.
- I've fitted key-operated locks to all the windows.
- I've installed a visible burglar alarm, and I turn it on whenever I leave the house.
- I haven't hidden my spare keys outside, or in the garage or shed.
- I leave the lights and the radio on a timer for the evening when I'm out, so that it looks like I'm in. If it's dark outside I also draw the curtains.
- I've made sure thieves can't get into the garden - there's a good fence surrounding the house and the side gate is sturdy and padlocked The garden shed is also locked.
- I haven't left any ladders or tools outside, which someone could use to get into the house.
- I've made sure that valuables like laptops, handbags, jewellery can't be seen from the window.
- I haven't left any cash lying around or any documents with my name, address or other personal details (such as a bank statement or bill) that fraudsters could use.
- If I'm going on holiday, I've arranged for a friend or neighbour to collect the post and put the bins out.
Mark your property
Mark important and expensive possessions (such as your computer, gaming console or home cinema system) with your postcode and house number using special security marker pens. Keep a record of the make, model and serial numbers of all your electrical equipment for reference too. If the police recover them after a burglary, this record will be proof that they are stolen goods - and that they are yours.
You can register your property on the national database Immobilise. Log on to www.immobilise.co.uk