Hundreds of thousands of homes are broken into each year, with security safes, CCTV and other measures becoming more important than ever as crime rates rise. However, while many burglars and robbers are tempted by poorly secured homes, and even bigger challenges, there are some jobs they simply will not ever attempt.
From the Hatton Garden Heist to the Great Train Robbery, criminals love to test the limits of what is actually possible — hoping to reap the greatest rewards. But, some vaults are too well built even for world-class bank robbers. Some vaults are simply impenetrable.
1. Fort Knox
Most Impressive Statistic: It’s Fort Knox
You can’t have a list of impenetrable vaults without mentioning Fort Knox.
The site houses much of the United States gold reserves, which means you’d think it would be a prime target for criminals — but no. There has never been a recorded attempt at anyone even entering Fort Knox — besides Goldfinger, of course. The facility is so secure that criminals just don’t bother.
The vault door protecting the gold within the fort is thought to weigh twenty-two tonnes and is so intricate it takes a team of ten people just to open it. But, in order to get to that vault door, you’d first need to get past the laser-guided miniguns guarding the massive granite walls, as well as the full-scale security team that works onsite 24/7 — and that’s only if you could have gotten through the live minefield outside, plus evading the military base housing 30,000 American troops, helicopters and tanks just beyond the perimeter.
But let’s say you do enter the vault and get to the gold. They can then be flooded. The gold will be fine, but you won’t be. If you’ve packed your scuba gear, you’ll still need to get out of the compound, which means getting past the razor wire fences, ground-level radar detection systems and back through the myriad of armed guards and military personnel, all while carrying a very heavy bag of gold.
2. Granite Mountain Records Vault
Most Impressive Statistic: 600 Feet Inside a Mountain
The Granite Mountain Records Vault, otherwise known as the Mormon Vault, is a rather clandestine location owned by the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints. It is said to house billions of personal records and other files belonging to the religious group.
Yet, for many this raises eyebrows.
The vault is one of the most secure and well-maintained in the world. Housed six hundred feet within a mountain, locked within a maze of tunnels, featuring reinforced doors up to fourteen tonnes in weight, capable of withstanding nuclear war, and with a series of other untold security measures, this seems like a very expensive and highly-secure way of housing a series of family documents.
Conspiracy theorists point to ancient artefacts and symbols of religion actually being housed inside The Granite Mountain Records Vault. We’ll never know for sure what’s inside, however, as security is so tight this impenetrable site will never be cracked open.
3. Svalbard Seed Vault
Most Impressive Statistic: The Coldest Vault in the World
Owners of this strange structure, Crop Trust, describe the Svalbard Seed Vault as being held,
“Deep inside a mountain on a remote island in the Svalbard archipelago, halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole.”
Sounds intimidating, but security goes further than that. Set behind airlock sealed doors with multiple access systems and guarded around the clock, this, the coldest vault in the world, offers supreme protection to all goods housed within.
So what is the purpose of this high-security vault? The name gives it away. The Svalbard Seed Vault holds over two billion individual seeds from four and a half million types of plant. The concept behind the vault is that if there were to be some kind of catastrophic, extinct-level event, that crops could be regrown and vital plantlife established.
Not that many people would want to steal a box of seeds, but if they were to do so, they’d need to traverse the harsh Arctic wilderness the vault is found within, bypass the 24/7 security, navigate a series of tunnels dug hundreds of feet within the side of a mountain before cracking a series of vault doors, all while weathering internal temperatures of -18°C.
A capper worthy of the silver screen, but not one any criminal is likely to undertake!
4. Cheyenne Mountain Complex
Most Impressive Statistic: Two 25 Tone Nuclear-Bomb Proof Doors
An American military base, the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, was designed following World War 2 as a base of operations for the most important tasks surrounding intelligence and the protection of the country. At times it has housed nuclear detection systems and other hardware critical to national security. It’s also built so comprehensively and so deep that it is impervious to EMP attacks.
Surrounded at all times by a full roster of military personnel, set 2000 feet under Colorado’s Cheyenne Mountain, guarded by two doors so thick they themselves are nuclear bomb proof, the complex is perhaps the most secure location in the world.
Featured in a handful of Hollywood blockbusters, including The Terminator, you really would have to be a hyper-advanced cyborg sent from the future to ever stand a chance of getting inside this place without clearance.
5. The KFC Vault
Most Impressive Statistic: Only One Person in the World Knows the Vault Combination
Fried chicken is big business. The average American spends around $1200 a year on fast food, and the majority of that is fried chicken. Of all chains, KFC holds the biggest share in the product, which means they’re pretty keen to keep their secret recipe — the one that keeps people coming back for more — safe from the clutches of competitors.
Held within their companies headquarters, the recipe is housed within a vault that itself is protected by state-of-the-art motion sensors, alarms, 24-hour guards and impenetrable concrete casing. The true scale of the security measures in place is a closely guarded secret in itself. One thing is for certain, nobody is getting their hands on the Colonel’s Original Recipe.