Ethical Lockpicking

by Yodle - Date: 2009-10-03 - Word Count: 639 Share This!

Robert Campbell, a locksmith who owns Advantage Locksmith in New York City, answers some ethical questions on locksmithing.

Yodle Q: When you come to a site to do a lock-out job, how do you know it is actually the client's house?

Campbell A: You often don't. The onus is on locksmiths to ask for identification and that is the first thing we do. If someone says I don't have ID, you cannot open the door. Needless to say, people get locked out in a variety of circumstances. So the law in New York City is to be reasonable and to do what is right while protecting the identity and reputation of the trade. You will have cases where perhaps a young woman has run out to get a quart of milk and forgotten her ID inside. It happens quite often. You don't want to leave people out in the cold, so there are a couple of things we can do in those types of situations: We can say "That's fine. You live in a residential building so we are going to ring the super's bell or another tenant's bell and ask him to vouch for you." In a worst-case scenario, if the person lives in a house or everyone is asleep, we say, "OK, we are going to open the door but the first thing you have to do is show us ID immediately or we will ask you to step outside or we'll call the police."

Yodle Q: Have there been cases where you've opened the wrong doors people?

Campbell A: Running my own company, we are really aggressive in those issues and thankfully we have not seen that yet. However, a company I used to work for in Queens once sent out a young female locksmith for a lockout job. She was a great locksmith, but being a young woman, she was vulnerable. The client said his ID was inside and when she opened the door; there was someone else inside waiting! The criminals tied her up and put her in the closet, and she was in there for a little while. After not being able to reach her, we sent another locksmith who managed to rescue her and get her out safely. She was OK but it was obviously a harrowing experience. You have to be careful in this business. There are obviously dangerous situations that can arise going to strange places in the middle of the night.

We once had a circumstance where a gentleman called us in the morning and asked for his locks to be changed on his house in Long Island. There was nothing irregular about the call, and we went over and did the job, no problem. Later that that evening, when it was the night shift, a woman called us saying that she had been locked out of her house. She showed ID, it was her house so we let her in, changed the locks and went on our way. The next morning when we looked over the work orders from the evening shift, we realized that it was the same address for both jobs. It turns out the couple was going through a divorce and this was some sort of domestic dispute. He had locked her out and then she in turn had locked him out. We got a call again that day from the man about the same address. We politely told him that no, we could not do the job yet again as it would not be ethical.

In reality, we would not have even done the same address twice in the first place, but it was an oversight because the shifts had changed. We are not in the business of profiting from people's misery. We are not about to go back and forth and do the same job over and over again.

Related Tags: ethics, lock out, doors, keys, locksmith, locksmiths, high security locks, copy keys, licensed locksmith, lockpick, lockpick ethics, locksmith ethics

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