Burglary Story: Yale Lock

Burglary Story: Yale Lock

by Bruce Daniels.

(Tooting, London.)


Some people are plain stupid other people are very stupid. I guess that at times the second description fits me best!

I have a small flat above a shop, it is more of a bedsitter actually. The only entrance to the flat is by a door next to the entrance to the shop. There is a window in my kitchen space that I’m told is a fire escape, it leads out on to a flat roof and I’m supposed to jump to the ground from there.

Anyway, the door had a Yale lock, the type that lock when you pull the door shut. I’d always told myself that it would not take much to force that lock and I was right.

As must have happened to most people, I came home from the pub one night and found I was without my keys. After swearing a good many times I realized that the only way I was going to get into my home was to break in.

The door and the door to the shop are set back a few feet, so they can only be seen by someone passing by. So, like detectives in countless old television programs I slammed my shoulder against the door. Those detectives must have been far more muscular than I am because the door did not budge. But I had to get in, so I tried again and again. Eventually there was a small cracking sound, another shove and the door was open.

The screws that fixed the cup to the door frame had been knocked out. The screws were only about an inch long. Did I replace them with longer screws? No, I just repaired the holes with a little wood filler and used the same screws again! Didn’t I tell you I was very stupid.

I did intend to do something about improving the security of that door, but I left it and left it.

And so about four months later while, I was out for the evening, someone else found how easy it was to put their shoulder to the door, or was it their boot. I felt as sick as a pig, not just because of the stuff I lost, which was pretty much everything of value, but also because I was stupid not to do anything about the door.

Of course I have done something now, what is that old saying about barn doors and horses bolting?

First thing I got rid of that old Yale lock ( I’ve since learnt that those are the locks crooks can open with a credit card,) and had a five lever mortise lock fitted. But I was still not happy with that and a month later had another fitted at the bottom of the door. It’s a bit awkward locking and unlocking but the door is certainly more secure.

Had long discussions with the bloke who runs the shop downstairs about fitting a removable grill across the entranceway, that would protect both doors. He is all for the idea but unfortunately his boss won’t go for it. Anyway I hope that it is not too long before I’m moving out of here.

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Feb 12, 2009

Protect your own door.

by: Anonymous

If you can not get permission to fit a grille over both doors, why not just simply fit it over your own door? What can the guy who owns the shop do about that?

Jul 22, 2008

A stronger frame is what you need.

by: Anonymous

They will not try busting your door with their shoulder, they will kick it in. And a stronger lock is no good unless the frame is strong, often they are not, have a look at the frame you will find that it is weak. You need to strengthen up the frame.

Jul 06, 2008

Neglecting your home security.

by: Martin (editor)

Hi Bruce,

Don’t beat yourself up too badly. We all neglect to do things now and then. Trouble is neglecting your home security can cost you dearly as you have learned.

The lock that describe is a cylinder night latch and is fairly common in the UK. You are right to replace it with a deadbolt lock. That will go some way to making the door secure.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Martin (editor)

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