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Is it really as easy to pick a lock as you see on TV

Updated on June 19, 2013
Keys for Locks
Keys for Locks | Source

Locksmiths and opening doors

Sure you have seen on TV how easy it is to break into an apartment door or enter a warehouse etc. Well is it really that easy?

I am a locksmith and have been working doing emergency locksmith work for around 20 years. I do around 8 jobs a day where all i have to do is open a door. Yep it is a pretty fun job most of the time and if you ever get locked out call a locksmith, they happy to help.

Locks easy to open?

I actually have become superstitious about opening locks. It seems if you ever say "that lock is a piece of junk, it will open in 5 seconds" then the lock wont open. Guarantee it! Also dont even think "its a cheap lock, I'll be gone in 1 minute" or "it's an 87 toyota corolla, open and a key cut in 5 minutes". Having said that...

The truth is most locks around here are easy to open. There are very few high security locks and the locksmiths that do upgrade people to a higher security lock mostly are interested in restricted key systems, which then they use crappy cylinders with a ton of play in them which make them easy to open. (Sorry other locksmith, but c'mon!)

Not all Locks are made equal

The old credit card through the door trick!

As I indicated above some times you will get a lock to open and it just wont pick open easily. Many times it can be the old cheap lock that wont open. Due to wear or other reasons? Well made locks with tight tollerences can also be hard to pick open, but there are other ways to deal with them that can make it easier to open. (sorry trade secret).

The old credit card through the door trick is one not to underestimate either. Most modern locks have deadlatches to stop the use of a credit card type of attack, but some locks are just not fitted correctly or are worn out. So the credit card trick can work very quickly sometimes. In fact there is one major manufacturer here that I will always use the credit card trick with as I know it works most of the time.

Reality TV or Staged for your enjoyment?

I recently saw an epesode of a reality series where they go around reposessing financed cars. In this episode the bloke had to break into a brand new Volvo truck. The truck he had break into had a volvo two track key. The type of lock that as a locksmith would not consider opening with simple pick tools. On the show it was opened with such minimal effort it straight up had me thinking that the show was totally staged. I dont know of any locksmith who could have done what this reposessor did. I have opened enough cars and trucks to spot a fake scene like that. I am thinking even the reality TV shows might not be showing the truth regarding the ease of opening doors.

So basically, most locks can be opened in a minute or 2, but dont mention that to your locksmith as he will be jinxed and it will probably take him an hour. Hopefully this will not be the case, but picking locks does have a touch of mental attitude as well as skill.

Commentson opening locks in movies

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    • Brisbanelocksmith profile imageAUTHOR

      John Magee 

      5 years ago from Brisbane, Qld, Australia

      Thanks Rosie. There has been a lot of talk regarding security through obscurity. In the end it is the uninformed home or business owner who suffers from the lack of information.

      Most people in our communities are honest and would not want to break into our properties. Organized career thieves are becoming much more of a problem here. They can break into multiple properties in a day or night using these techniques. I do not think we should make it so easy for them. Having locks that can not easily be compromised is a good start.

    • Rosie2010 profile image

      Rosie Rose 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hiya, Brisbanelocksmith. Wow, what a very interesting hub! I have lived in houses, condos and apartments with probably just the regular front door locks; fortunately, my home has never been broken into (crossed fingers). Most probably because I'm too poor and nothing there to steal. :D I enjoyed watching the video, too. That was such an eye opener.

      Very well written hub! I like it that you shared some little secrets with us. Don't worry... your little secrets are safe with me. Can't say about the others tho'. lol

      Voted up, awesome, definitely useful and very interesting. I very seldom share, but I'm sharing this one. Cheers!

      Have a nice day,

      Rosie

    • Brisbanelocksmith profile imageAUTHOR

      John Magee 

      5 years ago from Brisbane, Qld, Australia

      It is a case of practice. Once you learn how to open some of those combination locks, and practice a bit, it becomes easier.

    • AlarmingMonkey profile image

      AlarmingMonkey 

      5 years ago from London

      Very interesting, someone I know can open code padlocks (the ones where you have a 3/4 digit code) easily. Is it easier to open those locks than others?

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