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40 McGeorge L. Rev. 498 (2009)
Chapter 119: Bump Keys Break into the Penal Code

handle is hein.journals/mcglr40 and id is 506 raw text is: 

Chapter 119: Bump Keys Break into the Penal Code

David Wiksell

Code Section Affected
    Penal Code § 466 (amended).
    SB 1554 (Dutton); 2008 STAT. Ch. 119.

                                  I. INTRODUCTION

    The popular Geico car insurance slogan, [s]o easy a caveman can do it,'
could also be used to describe how easy it is to use a bump key to circumvent a
lock.2 The bump key, which is essentially a standard key with all of the cuts
shaved down to the maximum depth,3 can be inserted almost all of the way into a
lock.4 The lock can then be opened by knocking the back of the bump key with
any tool that will apply enough force, such as a hammer.'
    In addition to being very easy to use,6 a bump key leaves almost no evidence
of its use.7 For example, over a three-day stretch in September of 2007, more than
twenty apartments were burglarized in a northern Texas town; officials believed
that the perpetrators used bump keys to gain entry into the apartments.8 However,
with little or no indication of lock tampering, it was difficult to determine
whether a bump key was [indeed] used or whether the property owner simply
left the[] door unlocked.9 Because most homeowner's insurance policies do not

     1. Laura Petrecca & Theresa Howard, Advertising/Marketing: From Caveman to Cult Hit, USA TODAY,
May 7, 2007, http://www.usatoday.com/money/advertising/2007-05-07-ad-trackN.htm?csp=34 (on file with
the McGeorge Law Review).
    2. See Are Your Locks 'Bump' Proof? Key Sold Online May Give Thieves Quick Access to Your Home,
S. FLA. SUN-SENTINEL, May 24, 2008, at IB [hereinafter Are Your Locks 'Bump' Proof?.] (describing how lock-
bumping can be accomplished by a novice).
    3. See Barry Wels & Rop Gonggrijp, Bumping Locks, Jan. 26, 2005, at 4, http://www.toool.nl/images/
7f75/Bumping.pdf (on file with the McGeorge Law Review) (A bump key is a key in which all the cuts are at
maximum depth.).
    4. See id. at 5 (explaining that there must be a small gap between the lock and the shoulder of the bump key).
    5. Id. ([A]nything with not too much weight and preferably also some swing, such as a dull bread-knife
held by the blade or the handle of the hammer could.., work.).
    6. See Are Your Locks 'Bump' Proof?, supra note 2 (explaining the few steps it takes to open a lock with
a bump key); Wels & Gonggrijp, supra note 3, at 1 (describing how a bump key can open a variety of locks
without substantial damage, usually in under [thirty] seconds, with little training and using only inexpensive
    7. Emma Cullwick, Homes at Risk with Advice on Internet: CRIME. Warning as Videos Which Show
Lock Picking Techniques Go on Sale, BIRMINGHAM MAIL (U.K.), Apr. 10, 2008, at 32 ([A] 'bump' key can
easily open a locked door without leaving a trace of damage.).
    8. Wendy Hundley, 'Bump Key' Tool All Burglars Need to Stroll In, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, Oct. 5,
2007, http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news ocalnews/stories/  0 507dnmetbumpkey.3569b9d.
html (on file with the McGeorge Law Review) (Lewisville police believe 'bump keys' were used in more than
[twenty] apartment burglaries that occurred during a three-day period in September.).
    9. Id.

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