Homeowners rarely think about the quality of what seems like the “simple” things in life, and this includes the locks that they put on their doors. Is it okay, as a homeowner, to trust the deadbolts and other locks that you can buy at your local hardware store, or neighborhood big box retailer, like Home Depot or Lowe’s?
Even though convention leans towards thinking that as long as a lock is new and properly installed, it should work, the fact is that locks found at your local hardware store are little more than door latches as far as neighborhood crooks are concerned—even if they are made by a quality brand.
Any locksmith worth his salt will warn you that mass-produced locks that you can find at any run-of-the-mill hardware store do not do a good job of keeping your family, your home, and your possessions, safe.
Giving Bad Guys the Keys to Your House
You’d never give a bad guy the key to your house, would you? Not intentionally, at least. The truth is, however, that if you are relying on the locks that you purchase at the big-box store, you may be doing just that.
These locks are called “keyed alike” locks for a reason: they use the same key. If there’s a shelf in your big-box store with twenty locks awaiting a new home, they all have one thing in common: they share the same key.
It is not a big stretch to have the same key profile in the production run be used on hundreds or even thousands of lower quality, easy-to-pick locks. It is a new scam (or maybe an old one, and the world is just catching on) for crooks to browse the lock section of a retailer for a period of time, purchasing the same locks as customers in the store.
The crook may even check out behind the consumer, and then follow them home to see where they live. It’s a simple matter to then use their key in your lock to rob you or harm you or your family. That’s scary.
Other Problems with Big-Box Locks
This is not the sole problem with big-box locks, however. Locksmiths warn that most of the deadbolt locks in production today that are sold at your local hardware store do not have pick guards, which makes slipping a fine pick into the opening possible. From there, your door and your security can be breached in seconds. So-called “smart key” locks can also be easily compromised by even the least tech-savvy crooks.
Using a Locksmith
You should worry about the security of your home if you have a lock from a big-box store, but you don’t have to go unprotected. A professional residential locksmith can either rekey your lock to foil the bad guy or even install a high-quality lock that has a unique key profile that crooks will have a hard time foiling. The price you’ll pay for rekeying or for a new lock is small in comparison to the peace of mind you’ll receive in exchange.