Locksmithing is the profession of creating, installing, or maintaining locks, safes, and related mechanical access control technologies, such as doors and alarms. Modern day locksmiths primarily install and service locks, safes, and alarms, and provide lock-out and key duplication services to their community.
Locksmiths use various methods of compromise to open and remove locks for customers. Because of the nature of skills used, locksmithing is restricted to licensed or certified individuals in certain states and countries.
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Locksmiths offer a variety of services to both their local community and, with the advent of the Internet, the world at large.
- Key duplication
- Locksmiths provide key duplication services for their customers. A customer brings in a key they wish to have duplicated and copies are made. In the case of high security locks, a security card or other identifiying information must be presented to the locksmith in order to get duplicates made. Duplication of common key blanks in urban areas is commonly done by automated machines at hardware stores. Locksmiths are particularly useful when uncommon or high-security key duplication is required.
- Key system design
- Locksmiths are frequently tasked with designing and installing new access control systems, particularly keying systems, for a given facility. They may also be asked to evaluate the security of an existing system.
- Lock servicing/installation
- Locksmiths are usually the person who installs and maintains a locking system for residential and commercial installations. In this case, the locksmith usually provides lock sales, key duplication, and rekeying services to the customer, as well.
- Lockouts and safe openings
- Some locksmiths specialize in unlocking cars, doors, and safes after the owners locked themselves out, lost their key, or forgot the combination. These locksmiths use techniques of lockpicking, impressioning, decoding, and bypass to open the lock and generate new keys or combinations for the customer. If all else fails, locksmiths can use destructive entry, particularly drilling, to open most locks.
Licensing and Certification
- See the Legal Issues page for specific licensing laws.
Many countries, provinces, or states require that locksmiths be license or certified. The level of training and experience required varies, but many places require that an apprenticeship or training program be completed. In more extreme cases, a diploma from an engineering college is required. Currently, the majority of states in the United States do not require licensing or certification, but a contractor's or business license is usually required.
- Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA)
- International Association of Investigative Locksmiths (IAIL) (Defunct)
- Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)
- Master Locksmiths Association (MLA)
- European Locksmith Federation (ELF)
- Institute of Certified Locksmiths (ICL)
- Forensics Institute of Physical Security (FIOPS)
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