I’ve been brushing up my skills on how to pick a lock today. It’s easier than most people think, and my teacher was a reformed burglar who has been passing on his expertise.
He first taught me how to pick a lock for the case described in the Fake Witness novel, but I like to keep my hand in as I never know when I may need to use those skills again.
Once I got the hang of it, I was surprised at how easy it became. I found I could pick almost all types of locks. Padlocks, combination locks, front and back-door locks, filing cabinet locks, even high-grade expensive security locks. My teacher could open them all, and he passed on all that expertise to me. He was actually a lousy burglar, but he did know his locks.
I know what you’re thinking. If I’m so honest, why need do I need to know how to pick a lock. How naive can you get? The people I deal with are criminals, and they lock their secrets away. The police can’t touch them, but by bending the law a little I can get the hidden evidence police can’t legally get their hands on.
I may know how to pick a lock, but I can’t always get through doors. The best safeguard on a door are a couple of bolts rather than a lock. A bolt top and bottom can’t be picked however much training someone has had in how to pick a lock. That’s the best advice I could give you. Of course, there are those who will try to sell you all sorts of fancy, and expensive, devices, and they are useful for empty houses, but if you’re in a house overnight you can’t beat good old-fashioned bolts that are impossible to pick.
If the house is empty, the most expensive lock won’t keep a determined burglar out. They’ll just take the glass out of your window and climb in, and even the most expensive window lock won’t stop them removing the glass. This should teach you something. Firstly, you need a burglar alarm on your windows as well as your doors. Secondly, burglars like easy options. If you make it hard for them, they will simply move on to your neighbour’s home, or move to another street altogether. There were few houses my trainer couldn’t get in when he was active, but he never bothered with the houses that had alarms, or which were overlooked. The houses without alarms, or where a door or garden was hidden behind a large bush, were easier for him. There is some excellent crime prevention advice on the Greater Manchester Police website on how to make it less likely that a burglar will select your home rather than another.
Thankfully for me, the criminals I have cause to tangle with are rarely that bright. They exploit the mistakes of others, but are rarely mistake free themselves. That’s how they get caught. So remember the advice I’ve given about how to pick a lock. I’m glad I’ve got the skill because I never know when I’ll need it. You need to remember less scrupulous people also have the same skill. Don’t give the villains the opportunity they need. Secure your property properly and add a visual deterrent if you can.