Recently, one of our awesome readers, Sara, brought up a great question:
I was wondering if you could advise me for a particular apartment security measure?
I live in an apartment, but I am unable to drill holes into the floor. I am wondering what kind of safe I could buy and how I could secure it? This safe would ideally house a laptop and a few files.
Hypothetically, if a thief were to access the safe in an empty house they could pick it up and carry it away if it is found, right?
I thought this was a timely question, as I have been thinking about writing about this subject. Thanks for the question Sara!
Know What You’re Up Against
Ideally, a sturdy, hidden safe that is bolted to the floor would be a great place to hide valuables, but is not feasible in an apartment due to lease restrictions. Normal safes are available, but can easily be picked up. I used to have one, and it only weighed about 20-30 pounds – easy enough to carry.
Before getting into good hiding places, first we have to consider what motivates thieves:
1. Their goal is to steal money and valuables. If they had time, they would turn the place upside down looking for stuff.
2. They need to get in and out quickly. We’ve read before that a robber takes 8-12 minutes to steal as much as possible in that short amount of time.
3. They also know the most common hiding places: in the master bedroom, in the back of the closet, under the mattress, the medicine cabinet (prescription drugs may be attractive as well) or in a toilet tank.
Knowing the above, it might be a good idea to leave a small amount of money or jewelry that is easily found; they may just rush out and take that, leaving the rest alone. The small loss would also spare you having the entire place torn apart.
Here are a few ideas for hiding spots:
Safety deposit box
Many people still keep a safety deposit box at their neighborhood bank, but the downside is, you can only access your stuff while the bank is open. There is always a chance the bank would be closed when you need you items the most.
Furniture with a hidden compartment
Furniture with hidden areas have been around for a long time, and they are still around. The downside is they tend to be on the expensive side.
Here are some examples: (Note: we are not affiliated with this company-just pointing out the product)
Air vent safe or outlet safe are also available but not advisable in a rental since they involve altering the space.
Of course you’d have to hide the diversion safe among like items in a book shelf, kitchen or tool box.
Tip: Don’t hide the item in another attractive item even if it’s in plain sight. I’ve seen some mantle clocks that have hidden compartments – some a very pretty and eye-catching, and extremely portable. I’d also stay away from hiding stuff inside radios or other electronics – they may steal that too, taking your item inadvertently and discovering it later!
Do it Yourself
Make a book safe You can keep it among all your other books, and you can take it with you even while traveling.
Hide your item among frozen food in your freezer; maybe in a baggie within frozen raw meat that is large enough
Conceal item within a vase that has dusty fake flowers
Hide in a toy that is in a large toy box
The key is to remember where you hid it. I’ve hidden a few items so well I couldn’t find them for months!
You should also tell someone you trust, to avoid them accidentally throwing the item away or selling it in a garage sale.