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High Security Lock and Key Control (From Physical Security Readings From Security Management Magazine, P 283-293, 1986, Shari Mendelson Gallery, ed. - See NCJ-101017)

NCJ Number
M E Harter
Date Published
12 pages
The development of an effective lock and key control system must consider lock cylinder quality, the number of noninterchangeable bitting codes, the restricted assignment of key bitting codes, restricted key sections, minimal master keying, and the use of a key control program.
A high-quality lock cylinder will have superior resistance to defeat by force or picking. The bitting codes should also provide for a limited number of interchangeable keys. The lock manufacturer should maintain records that ensure no two customers will have the same set of bitting codes. The most secure level of key control provides that all keys are ordered at initial purchase, and no additional keys can be manufactured. If master keying is required, there should be a number of master keys for small groups of locks. A key control program should include an overall plan, careful key selection, a blind key code system with a serial number for each key, a key control officer and clerical support, and key records. Other aspects of a key control system are a secure key storage facility and a schedule for frequently monitoring key records. An authorization system must be established to control the acquisition of additional keys and cylinders. Various factors determine the rate at which locks and keys should be changed. An effective lock and key security system will be approximately twice the cost of an inferior system.


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