Are you safe?

Now, before you get all worked up saying that these safes are in totally different price range and can not be compared… Yes! You are right. These two safes are completely different security levels and price ranges. They are like night and day. The only similarity they have is that both were purchased to protect ones valuables, and both were attacked by actual thieves that used tools found in victims garage. The purpose of this article is to show you how different safes act, during real home invasions.

Safe #1 belonged to one of our customers, who bough it without doing much research, thinking he’s getting a decent safe and a smoking deal. The safe was purchased at a big box store, where the sales person didint know much about safes, nor did he care. So in the end the customer got what we like to call a false sense of security. After the safe was delivered, the customer filled it with all the things that had physical and sentimental value, locked the door and spun the dial. Couple months later, his house was burglarized while he was out shopping. According to him, the thief was in and out in no longer than 30 minutes. Unfortunately, this break-in was successful. So here is a break down of how it happened.

First thing that an average joe does is try to cut off the hinge, thinking that its the only thing holding the door in place. When in reality, the only purpose of the hinge is what? Thats right, for the door to swing. Since most safes today have 4-way locking bolts that retract behind the frame of the safe, cutting off the hinge is merely a waste of time.

The hinge was cut but the door didn’t fall off as expected, the thieves went back to the garage to find something to pry with. After acquiring a hammer, a screwdriver and few other basic tools, they began prying the door. Since the door gap on this “safe” was quite big, the tools fit in no problem. It didn’t take long before the bolts gave in and the 14 Gauge steel bent out like tin can.

safe break-in bolts
safe break-in bottom

Less than 30 minutes later, the safe was open and all the valuables including firearms, cash, jewelry and even photo albums and personal documents were gone. After inspecting the crime scene, it didn’t take long for the owner to realize what the weaknesses of his “safe” were. The “safe” he purchased could secure firearms from kids and protect valuables in case of a fire Thats it. Otherwise, it was more of an imitation of a real safe, that provided a false sense of security. With that in mind, the owner came into our store where we were happy to educate him and pick the right Safe for his needs and budget.

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Now onto safe #2. This safe was bought form us about 10 years ago by a customer who right off the bet made it very clear he wanted top of the line gun safe. We don’t know if the reason behind it was that he had an expensive gun collection, or if he was just one of those people who believes “go big or go home”. In any case, as you already guessed, he made the right choice by purchasing one of the strongest safes we had – Summit Everest 7241.

The scenario for this break in is pretty close to the first one. A group of thieves break in and use our customers tools to try to gain access to the contents of the safe. And the first thing they go for is what? Thats right, the hinge. They spend what we can only imagine a very long time cutting through three very thick hinges. Which once again is nothing but a waste of time, as this Summit comes equipped with 24 – 1.5″ thick locking bolts that extend behind the frame. Plus a feature called glass relocker. Which is basically a glass plate that in case of an attack will shatter and fire out a spring loaded bolt that will completely jam the door shut.

broken into safe

You would think after such major waste of time, the thieves would run with tail between legs. Nope. These ones weren’t giving up without a fight. So they moved on to phase 2 – Prying. Which turned out to be even bigger waste of time than cutting the hinge. Mainly because this Summit comes with a very heavy 1.5″ door made out of 2 – 1/4″ solid plates of steel with fire insulation in between. Plus a door gap so small, you can barley fit a credit card in it.

safe break-in 3
safe break-in 2

No. This is not the end of the story. There were still few grinding wheels left from cutting the hinge. And as the last resort they decided to try to cut through the front. As you can see from pictures below, they did not get very far. After barley making it through the first layer, they ran out of grinding wheels and fled.

broken into safe
broken safe door

To figure out which safe is right for you, consider this: Some safes are 100 lbs and are designed to lock up your guns from your kids. Then there are safes that are in 800 lbs range, that have been pry and drill tested and have been burnt in a furnace to test the fire rating. From there safes go all the way up to 8,000 lbs or even vault rooms that are designed to keep millions of dollars secure. So when shopping for a safe, first question you should ask yourself is: what is the total value of the items you are trying to secure? Your safe is your insurance policy. Getting a $700 safe to secure $60,000 worth of gold is risky. Just like getting a $12,000 safe to secure your photo albums is probably a bit of an overkill.

It’s aways heart-wrenching when people come into our store after the fact. And unfortunately, thats the majority of our customers. Most never considered getting a safe until their homes and their privacy were invaded. But once in a while we do get to witness an unsuccessful attempt to break into a safe. And those are the stories that make us realize that we’re not just selling metal boxes to make money. In a way, we help secure our community by providing people with important and honest information on how to protect themselves and those they love.

Written by

Kirillo Byelin
General Manager at The Safe Keeper Las Vegas
Security Safe Expert
Kirillo Byelin