My name is Chubb, that makes the patent locks:
Look on my works, ye cracksmen, and despair.
Imagine my surprise to discover that the general solution to the pin-tumbler lock has been discovered. That includes the locks on your car, on your house, on your mailbox … all of ‘em.
That solution is the “bump key.” What it is: a key blank with all the pin positions cut down to their lowest points. This is placed in the lock, put under a bit of torsion, and the end of the key struck smartly with an object, say the handle of a screwdriver. The key then turns, the lock opens.
Unlike standard lockpicking (which takes skill and practice, and leaves detectable marks on the lock), 80% of folks who try this, folks with no experience with lockpicking, can manage to do it on the first try leaving no forensic evidence that the lock was opened by anything but a legitimate key. And it’s quick: about as fast as the homeowner using that legitimate key.
All you need is a bump key that’ll fit in the keyhole to start with. I’m told, and I’m foolish enough to believe, that you can buy ‘em over the ‘net. Given the proper key blank and a file you can make one yourself at home. Subdivisions where all the locksets were bought from the same contractor and thus have the same keyblank are particularly vulnerable; every house can be opened using just one bump key.