Vacation Prep: Hiding Your Valuables


Getting ready to leave for vacation is always a busy time. Between making packing lists for the family, cleaning up so you don't come home to a mess, making reservations and planning itineraries, safeguarding your valuables is too often ignored.

Many of us don't have the luxury of a housesitter while we're out of town, though, and burglars often target homes of vacationers, which they observe to be quiet and uninhabited for days at a time. No need to let this put a damper on your plans. There are strategies you can employ to protect your cash, jewelry and important documents, while you enjoy some rest and relaxation.

SEE ALSO: Why Your Safe Isn’t As Secure As You Think

Safes And Safety Deposit Boxes

The most obvious way to secure your valuables is in a home safe or bank safety deposit box. The home safe has the advantage of being easily accessible and not requiring ongoing fees, just the initial purchase. This can be a good option, but unless you have the safe bolted to the floor, it can also be transported out of your home intact so that the burglar can take his time opening it.

A bank safety deposit box does cost money to maintain, but it is a relatively small fee. This may be worth it for the security that storing your most treasured possessions in a bank vault provides. Boxes of various sizes are available and can accommodate significant quantities of valuables, or just a few papers and heirlooms.

Hiding In The Home: Smart Places

For those who want to keep their important items in the home, there are options. First and foremost, be sure to lock all doors and windows. According to the FBI, the perpetrator enters through an unlocked entry in over 30 percent of burglaries. Would-be burglars may be immediately dissuaded by your locked windows and doors, especially if they don't find a key hidden under the doormat or a nearby flower pot.

It is estimated that the average burglar is inside the house for less than ten minutes. This works to the advantage of the homeowner as the perpetrator will not be able to exhaustively check the entire house for hidden valuables. Avoiding common hiding places like the master bedroom and closet is imperative.

Choosing unexpected, even cluttered spaces like a basement or atticis a good idea, because not only does it not appear that valuables would be present, it would be daunting for a thief to even attempt to find them—the proverbial needle in a haystack.

The kitchen is another good choice. Thieves tend to check bedrooms and offices first, which takes up significant time. By the time they get to the kitchen, there is less time to diligently check, plus so many drawers, cabinets and appliances to choose from.

Avoid the temptation to tape envelopes or items to the inside or top of drawers. This is a common tactic that burglars will be looking for. Instead, try placing items into plastic bags and storing them in opaque canisters under some sugar or dried pasta, tucking them into the bottom of a bag of frozen food or even investing in a ready-made diversion safe to hide them in plain sight.

SEE ALSO: Top 4 Stolen Items During Burglary

Hiding In The Home: Smart Products

There are a variety of products on the market called diversion safes, which are made to look like common household items; they are hollow inside, but weighted correctly so as not to arouse suspicion if a thief were to handle them.

There are a variety of items for purchase, including books (which you can also make yourself), canned goods, a head of lettuce and even underwear. These can be stored with your regular canned goods or toiletries as appropriate, and will blend in seamlessly.

Regardless of your strategy, make sure you alert your family to your ingenious hiding spots. Imagine hiding your valuables so effectively that even you forget where they are! Or even worse, your spouse deciding to get rid of that ratty old teddy bear in which you cleverly secreted your stash of cash.

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