How locksmiths open safes


Safes are, by their very nature, safe. The clue is in the name. But safes are made to be opened and if you cannot get into your safe, you have a problem. However, a call to a locksmith will be able to solve that problem.

We have all seen the movies where criminals break into banks or offices and make a beeline for a large safe with the intent of stealing the money, jewels or top-secret documents might be stored in there. Often, they use explosives to blow the door off. But we all know that you cannot believe everything you see in the movies, so how do locksmiths manage to open safes without a key or a code?

Well, firstly, explosives are never used. The explosion might look great on screen, but its hardly practical in an office or home.

However, one trick seen in the movies is still sometimes used: it is possible to open a combination safe by listening to its workings via a stethoscope. But there are several other types of safe available so it only works in certain situations.

Mostly, safe locksmiths, such as those at Inta-lock Locksmiths in Leicester, are called out homes and businesses where they have a safe that cannot be opened. For instance, with key-operated safes, the key(s) can be lost, or the shaft can break in the barrel of the lock. Very occasionally – safes are, in general, very reliable pieces of equipment – something may have gone wrong or broken in the inner workings of the safe, which means it cannot be opened by key or code.

So in these cases, what do locksmiths do to get the safe open again?

Key-operated safes

If the safe is opened/closed with a key, then the simplest way to get it open is to pick the lock. Locksmiths carry with them specialist keys – not available to the public, for obvious reasons – that can be used to open almost any lock, not matter what the make or model of the safe, or how old it is.

If the key to open the safe has been lost or broken, our locksmiths have the equipment with them on their van to cut a set of replacement keys while you wait.

If the keys to the safe have been lost, not only can they make replacement keys, locksmiths can also change the lock on the safe, just to make sure that if the lost keys were to end up in the wrong hands, they couldn’t get into the safe.

If the key has broken leaving the shaft in the barrel of the lock, again our locksmiths have the equipment to remove the broken key from the lock without damaging it, so it can be used again without having to replace the lock itself.

Electronic safes

Today, many safes that the Inta-lock Locksmiths team encounter are electronically operated. Commonly, we get called out to safes where the code has been forgotten. It’s easily done – how many of us struggle to remember usernames, passwords and PIN codes if we don’t use them regularly?

However, the solution is relatively simple in these cases – our locksmiths carry with them the equipment to retrieve the code or reset the system back to its default settings, which means it can be opened without having to cause any damage to the safe. Afterwards, it is simple to input a new code.

Combination locks 

Combination safes are still popular as – unlike in the movies – they are generally difficult to crack, which means that a professional is needed if you cannot get into it. 

As mentioned earlier, a skilled locksmith can listen to the sounds and feel the vibrations the dial on the combination lock makes when it is turned and find the right combination to unlock it. This can often be done in less than an hour.

If this doesn’t work, or if the dial is sticking, then it may mean there is a problem with the internal workings of the dial or lock. This will take more work and time but is something a locksmith can handle without too much difficult.

Additional security

While those solutions mentioned above are relatively simple, some security measures on safes are trickier to deal with. For instance, if glass re-lockers or manipulation-proof mechanical locks have been added, the locksmith will use a borescope to assess how to get the lock open. This involves drilling a small hole into the safe, into which the borescope is inserted allowing the locksmith to see into the safe.

Last resorts

However, on rare occasions when other techniques don’t work – if the safe is really broken – then it will need more invasive methods to get it open, such as drilling the lock. But if this is required – and it will only be after other methods have failed – the locksmith will be able to carry out any repairs needed afterwards so it will still be usable.

A very last resort is to cut the safe open using a saw or torch. This is only used if nothing else will work as it puts the safe beyond repair.

In most cases, a locksmith can open a safe within half an hour of arriving, although this depends on the security level of the safe. The higher the security level, the more time it will take. But no safe has yet beaten one of Inta-lock Locksmiths’ skilled technicians. 

All of Inta-lock Locksmiths in Leicester have been fully trained on all makes and types of safe, and have been DBS checked, so you can be sure they will carry out any work professionally and discreetly and without causing damage to the safe, if possible. 

If you live in Leicester or the surrounding area and have a problem with a domestic or commercial safe give Inta-lock Locksmiths a call. Our team can provide you with a no-obligation quote that is competitive with any other safe locksmith in the area. If it is an emergency, we can send a locksmith out to you in less than an hour. For more information please call one of our locksmiths today.