Monthly Archive: February 2014

Protecting Your Home While on Vacation

Thief Breaking into WindowThe best time for someone to break into your house is when you’re not at home. Most people who commit home invasions aren’t interested in kidnapping or assaulting someone. They’re just looking to make a quick buck by getting in, taking stuff, and getting out without being caught. That’s why one way to protect your stuff is to put it in less-obvious hiding places like these.

The ideal situation for a criminal is to walk into a home where the residents are on vacation and have time to decide what to take. Here are some ideas to protect your home while on vacation and keep that from happening.

Don’t Broadcast Your Vacations Online

Most of us post what we’re doing and where we’re going on Facebook or Twitter. Usually, that’s probably ok. After all, you trust your friends not to rob you. But if your posts are viewable by the public, then you’re really telling the whole world when your house will be empty.

Even if you don’t have your address listed in your profile, you likely have the city you’re posting or tweeting from attached to your posts. If someone knows your name and city, finding your home address is as easy as looking in the white pages of the local phone book (yes, phone books still exist).

Tell Your (Trusted) Neighbors

Unless you totally don’t trust your neighbors (in which case, maybe – instead of going on vacation – you should be saving money towards moving to a better neighborhood!), it’s a good idea to tell a couple people nearby that you’ll be out of town. That way, when they drive by, they’ll be able to notice if something suspicious is going on.

For instance, if they know you’re out of town, but they see a delivery truck parked in the driveway for a long time, they’ll know something’s going on that shouldn’t be.

Stop Your Mail

MailboxA pile of newspapers on a front porch or an overflowing mail box is a dead giveaway that no one’s at home. Fortunately, this is an easy issue to fix. Either ask a neighbor to take care of getting your mail and paper, or contact your paper deliverer to stop delivery until you’re home again. They might even be willing to not charge you for the time you’re gone and extend your subscription longer!

For your mail, contact the United States Postal Service and ask them to put a hold on your mail. You can either call your local post office, or fill out this online form. You can schedule this service up to a month ahead of time, or as late as 2 am on the day you want them to start holding it. When you get back, just go to the post office to pick up all your mail.

Don’t Hide A Key

Lots of people hide a key outside their house somewhere. On the one hand, that’s great in case you lose your key somewhere, or if you have kids coming home from school or something like that. However, there aren’t really that many places to hide a key, so thieves know where to look.

Getting a fake rock, or hiding the key under the doormat is great, but thieves know where to look. It’s a much better idea to give a key to a neighbor for safekeeping. A neighbor who has a key also has the ability to check on your house if something happens, such as flooding in the area, or something like that.

Anti-Theft Lighting

Thieves don’t want to be seen. Simply putting motion-activated lights outside your house can scare away casual thieves.

In addition, putting some inside lamps, or even your television on a cheap timer inside your house can make your home appear occupied. Think of the kid in the Home Alone movies – only much simpler!

With your home more secure, have a great time on your vacation!


Photo Credits: Steve 2.0 and
Eastlaketimes via Compfight cc

10 Surprising Hiding Places for Valuables

There’s nothing worse than getting home and finding your house broken into, or having it ransacked and your valuables stolen. No matter how good your home security system is, or how friendly and observant your neighbors might be, there are always professional burglars out there who can bypass the security system and make off with your most valuable possessions.

The good news is that burglars are in a hurry. The longer they stay in a house, the more likely it is that someone will come home and catch them, or that a neighbor will notice and call the police. Thieves want to be in and out of a house within under 10 minutes.

Due to the little time that they have, burglars won’t have time to search every single place at your home to find your valuables. They’ll be quickly looking through the most likely hiding places and grabbing whatever they see out in the open.

Let’s look at some creative hiding places for valuables in your house to hide what’s most likely to be stolen: jewelry, cash, documents and passports. If they don’t see it as they run through your house, they won’t take it!

