Bypassing Locks

Locks keep honest people honest, but after disaster strikes, they may be what is separating honest people from food and secure shelter.  This is the first in a series of articles about lawfully bypassing locks to obtain necessary supplies or shelter for survival, not for theft.  You might be thinking that you don’t need to know any more about bypassing locks than a pair of bolt cutters or a pry bar.  But here are a few reasons why to not to damage the locks you are bypassing.

Stealth and Ease of Carry

Carrying around a pry bar and a pair of bolt cutters is not only suspect, it’s also difficult to do without being noticed, or while running because you were noticed.  Compare that to adding a few “bump keys” to your key ring in your pocket, or putting a “quick stick” in your wallet between your ID and a credit card, and bringing a coke can to make shims out of for padlocks.  These methods which will be discussed later are all much more discreet, and much easier.

Covering Your Tracks

After a disaster, you will not be the only one looking for supplies.  But some people will inevitably be looting, and stealing.  You do not want these people to know that there is an insecure building that you have a vested interest in.  Whether you are using it for scavenging food, or looking for shelter, you do not want to draw attention to the building by tearing the front door apart to get inside.  You want your source of food, or your shelter, to look as secure as possible to any opportunistic looters.

Locking the Door Behind You

Not only do you want the building to appear to be secure, but if possible you want to be able to lock it up again.  Either while you are seeking shelter in it, or when you leave so that others to not take the supplies that you are hoping to get later.  This is not going to be possible if you destroy the lock to gain entry.  If you are bypassing a padlock, you can even take it with you and use it elsewhere.


Locks may be a useful and necessary part of your everyday lives now, but after a disaster, they are only going to be obstacles in the way of you getting what you need.  Learning how to bypass them while keeping them intact for future use is a skill that could mean the difference between life and death.

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