Kids are not cracking enough safes these days

Is there anything cooler than the image of a guy dressed in all black sneaking into a secure compound of some kind and using elegant and complex techniques to crack a safe or vault? I submit that there is not, however the sad truth is that despite the popularity of caper movies, the art of safecracking has been in tragic decline since the 1960’s!

Tim Hukin has written an article entitled “Illegal Engineering” in which he covers a great deal of history about safes, safe construction, and and safe cracking. He also goes into detail about how locks (both combination and tumbler based) operate, and can be defeated. Tim is clearly not a locksmith or a safecracker. He even admits that he has never been able to successfully pick a lever lock, which is really not a tough as he makes it sound, so long as you have a nice set of picks. He does, however, clearly and accurately articulate the mechanics behind these devices, and I like his summary of why safecracking is increasingly a dying form of art.

He suggests that:

1) There are fewer and fewer people with the practical skills and confidence to even try to break into a safe. Metal, electronics and wood shops in schools have been transformed into craft studios, where kids make things out of cardboard, not weld and cut steel.

2) Today’s criminals are more barbaric, and tend to favor relatively crude techniques. They would just rather smash the security system with a brick than learn how to overcome it.

3) The rewards of breaking into a safe have declined. Banks are just not keeping as much money in them as they used to.

Read Tim Hunkin’s article >
Learn the basics of safecracking >

16 thoughts on “Kids are not cracking enough safes these days

  1. I need some help with a safe. It’s a Montgomery Ward safe and I purchased it at an estate sale ( I have the bill of sale if needed). The problem is that it’s locked and no one has the combo. I’m going to try to manipulate it to open it and would like to get some pointers. Does anyone know the dialing sequence and maybe the try-out combo that wards used for their safes? Or maybe who made this safe for Montgomery Ward? I read an article that gives a pretty simple and easy yet very long process in manipulating safe combination locks and hope it works but just wanted to get some ideas. If anyone can help, please email me at jspinella(at)sbcglobal.net. Thanks

    Note: Edited @ to (at) in the e-mail address to protect John from spammers.

  2. Actually I was just thinking about this myself. It seems to me that you could just open the casing and hook up an electronic device that runs through all of the combinations in a second. You would save time by one, 24/7 cracking, two you the code is entered instantly. Possible foils to this might be that the Programming doesn’t allow more then 3 tries in any given 10 seconds or even worse prevents you from inputing numbers too fast (faster then a human). Is there a forum where they discuss this stuff?

  3. I have 4 floors in the mall i just purchased and it has a concrete safe on all four floors. I have the combinations to 3 of them the other hasnt been opened for 30 some years i would give anything to find out whats on the other side. Its a combination lock with 30 numbers. Any Ideas?

  4. I’v been trying to crack my parents safe for weeks and i finaly did it. the safe has a combo and you need a key to open it. now not all combo lock need the combo thats probly just to trick you into thinking that. MY parents safe dose’nt let you do over 3 trys then i open this tiny hatch and what do ya know there a key hole. i spent about 1 hour trying to pick the lock i had no idea what i was doing i use twesers and tiny sissiors. Then i finaly cracked it then i turned the handle and it opend itha my parents are some what thick to use the lock or you don’t even need the stuped thing.You can ither think this story is a load of crap or its true i respect what you think but this realy happend. i could of used the quicker way and blow the fuka up but then i would of gottea caught

  5. i’m 37 and since i was a kid i always thought of robbing banks neaver done it but would if i had the proper training, and with that said is there anything you maybe able to help me in move to this trade.

    • I have two pieces of advice for you:

      1, Don’t rob banks. Their executives are so mind–bogglingly incompetent that most of them don’t have any money right now anyhow.

      2. Don’t ask for advice on how to rob banks in a public forum on the internet. I should hope that the reason for this would go without saying.

  6. We have a Montgomery Ward safe 9041, serial number 76-87994. We have what we think is the correct combination but we can’t open the safe. My husband has had it for over 30 years but it has been sitting for 4 or 5 years. We need to open it now. Any help would be appreciated.

  7. If it is a Digital Safe then some will open with just hit the 1, nothing else, or if u have some lemon juice and swabs, or a black light, then look for finger prints, it works. Or if it is a three digi-combo then use a Stephiscope if u have one, so u can here the clicks.

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