Many investigations involve the compromise of locks and safes. Although there are a few forensic locksmiths, most crime laboratories and investigators do not have the background or expertise to conduct such inquiries. There have been several publications on the subject of locks, safes, and their forensic examination. One of them was the first Edition of Locks, Safes, and Security (1971). I read and used in my practice this book, which was called “the bible of lock examination” by forensic examiners. For the last two decades, no comprehensive international treatise on locks and safes has been specifically written for law enforcement and government agencies until the Second Edition of Locks, Safes, and Security.
This book is important for criminal investigators, forensic examiners, insurance agents, and security personnel in order to understand how locks work, how they can be compromised, and if they were bypassed. Traditional tool mark examinations are routinely conducted by every crime laboratory. However, the expertise required in the evaluation of security hardware entails a comprehensive understanding of many levels of complexity of locks and locking systems that has been lacking.
From my personal experience while working in both the former Soviet Union and the United States, certain criminal investigations would have been brought to a successful conclusion if a detailed analysis of locks and locking systems could have been competently performed at a crime scene. In most cases, this is not done because of lack of expertise of field investigators or forensic examiners.
I have known the author for the past quarter century. His unique experience as an attorney, prosecutor, criminal investigator and technician provides the necessary perspective to make this book a required international reference on the subject of locks, safes, and security for those charged with the investigation or prevention of crimes that involve a compromise in security.
Dr. Ilya Zeldes, J.D., Ph.D.
Distinguished and Emeritus Member, AFTE
Director, South Dakota State Forensic Laboratory (Retired) 1977-1993