A Behind the Scenes Look at Safe Cracking

Can safes really be cracked, or is it all a Hollywood illusion? In the recently released blockbuster film, Now You See Me, a team of magicians known as the Four Horsemen, are masters of every trick in the book, including safe cracking. One of the Four Horsemen, Jack Wilder, claims that, “Nothing is ever really locked.”

So is it true? And is it as easy as these grand thief actors make it seem? Well, the most popular method of safe cracking is simply stealing the entire safe and hauling it to another location where the safe cracking time can be unlimited. In fact, by putting all of one’s valuables in a safe that’s fairly light and not bolted down, one is basically packing a suitcase full of treasures for the burglar to haul away, making it an easy steal. Since this is such a common burglar method, we highly recommend bolting your safe down. For more info on how to do this, see our article: To Bolt Down or Not to Bolt Down…That is the Question.

With that being said, safe cracking IS possible and can be attempted inside a person’s home, when the burglar is not able to haul the safe away to a more secure location. The complexity and the likelihood of success for the burglar depends highly on a safe’s burglar rating.  The Underwriter’s Laboratory (U.L.) has developed a burglar rating for home security safes called: Residential Security Container (RSC), which equates to a safe being able to withstand 5 “attack” minutes of rigorous prying, drilling, grinding, punching, chiseling and tampering attacks using common tools found in a home, specifically a: 3lb. hammer, 18” pry bar, screw driver, grinder, and drill. You may think: 5 minutes, that’s all? The point is that 5 minutes of “attack” time can take 15 to 20 minutes of actual time on the clock. Statically, burglars are only inside a house for 8-10 minutes in a typical home burglary and in that time they have to find the safe, figure out what tools they’re going to use, etc. By that time, getting to the actual safe cracking time is not very likely. Want even more security? Higher security safes are available and come with a commercial (for banks and jewelry stores) burglar rating like TL-15, TL-30, or TL-30×6 (the number represents the number of minutes that the safe can withstand an attack).

You’re still probably thinking: but what about those guys in the movies who are actually able to “crack the code” and open the safe without all the brutal attack tools. Well, we can’t say that it’s not possible, but the masterminds who have learned that skill are very far and few between. The time required can be hours, and they are definitely NOT your typical home burglars. Want to know more about safe cracking or think you can figure it out? Check out our behind the scenes video looks at how mechanical locks and digital locks work HERE. Most of all, keep your safe secure by following these tips: bolt your safe to the floor and make sure it has an RSC and/or a TL burglar rating!