Safecracking: Just What Exactly Is It?

October 6, 2021 10:32 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When you hear the word “safecracking,” images of a burglar trying to break into a safe or bank vault probably come to mind. While attempted robbery certainly is one type of safecracking, there is also perfectly legal safecracking that can be performed by a professional locksmith. This post will teach you the ins and outs to expand your safecracking knowledge.

Illegal safecracking techniques

The most common safecracking method involves drilling a hole into the face of the lock and then using a rod to push or bend the lock’s levers out of place. Once the levers are out of the way, the robber can easily open the safe and steal the money, documents or other items inside.

Another method is lock manipulation, where the safe is opened without defacing the lock or safe. We see this technique used in heist movies, where the character will open the lock by listening to the lock’s contact points while moving the wheel. What the movies don’t show, though, is that this technique requires a ton of time, patience and safecracking knowledge.

Essentially, the robber must carefully listen to the lock to determine its contact points, mark the results and finally try a number of possible combinations until the lock finally opens. This method can take hours, so it’s not the preferred method for bad guys.

A robber can also use oxy-acetylene torches or plasma cutters to bore through the actual safe. While this method doesn’t require as much time, it does create a ton of smoke, which can alert the authorities that something fishy is going on.

Safecracking penalties

Whether it’s opened with a plasma torch or drill or through lock manipulation, unauthorized safecracking is undoubtedly a crime. Safecracking carries the same penalty as burglary under Virginia law, so the penalties can be severe. Depending on what’s stolen, the burglar can spend years locked up in a federal prison.

Under Virginia law, safecracking also refers to the act of stealing the safe and then opening it at a different location. So even if the burglars don’t take the time to open the safe at the business, they’re still committing the same crime later on.

Legal safecracking

Safecracking can also be a legal practice if it’s performed by a reputable locksmith. Pros will often use the lock manipulation technique mentioned above instead of drilling, but if the safe must be drilled, pros follow quite a few safety tips with safecracking to prevent permanently damaging the safe or destroying the contents stored inside.

Don’t try to open your safe by yourself

It takes years of practice and training for a locksmith to open safes successfully without causing any damage. Needless to say, it’s not a DIY job! So, if you find yourself locked out of your safe, call our team at Artie’s Lock and Key. We follow all safety tips with safecracking to ensure we don’t damage your safe or your precious belongings.

Whether you have a commercial safe or a personal one, hire our team to open it quickly and efficiently.

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