Slim Jims were initially introduced to the market by HPC Inc. and in technical terms, this item is referred to as a lockout tool. It’s usually shaped like spring steel that measures 0.79–1.57 wide and 24 long. The main purpose of a Slim Jim Tool is to help unlock a vehicle door without using a lockpick or a key.
The ingeniousness of the slim jim is that it bypasses the locking mechanism to engage the interconnecting rods and levers that activate the door directly. The user will carefully slip the tool in the space between the rubber seal and car window in order to latch onto the rods which are attached to the lock mechanism, thus smoothly opening the door.
However, using this tool carelessly leaves the lock practically useless afterward and it usually won’t work even with a key. If you notice this, then you should know that someone probably tried to open your car.
There are some new car models which have been designed to prevent the efforts of a slim jim by hiding the lock cylinder and operating rods so that the tool doesn’t reach them. Others even come with barrier blocks installed at the bottom of the window to prevent the slim jim from getting through.
There have also been rumors of another feature that will be incorporated into future models, which will enable the car’s airbag system to switch on as soon as an intruder tries to use a slim jim.
Are Lock Picks which is exactly what Slim Jim Tool is legal?
At this point, the possession of what’s known as “burglars tools” has been classified as a crime by most states.
Of course, the definition differs from one state to the other but the general premise is that anyone who possesses “burglar’s tools” will be seen as having committed to using them. That’s why in most cases the possession of burglar’s tools is a crime that’s often tied to or strengthens burglary and trespassing.
However, felons are usually charged separately for the possession of burglar’s tools. This means that the state will charge the person for the actual act of burglary as well as the possession of burglar’s tools. Oftentimes, you’ll find that the possession of these tools has the ability to increase the severity of one’s sentence from misdemeanor to a burglary felony charge.
Also, each state has its own way of dealing with these charges, and while some identify it as a felony charge, others simply see it as a misdemeanor.
It’s also up to each individual state to define which implements they consider to be burglar’s tools. You’ll find that some states go into detail when describing these tools, while others prefer to stick to a very broad definition. Some will even end their definition with slightly vague phrases such as, “any tool that’s commonly and deliberately used when committing a crime”.
The latter definition obviously leaves much room for speculation and error. If you really think about it, you can insert any tool into that definition, from a pry bar to wire cutters and even tools that you’d use for camping for example. This leaves people in the mercy of officers and judges who might decide that your red-filtered headlamp really is a burglar’s tool and punish you accordingly just because they had a bad day in court.