Criminals don’t pick locks

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Criminals don’t pick locks

One of the most common fears people have is that if every Joe Shmoe out there knows how to pick a lock, their neighbourhood will suddenly become riddled with break-ins and thefts.

We have taken data from Stats SA’s Governance, Public Safety and Justice Survey GPSJS 2018/19 ( to give an indication, and while this doesn’t exactly give us answers on how many burglaries were committed by an entry of lockpicking, it’s clear that a huge majority used weapons during the robbery which doesn’t leave a lot of room for “criminal lockpickers.” Statistics aside, it also just doesn’t make sense that a criminal who wants your TV or jewellery, someone who is looking for a crime of opportunity, would want to run the risk of being found with “burglary tools” on them.

Think about the most common burglary tactics we hear about. A burglar will monitor a target neighbourhood for a few weeks watching different homeowner’s habits such as regular times they are away or if they open and then forget to relock that living room window every afternoon the sun happens to be out. Another example is the burglar who approaches a front door and rings the bell. If someone answers the door, they make up an excuse needing to borrow a phone or read a meter, if no one answers, they will try to open the front door and hope someone forgot to lock it before leaving the house. These are both good tactics for criminals because even if a watchful eye gets suspicious and calls the police, the would-be burglar has done nothing wrong and nobody can prove they had malicious intent. Bottom line is that they leave the burglar with an out. Acting suspiciously and then having the police find lockpicking tools is the opposite of what burglars want.

If a criminal wants some free stuff, they are going to:

  • want quick and easy entry;
  • spend as little time possible actually committing the crime;
  • not care if they leave behind a broken door or window (use destructive entry).

None of these things are conducive to lockpicking as an entry solution. Anybody who can pick a lock will you tell you that in order to make your skill reliable, it takes time, knowledge, self-study and research, patience, and an investment in tools. Getting lucky with an unlocked door, kicking a door in, or a rock through the window are all far more probable scenarios when it comes to burglaries.