Burglars rarely pick locks, using brute force to snap the lock instead. With the right cylinder lock properly fitted, lock snapping can be easily prevented. To understand how to prevent this method of breaking and entering, we need to understand how this type of attack is used to enter a home, and why criminals are increasingly choosing to enter properties this way.

How did it start?

The practice is believed to have started with burglars in Bradford sometime in the past few years, and now accounts for up to a quarter of burglaries in West Yorkshire alone. The euro-cylinder locks in question are invariably used in the white PVC doors that are now affixed to almost every home in the country, so this explains why it is becoming a more and more common form of entry.

It isn’t now just a regional problem though, with newspapers and police forces across the country reporting occurrences. Late last year former England footballer Darren Bent’s home was broken in to using this technique, and two luxury cars totaling in around £160,000 were stolen. If an England footballer can fall victim, then it stands to reason that this is more an education issue than a security-cost issue.


cylinder snap

Image courtesy of dvanzuijlekom.

What can you do to prevent it?

Police and locksmiths are aware of the issue and many police forces from West Yorkshire to Oxfordshire have given statements on the need for homeowners to replace or upgrade their locks. The main point with this issue is education. With this in mind we’ve put together our top tips for preventing cylinder lock snapping:

  •  Upgrading to a three star cylinder lock will prevent the cylinder lock being forced and broken. Our video shows you how to replace a euro cylinder yourself, but you may need to ask a locksmith to install it, especially if you are upgrading to a more secure door handle.



Image courtesy of DC Glass

  • Sash jammers can be an extra level of security and can be used with both windows and doors to prevent forced entry.


Image courtesy of Conservatory Advice

We also asked our resident security expert Anthony Neary for his top tip:

“As we can see with the case of the ex-England footballer, many cylinder lock snapping burglaries like this result in car theft, as occupants often leave keys near the door where they can pick them up on their way out of the house. Investing in a lockable key cabinet can mean your spare house and car keys can be locked away safely away from anyone entering your home.”

For more burglary prevention tips see our ‘Beat the Burglar’ info-graphic with input from the Metropolitan Police and ex-burglar Michael Fraser.

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