The average Canadian doesn’t have a safe room or a closet-sized safe. But what he or she may have is a need for a small safe, hidden somewhere in the home.
The average burglar, on the other hand, knows you may be hiding some cash, the key to a bank box, or some heirloom jewelry in the coffee can or tucked beneath the mattress. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about where you might stow away some precious items when you leave town for the week or have a babysitter coming in and out of your house.
A quick internet search yields many common consumer product ‘copycats’ that are designed to hide small valuables. While these are discreet and do the job, remember this – if a burglar is comfortably ransacking your home and not in any great hurry while you’re at work or away on vacation, he might get hungry and reach for that wad of money disguised as a can of pop, plastic tube of chips or container of cookies. So if you decide to hide your valuables in plain sight, choose something that your burglar won’t be interested in.
If you’re only planning to hide a key or a small amount of cash within the home when going away for the weekend, for example, consider taping the items to the back of a wall clock or inside a framed photo. Do not put anything behind large wall decor since it’s common practice to install a wall safe behind large pieces of framed art and murals and will likely be the first place a criminal will look.
Any part of the structure of your home that can be used to hide your precious items is a good choice, such as inside an air-return vent or acoustic paneled ceiling tile. Even a faux wall outlet provides a good hiding place. These kits can be easily found online. After cutting a hole into the sheetrock to the size of the electric outlet receptacle, you insert the box designed for this purpose and then replace the cover. Your faux outlet looks just like the real thing; for extra security, install it behind some heavy furniture.
If you have tall ceilings in your home, hiding an envelope with cash on top of your upper kitchen cabinets works well. Be sure to use a large envelope and enclose large bills so that the envelope lays flat and cannot be seen without using a ladder.
If you have a young child with a room full of toys, you might want to choose one with a zipper on the back as a temporary hiding place to store your valuables when leaving town. This is not a good idea for long-term storage, however; children are naturally curious and eventually toys get donated or tossed. You definitely don’t want to forget Great Grandma’s engagement ring hidden in that teddy bear.
A few more covert places to consider:
- Inside an empty paint can (between several others filled with paint)
- Inside a storage box in the attic labelled as, and surrounded by, Christmas decorations
- Inside a book if you have shelves of them (choose a boring reference book such as a dictionary, but again, only if you have many books)
- Beneath cat litter or pet food inside their original containers – be sure to first wrap in plastic
- Inside a box of frozen spinach (defrost, carefully open the paper labelling, insert your items wrapped in a plastic bag, refreeze and rewrap)
- Inside a ball of yarn within a basket of many balls of yarn
- At the bottom of a box of facial tissues (if you’re hiding something flat, such as cash)
If you’re handy with tools, there are many tutorials online for building secret drawers and creating false bottoms for existing ones. This proves useful for hiding a handgun inside a nightstand, for example. Again, you may want to consult a professional to have this properly created.
A hidden place to store jewels and money can even be created behind a toe kick – that small space just beneath your lower kitchen cabinets. This might be the perfect spot for you. If you’re not handy with tools, call a contractor who can easily repurpose that toe kick into a place to stash your cash.
If your secret hiding spot within the home or garage is large enough, invest in a fireproof box so that you can store valuable and irreplaceable documents along with your cash and jewelry. The peace of mind the box brings in the event of fire will be well worth the investment.
If you’re in the process of building a home, it’s best to invest in an actual safe and have it installed either in a wall or bolt a cylinder floor safe into the floor and surround with cement. This is an easy enough construction job – but can also be retrofitted if your home is already built. Call Mike at D4 if you need something larger or more secure than a simple hiding place – you can reach him at +1 250-572-4812.
In most cases, the mission of the home burglar is to find money or valuables and then quickly leave the premises. With that in mind, a decoy stash might be the best way to discourage him from looking further. Hiding $100 and/or a couple of pieces of quality costume jewelry might do the trick. Be sure to hide your decoy in a location that would be fairly quick for the criminal to uncover such as beneath your mattress or in a desk drawer beneath paperwork.
In the end, we all hope we never experience the violation of a burglary but, to be safe, find yourself a safe, secure, and secret place to hide what’s important to you and use it.