If you live in Japan chances are you have one of these things pictured above attached to your front door. These U-shaped door latches provide an extra lock to your door but also allow you to prop it open to let a cool breeze through your home on a sweltering summer day.

Many Japanese people while sleeping or napping rely on these simple devices to safely crack their doors for comfort, but probably shouldn’t. As we will soon show you, these latches are actually about as secure as a stick of warm butter. In fact, in a demonstration video uploaded to YouTube, you’ll see that even the most amateur of criminals can bypass them in seconds.

Here is a locked U-shaped latch which only allows the door to open a few centimeters to see outside or let in fresh air.

However, any thief or assailant armed with a length of ribbon or string can simply thread it through the U.

Then bring it over the top of the door.

Once the door is shut, all they have to do is give a little tug and the lock is opened.

Another variation of the U-shaped latch is even easier to bypass.

By simply opening the door part way, something as flimsy as a piece of mail can be used to hold the latch out as the door is closed…

And opened.

Those of you with chain locks on your door might be feeling a little better with your choice in door security, but not so fast. Apparently it’s possible to take one of those out with a simple rubber band.

It works in a similar way to the other tricks but this one seems more reliant on a particular style of door handle to work.

If you happen to be using these types of latches for your door, make sure to use them in conjunction with other forms of security when sleeping. You could also take countermeasures to these tricks such as installing something like a hook or rack on the door to prevent an intruder from pulling the ribbon to the side in the case of a U-shaped latch.

Whatever you do, don’t rely too much on your current locks. I’d feel more comfortable going back to a huge piece of wood braced against the front door like they used to do with castles. My wife, however, tends to think that would clash with the sconces.

Source: Naver Matome (Japanese)
Videos & Images: YouTube – younghun jo, Barry Wels lockpick video’s