There are sophisticated ways to break into a home, steal a car, rip off a bicycle. But only about 10% of thieves are professional. Most homes that are broken into are accessed through an unlocked door or window. Most stolen cars had the keys in the ignition. An item left in the open is easier to take than the item locked up safe.
There is no such thing as “100% safe” or “theft proof.” The fact is, if someone wants it, they will take it.
This information is for educational use ONLY. A thief wants to move quickly and will prey on the weakest: the open door, the items left in view inside the car, people not paying attention, people who say “won’t happen to me.”
Here are five everyday items that can be put to criminal use.
Judith Yates teaches practical safety and crime prevention tips for any group. See more HERE.
The spark plug
A piece of a spark plug is one of the easiest, fastest ways to break in to a car. The thief removes all metal parts and keeps the white piece, or insulator. Professionals will often put a string or chain through the circle of insulator and wear as a necklace. Throwing the insulator into the side window, or swinging the chain to gain momentum and then hitting the glass with the insulator, causes the glass to “spider web.” It will shatter into millions of tiny pieces, and make a sound no louder than a whisper.
A lock works on a simple concept: a key with various sized ridges fit into the lock, like a hand for a tailored glove. “Bump key” ridges are cut to a maximum depth. They take less than a few minutes to make or can be purchased on the Internet. “Bump Keys” are often used by locksmiths to legally open locked doors as they do not cause damage and show no sign of forced entry. They are also known as “999 keys” as each ridge is cut to a depth of “nine” in a key-making machine. The thief inserts the bump key into the lock, bumps it with a hammer or tool, and the lock opens.
Dental floss / string
To open a locked chain lock from the outside, the thief makes a loop on the end of the dental floss or string. They open the door and slip the noose around the “button” part of the lock - the piece you hold when sliding the chain into the slot. The thief runs the string up over the top of the door, then slides it towards the hinges, pulling the chain out of the slot. It takes all of two minutes.
A shoe string / dental floss
Inmates in the federal prison system are issued combination locks, but those keep the honest people out. Place the shoestring or floss behind the combination dial (the piece with the numbers that turns, usually black, red, or blue). With an end of the string in both hands, work it quickly back and forth behind the dial. The lock will open.
A paper clip
Paper clips can be used to open handcuffs, pick locks of many types, and open a locked door. This will not work on a deadbolt. The thief bends the paper clip into a “C” shape, hooks the clip in between the door and the doorjamb, where it catches around the lock. By pulling both sides of the clip, the metal slides over the lock, pushing it in so the door opens (for a visual, see HERE)