During the last 20 years UPVC doors have overtaken timber doors in popularity. One of the reasons for this is the multipoint locks which are fitted to them and are seen as very secure due to all of the locking points. However, with crime rates on the rise and burglaries increasing rapidly, is your UPVC door as secure as you think it is?Should you consider fitting a better lock or fitting additional security measures to your door?

Many of the first generation of multipoint locks have a latch and deadbolt in the centre (near the handle) and 2 to 4 rollers on the rest of the lock above and below the handles. Rollers look like short lengths of round bar and move up and down when the handles are used to operate the lock mechanism. The rollers sit in keeps on the door frame when the door is locked. These early roller only multipoint locks are not very secure and can be opened by levering them away from the frame and pushing the door open. If you have one of these locks fitted to your UPVC door you should consider upgrading to a multipoint lock with hook and / or deadbolts in addition to rollers. Hooks and deadbolts do not allow the door to be levered away from the frame enough to be opened. If you are unsure if your lock needs to be upgraded than call a local locksmith for advice, decent ones will provide advice and a quote for free.

Once you have a secure multipoint lock on your door you need to consider that the only thing preventing all of the hook, deadbolts, and rollers being moved out of the way using the handle is the cylinder fitted to the lock. The cylinder is the bit that you put the key in. Thieves use a variety of methods to defeat the cylinder. One method that has gained in popularity in recent years is lock snapping, West Yorkshire police recently released figures showing that 6 out of 7 burglaries in Leeds were committed using lock snapping to gain entry to the property. This method requires only basic tools, very little skill, and only takes a few seconds. The cylinder is literally snapped in half and part is removed from the door, allowing the lock to be operated using a bent screwdriver to replicate the action of the cam in the cylinder. Another method used by thieves is lock bumping. This technique uses a special 'bump key' which is placed part way into the cylinder and then tapped in whilst a slight turning force is applied to the key. This bounces the pins in the cylinder apart allowing the cylinder to turn and the lock to open. This method requires a little practice but is very quick and makes no noise, it also leaves no sign of forced entry which means you may not be able to claim on your insurance.

It is obvious from the above that the best multipoint lock in the world is useless if fitted with a cylinder which can easily be defeated. The good news is that the lock manufacturers have addressed these problems and have manufactured a range of cylinders which resist lock snapping, referred to as anti snap locks or snap safe locks, and resist bumping, referred to as anti bump locks. Anti snap or snap safe locks work in one of two ways, either part of the cylinder breaks off when snapped (leaving the door locked and still operable by the key) or the cylinder has reinforcement around the vulnerable area to prevent it being snapped. All good quality cylinders will also have special pins inside to make picking the lock difficult and special features to protect against the lock being drilled. With various cylinders to choose from how do you decide which to buy?  Make sure that the cylinder should be both anti snap / snap safe and anti bump. Two things to look for are the Kitemark symbol  which shows that the cylinder meets the relevant British Standard, and 'Secured by Design' approval which means the lock is approved by the Police and insurance companies.