Thursday, July 16, 2009

Scare Reporting

They other day while I was getting ready for work, I had the Today show on in the background waiting for a local weather report. I don't usually watch the Today show or the weather for that matter but I had some things to do outside today and wanted to know if it was going to rain, the skies looked questionable.

I wasn't paying attention, but all of a sudden I hear something like "The Security Risk for 95% of Households...coming up after the break." A little background - I have a degree in Criminology, so although I don't know much about anything, I do know a little more than the average person about crime, criminals, security risks, etc...

I knew what they were going to talk about a Bump Key (even though they refused to say the name due to the security risk). Although it seems that most people have only learned about these in the past few years...they have been around forever. I remember reading reports in 1993 about them when they were a "new" security risk (even then they were pretty old technology). Now, I will admit that bump keys are much more readily available now. You used to have to make your own, now a quick Internet search reveals several places to buy them relatively cheaply.

Here is the thing - burglary is a usually (and by usually, I mean like 99%) a crime of opportunity. This means that local neerdowell, crackhead, or bored teens sees an opportunity where the person isn't home and takes it. In these cases, a rock through the window or a swift kick to the door is just as fast...and about as noticeable. Most burglars are not really worried about leaving a trace, they know your neighbors aren't really going to notice or care to notify authorities.

Life is not like a jewel thief movie (I hear John Malkovich was awesome in that jewel thief movie)...most the time someone is not staked out at your house planning a "no clues left behind" type burglary. If they are, chances are you have something way too valuable in your house to be trusting your $30 door lock. The normal door lock is basically to stop only the most casual of thieves, anyone determined will get into your house if they really want to.

I think it is good that the Today show showed this piece, it is good information to have. I just wish it wasn't handled with such scare tactics. You do not need to go out and replace your door locks right away. Yes, your door is at risk of a bump key but it is also at risk of an automatic lock picks (which have been around for decades), and pry bars (been around a long, long time). I don't think the existence of a bump key is going to increase the rate of burglary or put you more at is just not the nature of the crime. Crackheads, bored teens, etc... are not going to order a bump key off the Internet, wait two weeks for it to be delivered, take the time to learn to use it, then perform their flawless break and enter. These are not trained, professional criminals.

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