 

10 Hiding Places for Valuables

1. The Freezer

Photo Credit: Aine D via Compfight cc

Credit: Aine D via Compfight cc

Wrap your emergency fund cash and rarely used credit cards in aluminum foil. Put them in a plastic bag, seal it, and place it in the freezer.

You can label the bags as something else, like “Leftover Porkchops” or something more creative, like “Pig’s Liver for Examination.” This will help discourage anyone from checking what’s inside. An old sour cream container labeled as leftover soup in the back of the refrigerator works too.

2. Children’s Room

A kid’s room is full of toys and other stuff. Burglars don’t bother going through kid’s stuff as they see it as a waste of time. Take advantage of this and hide your valuables in toys your kids don’t play with.

You can also hide cash in the battery spacing, inside a dollhouse and toys that have compartments that can be opened. Just make sure you don’t accidentally donate the toys to Goodwill or somewhere similar with money still inside!

3. Tampon Box

The idea sounds funny, but it works. A robber would not even think of it. The box is large enough and can store a sizeable amount of cash. You can even leave genuine tampons or pads in the box and keep cash or documents underneath.

4. Garage or Basement Drain

All you need to do is make a simple fake drain in the floor. Then just put money in a waterproof container or bag and lower it into the fake drain. Check out some other ideas for disguised safes here.

5. Yard

Yard Hole

Credit: ishane via Compfight cc

This might be the oldest method of hiding stuff in history, but it still works. You can store a large amount of valuables in the front yard or the back yard. Make sure no one is around to watch, then just dig holes to put stuff in.

Obviously, make sure your valuables are inside something that will keep the dirt and water away.

Keep in mind that if you’re in a cold climate, it’ll be hard or impossible to dig up your treasure during the winter when the ground’s frozen.

Also – and this should go without saying – you need to have a way to remember where you buried your stash. You don’t want to have to start a camp like in the movie Holes to get your stuff back!

6. Books

Books have gained popularity when it comes to hiding valuables. Most burglars are not interested in literature, and most popular books have little resale value, so thieves have no interest in what’s on your bookshelf. Hide currency or documents in between the pages of a book, then put the book in a shelf full of other books.

7. Book safes

Book Safe on Amazon.com

View on Amazon


If you want to be a little more fancy about it, you can buy a safe disguised as a book. Or, you can make one yourself by making a hole inside of a book you’ll never read. In the middle where there is a hole, you can store small amounts of cash. Getting an online book safe is much better as it has a lock and key and some even have a magnetic snap enclosure. The book safes are very effective when put in a bookshelf with other books.

8. Wall clocks

Fake Clock Safe on Amazon.com

View on Amazon


You can also get safes disguised as wall clocks. Basically, it’s a working clock that just happens to have a compartment at the back that can be opened and acts as a storage vault in your wall.

As thieves ransack the house, they might glance at the wall clock to see how much time they still have, but they won’t be stopping to check what’s behind the ticking clock!

Of course, this won’t work if the clock itself looks too valuable, so a mundane, uninteresting clock is best. You don’t want a clock that looks like it would be worth stealing!

9. Household and Pantry Products

Everyday household items such as soup cans, soda cans, or cleaning supply canisters are also great places for storage. Either store stuff in an empty can, or you can buy a pre-made one online. A burglar will see no value in these items, especially when they’re mixed with other ordinary household items.

10. Permanent House Fixtures

This is done by installing fake light switch, air vents, electrical wall outlets and thermostats. These can a bit difficult to set up, but they are some of the best decoys. If you’re going to be in your house for a long time, a fake permanent fixture is a great option.

All of these options for hiding your valuables rely on the fact that thieves will be in a hurry as they rush through a house. Basically, it’s security through obscurity. None of these will help against a thief who knows what they’re looking for, though, so don’t show your neighbors or guests your hiding places!

And yes, thieves can read articles like this and get ideas on where to look, but with enough creative hiding places, they aren’t likely to find your unique spots!