It’s Not Like the Movies: 8 Vaults that Can’t be Cracked

Movies like Ocean’s Eleven and National Treasure make breaking into security vaults look easy. Life is not a movie, though, and there’s no way you could break into these high-profile vaults, even if you had a team as skilled as Danny Ocean’s.


From Toronto to Dubai, let’s take a journey around the world and penetrate some of the world’s least breakable safes.

Fort Knox
Fort Knox is the Kentucky home of about 147.3 million ounces of gold, worth about $270 billion dollars. During World War II, it housed the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence, as well as the British crown jewels and the Magna Carta.

Though $270 billion dollars doesn’t sound too bad to thieves, cracking Fort Knox isn’t worth the effort. To do so, they’d have to get through four different barriers.


  • Barrier one: a wire fence with motion sensors
  • Barrier two: a 10-foot electrical fence
  • Barrier three: a rectangular area with secured doorways for patrolling guards. (And these aren’t ordinary personnel, but trained members of the United States Mint Police.)
  • The original barrier: a wrought-iron fence.

And that’s not all that’s guarding Fort Knox’s depository – think 4-foot-thick (1.2 metres) granite walls, fire- and bullet-proof windows, a 22-ton door, and surveillance systems (plus security personnel) covering the entire enclosure. Remember that the enclosure is also in view of the Fort Knox army post, home to 30,000 soldiers and 300 tanks.

Thieves can’t manipulate the guarding schedule, either; guards work on a random time schedule, and the vault’s combinations change daily. Plus, the safe is said to be impermeable to atomic bombs.

New York Federal Reserve Vault
530,000 gold bars. 6,700 tons of gold. A multi-layered security system. The New York Federal Reserve stores gold for customers throughout the world – but there’s no breaking in.

The vault’s entry is protected by a 90-ton cylinder, set within a 140-ton steel and concrete frame. Although the vault is open during business days, it’s monitored 24 hours a day by security cameras, motion sensors, and security personnel. If anything should go wrong, a police force is on hand to protect the vault.

Bank of England Gold Vault
The gold vault beneath the Bank of England contains 4,600 tons of gold, worth $315 billion. While the Bank of England’s gold vault isn’t quite as large as that of the New York Federal Reserve, that doesn’t mean security is any slimmer.

To get into the vault, you’d need three foot-long keys and a spoken password. The walls are even bomb-proof – they were used as air raid shelters during World War II.

Dominion Bank Vault
The Dominion Bank Vault in Toronto is a hotel, a bank, and a fortress against thieves. Planning on breaking in? If you tried to break into the upper vault, you’d encounter a 4½ foot-thick (1.4 metre-thick) door weighing 40 tons.

Or, you could try to tunnel underground, where you’d come upon built-in passages complete with security access and surveillance. It’s best to meander around and enjoy the bank’s rich history instead.

Swiss Vaults
There are billions of dollars stashed in Swiss banks, but there’s no use trying to get to it. Belongings are stored in safety deposit boxes that require 3 keys to crack. Yes, the boxes are highly guarded, but their real secret is the confidentiality practiced by Swiss bankers – there’s no getting information on what’s stored where.

JPMorgan Chase Gold Vault
New York’s security extends beyond the New York Federal Reserve Vault. New York is also the home of the JPMorgan Chase gold vault, the largest gold vault in the world. This football field-sized vault is located five stories below Manhattan and is strong enough to withstand a nuclear blast.

Federal Reserve Bank Vault of Cleveland
This Ohio vault has the largest vault door, weighing in at a startling 91 tons! The hinge itself is 19 feet (5.8 metres) tall and weighs 43 tons. If you did happen to get past the door, you’d be out of luck – the vault hasn’t been used since 1997.

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre
Now that Swiss banks charge fees for gold storage, the DMCC is becoming a popular place to store gold. But getting in isn’t so easy.

It sounds like something from a crime novel: Customers must descend five stories underground and one story below sea level. This means passing through numerous security gates as you descend – multiple levels of security.

Do You Dare Crack the Safe?
The security behind these safes is just as exciting as is depicted in the movies. Yet, one thing is clear: One key or one bomb or one burglary heist is not getting through these safes.

If you’re a criminal, this news might be deterring. But if you’re not, be encouraged! Your valuables are safe where they are – whether it’s at a high-profile bank or in a fire-proof safe at home.

If you are looking for a locksmith or safe provider in the Stouffville area call 905-477-7618.


Affordable Lock is a locksmith in Markham serving the Greater Toronto Area, including Scarborough, Aurora, North York, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Stouffville. With over 30 years of experience, we pride ourselves on looking after your commercial or residential locksmith needs. Affordable Lock’s showroom in Markham showcases a wide selection of keys, locks and an assortment of other security products for your home or business. Whether you are looking to upgrade your home or business’s security, or solve security issues, Affordable Lock Services Inc. in Markham is here for you! Give us a call today.

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