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Whether you are worried about residential security or someone accessing a corporate property, it is important to know if your first line of defense is working to keep your valuables safe. A determined individual can open every lock, from what is on your front door to your filing cabinets. That is why you should know when they are at risk. Be aware that these signs mean that you have the vulnerability to being targeted, or may already be a target. If you are worried about someone getting into your property, be sure to consider the following.


Compromised Keys

If you are trying to figure out if your locks are compromised, the best place to start is inventorying all of your spare keys. This includes the keys you are meant to have in your possession, as well as all of the spares given out to others. In the case of issues with a stalker, if you had a personal relationship with them, there is a good chance they have a key. Anyone that had access to a key to your lock had the ability to make a copy of that key.

Even in the case of corporations and business that use “do not duplicate” stamps, most hardware stores will still make copies. When someone is let go, a person moves out, or ownership changes hands, locks should either change or be rekeyed. As long as these precautions are not taken, the lock is compromised. In some cases, landlords will always need a key. But if they are the only ones with access, in the case of investigating a surreptitious entry, the pool of suspects will be more focused.


No Signs of Forced Entry

One of the most troubling signs that your locks have been compromised is when it is obvious there has been someone in the home, but there is no sign of forced entry. It might not be the lock on the front of your door, but there is certainly a lock somewhere on the perimeter that is not providing adequate security. It is in cases like this where it makes sense to hire a private investigator. More information is needed in terms of finding the area of entry as well as who may be responsible.


Damaged Hardware

Not every case of lock damage leads to a successful entry, but any damaged lock is compromised. Door handles can be bent. Pry marks may be present on the door jam. Holes may even be bored into the lock or door itself. When the physical security of your building is targeted in violent ways like this, it is a clear indicator of the desire for unlawful entry. Lock replacement is a must after these types of compromise. There is a significant chance that attempts to gain entry will escalate in severity, so you should upgrade to stronger locks as well as improved video surveillance, so the suspect can be apprehended.

In the most extreme cases, damaged lock hardware will have failed entirely giving the criminal in question full access to the locked room/device. This type of compromise is the most obvious. In most cases the lock will no longer work, as the damage that forced it to open permanently broke an important locking component. Part of the door jam could be broken off, keeping bolts or latches from being able to extend into a housing and find purchase. Drilled out lock cores will have no way of being locked with a key. And the list goes on.


Suspicious Lock Component Wear

In the most extreme cases of lock compromise, devices such as lock picks and bump keys will be used. This is very hard for the common man to determine themselves. It may seem as though a key is perhaps being used, which will limit the investigative focus to individuals with keys to that lock. But with proper investigation and analysis, a professional can detect the differences between the wear of a proper key and lock picking tools.

In order to detect suspicious lock component wear, chances are you will need a seasoned pair of eyes. Looking for these signs yourself may lead to unwarranted paranoia. Understand, that unless a suspect who has experience with locksmithing is targeting you, the chances of these types of attacks are very low. In the case of corporate investigations, they can be more common but are almost only ever on the level of corporate espionage.



Knowing the potential ways that your locks can be compromised gives you better insight as to whether or not someone has been breaking into your property, or attempting to do so. If you need any help finding out who is responsible for targeting you, never hesitate to seek the aid of a private investigator. Get to the bottom of what is wrong with your security, and start feeling safer today.