Is it safe to leave your house key in the lock on the inside of your door?
May 14, 2004 8:19 PM   Subscribe

Is it safe to leave your house key in the lock on the inside of your door? I always do this so I know where my keys are, but I've always wondered if doing so makes it easier for the lock to be bypassed by ill-intentioned citizens. Should I store my keys somewhere else?
posted by grateful to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
If there's glass nearby, I'd say no, it's not safe.

In some places, though, it's illegal to have a deadbolt that is keyed from the inside, rather than having a lever. Fire safety is cited as the reason for this.

Can you imagine being locked in your house and burning to death or dying from smoke inhalation?
posted by Kwantsar at 8:22 PM on May 14, 2004

Well, if any part of your door is glass, they can break the glass and grab your keys... then they can open the door. Of course, they could open the door anyway once they break the glass by turning your doorknob. If you mean easier to infiltrate via lockpicking, that's different. You need to provide more information as to your particular door setup and type of lock. But I would doubt it makes much difference in your situation. If someone wants in bad enough... they'll get in. If you're assuming they have the skills to pick locks... whether your keys are in your front door or not, they'll get through it, and if not, they can simply go to a side door and pick that lock if they wanted.
posted by banished at 8:24 PM on May 14, 2004

I'd say if I were robbing a place, seeing keyes in the door like that would be a definate put-off. You know, with the idea that there must be people inside the house and all... :-)
posted by shepd at 12:08 AM on May 15, 2004

what kind of lock is it?

if it's a lever type (big, old fashioned, with a keyhole you can see through) then, if there's a gap under the door, you can slip a piece of paper under the door, push the keys out of the keyhole so they fall on the paper, and slide them under the door.

on the other, leaving keys in such a lock, but turned so that they can't be pushed out makes picking it a bit harder (usually the same levers are used from either side - the key will be symmetric).

if it's a cylinder lock (eg yale, smaller, asymmetric key) then usually the cylinders are not shared (often inside doesn't have a cylinder, but a knob). and there's no problem (apart from breaking glass etc as above).

anyone can learn to pick locks and once you can do it you can open a lock in a minute or so, so they're really only good for stopping casual burglars. luckily most are casual...
posted by andrew cooke at 4:26 AM on May 15, 2004

If there's no glass, it's better to leave the key in - in many cases this will stop anyone using a key from the outside, should they have one.
posted by ascullion at 5:06 AM on May 15, 2004

Remember, if someone REALLY wants to get in your house, they can just bust open a window with a sledgehammer and climb right in, unless you have bars on every window in your house, in which case burglary should be the least of your problems.
posted by calwatch at 1:02 AM on May 16, 2004

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