When Shoddy Work Causes Break-ins

Today I went out to fix a lock after somebody broke in over the night. The owner thought they used lockpicks after watching the security camera video but the telltale signs of somebody using a wrench were on the lock cylinder and its housing. Whenever somebody can put a wrench on the physical lock cylinder it is a bad thing. It means that they might be able to either manipulate the lock or remove the lock cylinder entirely by rotating it with a wrench. That is why it was surprising to me that this lock featured this deficiency. Rim cylinders are particularly susceptible to this problem. Rotate them less than a quarter turn and the door will probably open.

This lock cylinder should not be sticking out beyond the brown housing. This is either ignorance or particularly malicious laziness at work. Also they make lock cylinders in the dark brown color. It’s as if the installer took pride in their shoddy work and wanted to call attention to it by deliberately using the wrong finish. However we shouldn’t assume malice where sheer idiocy will adequately explain things.

A number of errors were revealed while taking the old lock cylinder out to replace. The first and most obvious error I encountered was that one of the two through bolts were missing from the lock. This means that somebody might pry the entire housing off of the door. How lazy do you have to be not to screw a Philips head screw back in? I suspect only one screw was put back in because that is the bare minimum required to keep the lock from falling off the door. If they could’ve reattached the lock with no screws I wonder if they would have?

The second error I noticed was that this Schlage lock is designed to have the lock cylinder recessed in the housing. If the person who installed this lock cylinder knew anything at all about security they would not have installed this lock cylinder protruding from the housing so that somebody could grab it with a wrench. I replaced this lock cylinder and after doing so the cylinder face is flush with the lock housing the way the housing is designed.

The lock housing doesn’t require a cylinder protector but if it did the one on the left is a more appropriate choice. The one on the right should only be used on the interior side of doors where people won’t use a wrench to break in.

The third issue that beggars belief is why did the person who installed this cylinder use a chrome Kwikset cylinder? This entire building has oil rubbed bronze hardware with expensive Schlage removable cores. Not disparaging Kwikset but when I replaced the cylinder the owner had me key it to a nice 6 pin Schlage key. Why didn’t the last guy do that? Any competent locksmith will have Schlage rim cylinders in multiple finishes in their van. Whoever installed it probably had only this one rolling around in the back of their Toyota Camry.

Not only did this person’s work look terrible but it practically invited and resulted in a burglary. If you need somebody to work on your locks for the sake of Pete don’t call the first rando off of Google to help you. Their help may end up costing you so much more in the longterm than their substandard work does initially. There are a lot of good locksmiths in Seattle and if I am too busy to help you I have a good list of competent locksmiths to refer you to. I have the phone numbers of several locksmiths memorized I refer them so much, I’d rather they get the work than I encounter silliness like this clown world locksmithery.

Cylinder installed correctly, flush with the housing. Bonus: Same finish as housing!

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Bjørn Madsen

I am the Seattle locksmith you've been looking for. High Quality work at a reasonable price delivered in a timely fashion.