Home Security and Safety Tips

Lock Snapping: What Is It and How to Prevent It?

Returning home to discover that you’ve been a victim of a break-in, ranks high on the nightmare scale for everyone. Stout doors and strong locks are especially important if you live in an area which has a high level of burglary, but in truth, we all want the best security we can get. Understanding what look snapping is, and making sure you don’t have a lock which can be snapped easily, matters to everyone.

Table of Contents:

This post is for you if you:

  • Want to increase your home security;
  • Live in an area where there’s a high risk of burglary;
  • Have already been a victim of break-in or vandalism and want to upgrade your security;
  • Fear that your age or health may make you a target for crime;
  • Are uncertain what type of locks you have and think they may not be up to modern standards.

Read on to find out how to make sure that your home is as safe and secure as it can be.

Is your home at risk from lock snapping?

In the past, criminals favoured the lock snapping technique as a method to gain entry because it was:

  • Quick – A vulnerable lock can be snapped in as little as 20 seconds.
  • Quiet – Breaking a window can attract attention, snapping a lock does not.
  • Discrete – A broken window can be seen from a distance, a snapped lock is much harder to spot.

The good news is that lock snapping burglaries are on the decline. In 2011 nearly 16% of burglars snapped locks to gain entry to properties. By 2019 this number had fallen to a little over 8%. Equally, the number of attempted break-ins involving lock snapping has also fallen. This decline is directly related to the introduction of more secure, snap proof locks. Despite the reduction in lock snapping in general, if you have a sub-standard lock, you are still at risk of burglars using this method to gain entry to your home.

The method of lock snapping – How burglars snap the lock

What is lock snapping? The phrase simply means breaking the lock cylinder in two, by applying a specific force to the weakest part. It requires no specialist tools or knowledge. When the lock is in two pieces, the mechanism is exposed, and the lever can be moved back to open the door.

Euro cylinder locks manufactured before 2011 are likely to be vulnerable to snapping. You’re most likely to find these on uPVC doors, particularly patio doors, but some wooden and aluminium doors, are also fitted with euro cylinder locks. If you ever want to instal a new lock on your old patio door, you can use lock snapping to remove the door lock cylinder without a key.

How an anti-snap lock can prevent a burglary

The problem with older locks is that when they’re broken in two, the lever can be moved. So what is an anti-snap lock and how does it differ in construction from a traditional euro cylinder?

Some locks marketed as snap resistant may simply be made of stronger materials, making them harder to break. Anti-snap locks manufactured to current standards have a sacrificial snap line cut into the cylinder body. When force is applied, the lock still breaks into two pieces, but it breaks along the snap line, which is in front of the locking mechanism, so the door remains secure.

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What locks are at risk of lock snapping?

Euro lock snapping is a risk with all euro cylinder locks manufactured before 2011. This is true regardless of whether the lock has a:

  • Single Cylinder – One where you can only gain access from one side;
  • Double Cylinder – Locks that allow you to gain access from both sides;
  • Thumbturn Cylinder – A lock that you can secure & release from the inside without a key.

How to tell if you have a euro cylinder lock fitted

If you have a uPVC, composite or aluminium door that’s been installed in the last 15 years, you’re likely to have a euro cylinder door lock. These locks can be found on front doors, patio doors, and other residential doors. They’re most easily recognised by their distinctive shape, having a circular head that houses the lock mechanism and an oval bottom. They come in various lengths to accommodate different door thicknesses. The standardised dimensions make them easy to replace.

How do I know If I have anti-snap locks?

If your euro cylinder lock was fitted before 2011, it was manufactured before anti-snap standards were introduced. Assume the lock is vulnerable to snapping and make arrangements to get it replaced as soon as possible. If the door or lock was installed after 2011, it may meet current standards but the best way to be certain is to check for kitemarks or standard ratings. You’ll find the kitemark or standard making at the bottom of the oval located below the actual keyhole.

What standard euro cylinder lock should I fit?

In order to ensure your lock is snap proof, you should choose one of the following three options:

  • A Euro cylinder lock marked to show it meets TS007 3 star kitemark.

The kitemark indicates that the lock has been tested by an independent third party, so you’re not just taking the manufacturer’s word regarding its strength and quality.

  • A SS312 Diamond Standard euro lock

The SS312 Diamond was the first test standard developed by ‘solid secure’. A lock that bears this mark, like the TS007 above, has been subjected to independent tests to verify that it can’t be snapped.

  • A 1-star euro cylinder combined with a with 2-star door furniture

It’s acceptable to have a lower rated lock if it’s combined with anti-snap door handles.

The very best anti-snap locks will have been tested to and accredited with both TS007 3 star rating and SS312 Diamond Standard. To some extent, your choice of lock may be dictated by your budget. At a minimum, a single lock should be rated to either TS007 3 star or SS312 Diamond.

A 1-star lock only meets recommended standards when it’s combined with 2-star door furniture. If you’re in a position to invest in multiple locking mechanisms for a door, so much the better. When deciding where to put your money, it’s worth remembering that your home is only as secure as its least secure door or window.

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Will not having anti-snap door locks invalidate my home insurance?

It’s worth checking with your insurance company about this as policies differ. Generally speaking, there are no requirements to update older euro cylinders with snap locks. Having said this, inadequate locks might invalidate your home insurance, if you live in an area with significant burglary levels. Of course, experiencing a break-in isn’t just about the loss of personal possessions or financial suffering. Having your home invaded is a traumatic and unpleasant event.

Two things are for certain:

Firstly, fitting anti-snap cylinder locks will always be looked upon favourably by an insurance company.

Secondly, it will discourage any would-be burglar. It’s impossible to eliminate crime, but you can take steps to make it less likely that criminals will target your home. Fitting anti-snap locks is a very good way to do just that.

Hesitating to install door locks yourself?

The highest security lock will be compromised if it’s not correctly fitted. It’s vital to choose a lock that’s the correct length for the thickness of your door so that it sits flush with the door surface. A lock that protrudes is vulnerable to snapping. This isn’t the only mistake people make in fitting locks, however, so if you’re in any doubt about your abilities, it really is best to get your door locks fitted by a professional locksmith.

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Takeaways

  • Euro cylinder locks produced before 2011 have a higher chance of becoming a target of lock snapping;
  • To identify whether you have the anti-snap lock fitted, check the for kitemarks or standard ratings at the bottom part of the lock;
  • To ensure the security of your property, we recommend installing the TS007 3 star kitemark or SS312 Diamond Standard locks;
  • It is acceptable to have a 1-star euro-cylinder combined with a with 2-star door furniture or lower rated locks with anti-snap handles as well.

If you decide to hire an expert, check out our post on locksmith service prices to learn what you can expect to pay.

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