Most house burglars want to be in and out as quick as possible for obvious reasons. The way you can make their job easier for them is to leave your valuable items out on display. A few of my friends have been victims of burglary in the past, and they admit that it was easy pickings for the thief. Maybe you can relate? How many times have you left valuable electronics on table tops, sofas and other places where they’re easy to spot through a window? Many of us can be careless like this; that is until after a break in. But then it’s a bit like closing the stable door once the horse has bolted. So where is the safest place to hide your valuables when you’re not home? Well, this all depends. It depends on what you have to hide and your home setup.
NOTE: You can jump to any part of this post by clicking the links in the table of contents
Table of Contents
The Crime of Opportunity
Some burglars will know their victims and what it is they want to steal. In general though, most house break-ins are crimes of opportunity. To put that into perspective, the thief has no idea what they will come away with until they get inside. They usually have a list of obvious places to begin their search.
The Worst Hiding Places
Do you hide valuables in your sock or underwear draw? If yes, then you are among tens of millions of others who do the same. The problem here is that burglars know this also, making it one of the first places they head to. Other places that the thief will look include:
- Night stands
- Under the mattress
- Under the bed
- Drawers and cupboards around the home
- Purses (handbags)
Better Hiding Places
The best hiding places include some of the following:
- Kid’s Bedroom
- Broom Closet, cupboard under the stairs
Points to Note
In the past, burglars would avoid wasting time by going into the kid’s bedrooms. However, the kid’s bedroom is not quite the safe haven for your valuables that it used to be. It’s safer than the master bedroom, which is why I list it here, but it’s not the safety zone it once was. Can you guess why? The answer is actually quite simple. Kids today have so much more than they used to. Just a generation ago the most valuable item in the kid’s rooms was a portable TV. This is not the case today. Even pre-teens may have notebooks, smartphones, tablets, phablets and costly games consoles in their rooms. These are all things that a thief can get rid of quickly. Still, the best pickings are usually in the living room and master bedrooms, so this is where a hurried crook will still head to first.
The kitchen also makes it onto the ‘best hiding places list’ because there are often so many nooks and crannies to hide stuff. The bigger the kitchen, the safer it can be. But a desperate thief, one who’s not having much luck elsewhere, will look in most rooms. They won’t think twice about trashing the kitchen in a frantic effort to find something, anything, of value.
Hiding Places to Avoid
There are some hiding places in the home that you will want to avoid, at least for certain kinds of items. When my wife’s brother went on a trip to Europe for three months, he hid his valuable antique books in the attic. On his return, mold and mildew had covered his treasured collection. It’s important to think carefully about what you’re hiding and where. If moisture or harmful chemicals get to permeate valuable jewelry items, documents or electronics, etc., they may suffer damage that is beyond repair.
Obviously we can’t hide or lock away those big valuable items like state of the art TVs, Hi-Fi systems, and desktop computers, etc. What we can do, however, is to make sure our home contents insurance covers such items in full,and so minimizes the cost of a burglary.
If your computer contains valuable or sensitive data, make sure you protect all files with very strong passwords. Unless it’s 007 breaking into your home, no one is going to care about cracking your passwords to open files they know nothing about. Most people who buy stolen computers and other devices from thieves usually wipe them clean right away. They’re not interested in your stuff; they just want to load their own files onto the drives. What you will want to do is have an external backup of all your important files and keep that somewhere safe. You could also secure your data in “the cloud.” (If you are not sure what the cloud is, have a look here: What is the cloud?)
Tip: Use a password manager tool to help create and store strong passwords for all your data.
Know Your Hiding Places
People sometimes find the perfect hiding place for a valuable and then forget where they put it. You don’t want to conceal something so deep that this happens to you. Believe me, this problem is more common that most folks realize.
You can think up a lot of great hiding places just by taking some time out to look around. But please make sure you don’t forget them. If you do, they will become as accessible as a computer file with a forgotten password. The idea here is to find places that are easily accessible to you, yet places that the opportunistic house burglar is likely to overlook. What these places are and where they’re located in your home will be unique to individual structures. You may also want to have some permanent, more creative hiding places that you can rely on whenever you’re away.
The Ultimate Security for Your Valuables
OK, to finish on, here are the two ultimate security precautions for your valuables. They are both logical and practical, yet two things that so many of us tend to overlook:
- Invest in a heavy, strong safe (it will last you a lifetime)
- Don’t leave valuables laying around when you’re away
Remember, burglars want to be in and out as fast as possible. The longer they spend looking for stuff, the less likely they are to find something. A typical house thief is not a safe cracker. Buying a heavy duty safe is a really good investment. If you have the space and money, make it a big safe too, and make sure it’s fireproof. This way you get to store your most valuable items away for safekeeping, leaving only the big items out. Although some crooks will take off with large flat screen TVs and stereo systems, most don’t have the means to carry away such items.
Hopefully you won’t become the victim of a burglary, or another break in if you’ve already suffered. But there’s always a chance that you might. A few common sense rules and systems in place will help to deter intruders or minimize your losses.