Safeguarding your Valuables: What you Need to Know About Home Safes
Do your research before you buy your safe.
Despite the fact that home burglary rates have been on the decline here in the US, many Americans – and many people world-wide – are buying home safes in increasing numbers. The main reason seems to be that people are losing faith in the banking system and that the economy is too volatile.
People are looking for alternative means to safeguard their valuables. Tyler D Nunnally, founder and CEO of Upside Risk, a company that specializes in investor psychology, told Smartmoney.com that “people dislike loss twice as much as they like gains,” adding that “they want to protect what they have.” Add this to the rising concerns about identity theft and the rising interest in home safes seems almost logical.
The folks at Consumer Digest warn about the false security in owning a home safe and suggest getting a safe deposit box at your bank for your most valued possessions. Before you purchase your safe you should speak to a professional and talk about your specific needs. Are you concerned about home theft? Fire? Perhaps both. Smaller safes can be purchased for around $50 at your local box or hardware store. It is important to note to keep them out of view.
Should a burglar enter your home and see a safe, he will assume that there’s something of value inside. Home safes are portable and can easily be poked or cut with a saw or like instrument. I would never keep personal papers such as passports, birth certificates, or social security cards in a safe. I tend to subscribe to the same school of thought as the folks at Consumer’s Digest do. My papers are stored at my bank in a small box that is safe and fire proof safe in a locked vault.
Some home safes are fireproof and others are not.
This is important to note. The documents you are trying to protect won’t do you a bit of good once they’ve turned to ash. There are codes on fireproof safes indicating how long they can withstand the heat from a fire. It is important to note these codes. Furthermore you will not want to store data or media in these fireproof safes. Paper can withstand the high temperatures and high humidity in these safes, but electronic data cannot. Items not to store in fireproof safes include, but are not limited to:
- Hard drives
- Tape backups
- Flash Drives/UBS drives
- CDs and DVDs
Gun safety is on the top everyone’s mind here in the US with the recent shooting at an Elementary School just weeks before Christmas that left 26 children and teachers dead after a brutal shooting spree by a mentally ill young man who was able to access his mother’s gun collection. All gun safes are not the same. It is crucial you speak with a specialist in this matter to discuss your particular needs.
Burglar Proof Safes
There is really no such thing as a burglar-proof safe. Almost any safe can be taken from the home and broken into. Where you keep your safe is as important, if not more so, than the actual safe itself. Bookcases, as pictured above, make for great hiding places. It is highly suggested, however, that before looking into safes, if you have valuables in your home you really should invest in a home security system. Alarm the windows and doors, and install motion detectors.
Invest in a good home security system. A good security system will tie in with the police department or the company that monitors your security system. These systems should also be tested with regularity. I would also strongly suggest getting a home security system that also ties in with your local fire department. This not only will save lives but will safeguard those valuables you are trying to protect from fire and theft. If your home is broken into, the alarm of your home security system should send your potential burglar fleeing immediately, if he doesn’t then he has just moments to assess your home. So placement of your safes is crucial.
Hidden wall Safes
A burglar’s mission is to get in and out of your home as fast as he can. He won’t want to look behind every photograph, piece of artwork or mirror hanging on your walls, especially if you have many of them.
Hidden within your wall are the most expensive contents of your home and therefore placement of these safes is crucial. These safes can be placed behind flat panel, wall mounted televisions, paintings – but preferably a wall with many pieces of art instead of one lone piece of art. Hide safes behind, pool cues, armoires and other heavy pieces of furniture; the harder to move and access, the better. Get creative with your thinking here. The longer it takes you to come up with a good place to hide your safe, the longer it will take a burglar to look for it. Therefore, it is important to note that whatever is being stored in these safes need not be constantly removed.
Hidden floor safes
What could be hiding under the couch, or the bed, or the coffee table? Floor safes are not at all fireproof but are great places to store jewelry, silver, gold, rare coins and other valuables. Conceal them with rugs and furniture so they are not easily accessible and spotted. It is crucial to bolt all your safes. The harder it is to remove the safer your safe is.
Decoy and Diversion Safes
One of the clocks above could actually be a safe… There are many decoy safes available on the market and these safes are good way of storing items that are not terribly high in value and smaller sums of money. These safes come in the form of outlet covers, rocks, clocks, cans of cola, cleaning supplies as well as other forms.
Vaults are not just for banks anymore. The demand for these extra large safes is growing exponentially for use both in businesses (such as pawn shops) as well as homeowners. As with any safe manufacturer, vault manufacturers differ as well. There are many factors to take into consideration, including climate control. What is it you are safeguarding? Climate control is less important for hard metals but crucial for the storage of paper and valuable pieces of art.
One European safe company noted that if you do opt to purchase a safe for your home, it is imperative you not tell anyone. The word could get out which could lead to an unwanted home burglary.