The job of a locksman in Hollywood is to protect your home and possessions from burglars, but for many it’s also a dangerous job.
“If someone comes in, they can break in, steal your things and get away with it,” said a locksmaster who asked not to be identified.
“It’s just one of the things that we do.”
Locksmen work at more than 1,000 locksmith shops across the U.S. and Canada, and they make more than $40 million annually.
They are part of a growing profession that’s taking off in Hollywood, but it’s not just because of its increasing popularity.
In addition to being the go-to job for burglars and other criminals, locksmiths are a well-paying job for the industry.
Locks were traditionally used to protect valuable jewelry and other valuables in homes, but now they’re increasingly being used for personal items.
For instance, in a recent burglary at a home in Florida, the burglars broke into the home through a locked garage door, breaking into a safe, a bedside table, a bathroom cabinet, and more.
They also stole a jewelry box and several watches, which were all recovered.
The locksmith industry, however, is a risky business, said Tom Houghton, president of the National Lock Manufacturers Association.
“They are a very expensive occupation and it’s very hard to find someone willing to work in it,” he said.
Some locksmithing firms even take on illegal employees, said Houghtons partner, Mark Staley.
He says he and his business partners pay them in cash and take them to their work sites.
“I will not tolerate this kind of business in the industry,” he told Newsweek.
Many locksmith workers are younger than 25.
A lot of locksmith training is geared toward the beginning, he said, which can make the job more dangerous.
“People don’t really know what to expect, and it can be dangerous,” said Staley, who is a locksmaking instructor at the Academy of Lockmaking in Miami.
Houghson said he would prefer the locksmith be licensed, and that he’s worked with some locksmith companies that do.
“Some of the locks are really well-trained,” he explained.
“You don’t have to be a professional to be able to work here.”
But some people say that locksmith work is becoming increasingly dangerous, especially in recent years, and even some locks are no longer safe.
“As more locksmith jobs are becoming illegal, it has increased the risk for lock picking to become a high-risk occupation,” said Robert McLean, a professor of criminology at Loyola University Maryland, and a senior author of the book Locked in the Minds of Criminals: The Rise and Fall of the Professional Lock Picker.
McLean said that the rise of online lock picking has also increased the number of locks being sold and stolen, which he said makes locks safer for the average citizen.
“But the industry is very much a criminal enterprise,” he added.
McElroy said he feels that the current boom in locksmith employment in Hollywood has created a dangerous environment for those working in the business.
“There’s no safe work,” he says.
“Everyone is doing it for the money.”
LOCK PICKING PROFESSIONALITY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DARK WEB In fact, some experts say that the locksmakers are doing things that make them much more dangerous than they need to be.
“The industry is going in the wrong direction,” said David Smith, a locksperson at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“Lock picking is a profession that is becoming more dangerous, because it’s becoming more and more dangerous.”
He says that the lock picking industry is in danger because it is becoming a much more popular profession, because people are more willing to take risks and do dangerous jobs, and because the criminals are getting better at it.
Lock picking is an illegal profession that can result in death, and McElrie and Staley agree.
Lockpicking is a dangerous profession, they say, because criminals are better at finding and breaking into locked homes than locksmith experts are.
And locksmith safety standards are low, because there are so many lock picking jobs, said McElry.
“Most locksmith job, you have to have a license,” said McEllroy.
“And you can’t be doing it without a license.”
Lockpicking, however (and other locksmith related occupations) are not the only jobs that are in trouble.
The FBI’s National Electronic Crimes Task Force reports that more than 3,600 people were arrested for crimes related to locksmith crime in 2015, according to FBI data.
The number of lock picking crimes increased more than 50 percent between 2013 and 2015, while the number for