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How do people crack open safes?

by:Proway     2023-07-09

How Do People Crack Open Safes?

Safes are an integral part of keeping our valuable items and confidential documents safely locked away from harm’s reach. However, there are times when we forget our safe combinations or lose the keys, leaving us frantically searching for a solution to gain entry. It is at such times that we may need to consider the options of cracking open a safe. But, how does one go about cracking open a safe? In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at the various methods that people use to crack open safes.

Understanding the Terminology Involved

Before diving into the various methods used in cracking open safes, it is essential to understand some of the terminology involved. Here are some of the most common terms that you will come across:

Safe Manipulation: This refers to the process used to open a safe without using the actual combination code or key.

Safe Drilling: This involves drilling a hole into the safe to access the lock from the inside.

Safe Scopes: These are small cameras that are inserted into the safe through the drilled hole to view the lock mechanism and work on it.

Electronic Safe Locks: These are locks that rely on an electronic code that needs to be inputted on a keypad to access the contents of the safe.

Mechanical Safe Locks: These are locks that use a set of dials that spin to input a combination to unlock the safe.

Now that we have an understanding of some of the terminology involved let us delve into the various methods used in cracking open safes.

1. Safe Manipulation

Safe manipulation has been a popular method used by locksmiths and professional thieves alike. The process involves feeling the safe’s lock with the fingers and attempting to determine the correct combination. Although it is a slow process, it is highly effective and doesn’t cause any damage to the safe.

The technique involves spinning the safe dial several times to reset it back to its starting position. The manipulator then listens closely for a slightly different sound when rotating the dial and stopping at each number. The process is repeated for all the numbers in the combination until the lock clicks open.

2. Scoping Method

Scoping is a technique that involves drilling a small hole in the safe and inserting a borescope camera to inspect the lock. Once the lock is inspected, the locksmith or thief will use small tools like hooks and picks to manipulate the lock tumblers until the safe opens.

One downside to this technique is that sophisticated safes are often constructed with intricate lock mechanisms that use a variety of techniques to prevent access through the drilled hole. Therefore, this approach is best suited for the less complex types of safes.

3. Electronic Safe Bypass

Modern safes often come with an electronic keypad that allows the user to input the security code to open the safe. These types of safes can be easily bypassed using a magnet that is applied to the safe's right spot. The location is usually just underneath the keypad, where the locking mechanism is located.

The magnet needs to be held in place tightly while the lock is activated, causing the lock to fail and opening the safe. Although the process is quite simple, it only works with safes that have an electronic locking system.

4. X-Raying Method

This is a technique that is often seen in movies where thieves use x-ray vision to view the internal workings of the safe lock and manipulate it without opening the safe. The process involves scanning the safe using an x-ray machine to identify the locks' tumblers and the combination code.

Once the code is identified, the thief can go ahead and manipulate the safe's combination lock using the common manipulation method discussed earlier. However, this technique is not widely used in reality as it requires a lot of tools and expertise.

5. Safe Drilling

Safe drilling is a method used when a safe cannot be opened by the above methods. A drill is used to create holes in the safe's exterior to gain entry. Once the holes are created, a locksmith or thief will use a scope to view the lock mechanism and manipulate it, opening the safe.

One downside to this technique is that it often results in damaged safes that need to be repaired before they can be used again. It is also a technique that is widely used by thieves.


Cracking open safes may seem like a complex and sophisticated process, but it is widely used. Regardless of the technique used, it is essential to avoid damaging the safe or harming its contents. For this reason, it is essential to hire a professional locksmith who has experience in opening safes to avoid any damage to the safe or its contents.

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