What Are the Different Methods of Legally Opening Safes?


Quick Answer

There are many legal situations that require safes to be opened without the combination. In such cases, one of the following methods is usually applied: prying open, cutting into, manipulation, drilling and scoping, according to Fortress Lock, Safe, & Security.

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Full Answer

Among the legitimate reasons to break into a safe are fire, a failed break-in attempt that results in a compromised lock, a malfunction of the lock and, most commonly, a forgotten combination, explains Fortress Lock, Safe, & Security. Prying into a safe is technically possibly, but extremely difficult, and has a very low rate of success. Because cutting into a safe is the most common method employed by criminals, most manufacturers build defenses against this method into their safes, making it too noisy, messy, expensive and time-consuming to be commonly employed.

A popular method is manipulation, using a stethoscope to detect soft noises indicating the correct position. This can be somewhat time-consuming and requires much experience and knowledge of the specific lock but is effective and leaves the safe intact, notes Fortress Lock, Safe, & Security. Drilling, or drilling and scoping, can also be an effective method that leaves the safe relatively undisturbed. Drilling a hole allows visual access to the locking mechanism with the naked eye or with a scope. However, this method is defended against by manufacturers, making it often more labor-intensive than manipulation.

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