Criminals have tool that can get past your lock in seconds

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What you need to know about 'bump keys' and your safety (KTRK)

The Internet is making easier for criminals to get their hands on a tool that can pick a lock in seconds.

For years, locksmiths have used "bump keys."

With a tap, the key can pick nearly all residential locks in seconds.

Houston Safe and Lock manager Cory Hoffman has perfected the pick.

"The most common I can probably open in 30 seconds to a minute," Hoffman said. "Most of the time, sooner than that."

He showed Eyewitness News how quickly he can pick a lock.

We showed neighbors the demonstration.

"Disturbing," Houston resident, Thomas Murphy said. "Disturbing that I could come home and everything of value could be gone."

The locks are now popping up on many online sites.

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What you can do to protect yourself from thieves with bump keys

At Houston Safe and Lock, employees are educating customers on this danger and offering preventative measures as little as $10.

The inexpensive measures add steel to prevent doors from opening, or allowing the deadbolt to turn.

Some companies, including Medeco and Mul-T-Lock have designed locks to beat bump keys when you leave your home.

Medeco uses curved keys and Mul-T-Lock relies on unique cuts.

Each lock however can cost upwards of $300.

Houston Police Department, and other agencies we spoke aren't aware of any bump keys, but they admit it's hard to tell a bump key has been used.

"The lock is not damaged at all," Hoffman said. "There is no chipping on the paint. Most of the time you're not touching the lock, so there's no fingerprints on the lock. Your fingers are on the bump key the whole time, so you're not leaving any trace behind."
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