MADRID – Locksmiths in Spain warn of a new tool used by burglars that allows them to open almost all doors in seconds. It’s about the Topolino.
This tool is used with outdated locks. And there are quite a few of them in Spain, warns the Union of Locksmiths. Approximately 80% of locks could be obsolete. That in combination with the ‘Topolino’ may be one of the reasons for the increased number of home thefts.
The ‘Topolino’ is one of the most important tools developed in the last 30 years,” says Jose Luis García Vicuña, President of the Union of Locksmiths (UCES) in CadenaSER. “It is very easy to use, it does not make any noise, it is very fast. And what’s more, the key is copied to use it whenever you want”.
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Increase in violent robberies
Violent robberies in homes in the Madrid region increased by 14.5% in 2022. The locksmith association, which represents 80% of professionals in this sector, believes that the appearance of tools such as the Topolino is partly responsible for the increase in this type of crime.
From UCES, locksmiths warn that most locks in the country are outdated due to advancing technology. It is added that the tools previously used by professionals required a license and justification to purchase them. However, since the advent of the Internet, this control has lost its meaning. Consequently, anyone can simply order a tool online and also learn how to use it simply. Moreover, tutorials are aplenty on numerous online platforms.
Vicuña explains how the Topolino works. “The device is placed in the lock´s cylinder and through a few very simple movements it copies the code of the key. Moreover, it can be used at any time.”
The locksmith expert warns against two more factors: the process can be done in several batches and takes between 15 seconds and 1 minute. For this reason, the president of the locksmiths believes that “this kind of illegal or illegal sale must be stopped if we want to avoid an increase in theft in the coming months”.
Growth in the number of home burglaries in Spain
The Madrid region ranks ninth among regions with the highest increase in residential burglaries (14.5%) in 2022. That equates to a total of 9,437 more cases. This is according to data from the National Police. Growth is widespread, with La Rioja topping the list, with a 32% increase, followed by Extremadura (24.1%) and Catalonia (20.4%). At the bottom of the list are the Canary Islands and Asturias. In both these places, residential burglaries are down compared to last year.
On Tuesday, UCES requested the central government in Madrid to launch a renovation plan to change the locks of homes and businesses across the country. The association estimates that four out of five large homes in Spain are over 25 years old and that more than half of Spanish homes are over 35 years old. Based on that, they estimate that implementing a renovation plan could reduce burglaries by 30%.
Spanish police launch anti-burglary campaign
The National Police will start preventive action against home robberies during Holy Week. The campaign provides a series of tips to ensure safety at home as well as for people going on holiday during this period.
If you suspect that there has been a break-in or that your home is being watched by anyone acting suspicious, or if you hear noise in empty houses, contact the National Police by calling 091.
The National Police has drawn up a series of tips to prevent break-ins. This is good practise at all times, but especially during the holiday when many people leave their properties unattended while they go on holiday.
Tips to prevent break-ins
- Close all doors and windows when you leave your home.
- Even if you leave home for a short while, always lock the door.
- If you have lost your keys or have just moved, replace the locks.
- Store your most valuable items in a safe where possible.
- Make an inventory with photos of said objects, including the serial number, make and model in the case of electronic devices and personalise them with a brand. All this allows identification in case of theft.
- Make sure your absence is not betrayed by an abundance of mail in your mailbox. Ask someone to empty it regularly.
- Do not tell strangers or your followers on social networks about your vacation plans.
- Everything in your home that gives the impression of being occupied is effective against burglary: don’t leave the blinds down completely and consider installing a programmable clock that lights the house by zone and by time and that can turn household appliances on and off at different times.
If you see the door of your home open or a broken window when you return home, do not enter. Call the police immediately. Do not touch anything inside so as not to destroy any evidence.
Do not allow unknown persons to enter your property.
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