Safes are widely used by many different people, from businesses to homeowners, to keep precious and valuable items safe. Thousands of safes exist throughout the world. So how safe is a safe and what do you look out for when buying one? Are safes as secure as they seem? Will they protect you from a determined criminal? Paul answers your questions in this blog post.
Safes are not as secure as you would imagine.
Safes are not as secure as many people think. Paying for the best quality safe always offers you more protection. A determined and skilled thief will always be able to defeat a safe. A cheap safe will remain secure for seconds whereas a high quality safe will remain secure for maybe a half hour. Paying more for better security gets you more time but does not lessen the chances of a determined criminal eventually gaining access to your valuables. Safes should be used in tandem with other security devices. The more you pay the harder it is for a criminal but that doesn’t mean impossible.
Short and sweet
The most usual thing that happens with a safe is that the criminal will take the whole safe. They won’t hang around with an ear to the combination lock listening for the clicks as depicted in many old black and white movies. A thief is not concerned with being that technical just yet, all they want to do is get the safe out of your house in as little time as possible. Once they have the safe away from the crime scene they can then do what they need to do to crack the safe, even if it takes them days. By then it’s too late, your safe has gone and any valuables along with it. Bolting a safe down to a concrete floor isn’t going to help either, all this does is provide an additional point to apply leverage and bend the door open. Bolting to the floor is a no-no because the bolts can be ground off or torched through with oxy-acetylene. By fastening a safe to the floor it can make it easier to open not harder.
Higher cost – better protection
The more you pay for security the more secure your valuables are. A cheap safe purchased from eBay or Amazon for £30 is never going to be as strong as a high end safe which have much stronger construction. The more expensive the safe the higher the grade of materials used and in high end models metals are used that are capable of defeating drills and cutting tools. High end safes are also designed to prevent cutting torches from being able to efficiently cut through, by spreading the heat over a wider area. A cheap safe can be opened with a hammer or forced open with a large screwdriver or bar, not particularly safe and far more suitable for storage. As discussed above the more expensive the safe the more time it takes a thief to open it and criminals like a quick fix. It is always best to have the most expensive safe you can afford.
Walls have ears
Don’t ever be tempted to talk about the fact you have a safe, to anyone. Showing off your new safe or talking about it advertises the fact you have expensive valuables you want to protect. An innocent conversation can lead to heartache if a criminal overhears. A lot of robberies are carried out by those you would least expect to do it and those that have unhindered access to your safe. It’s a nasty thing to think about but a lot of robberies are carried out by family members, employees or those you thought you could trust. It is not worth showing off the fact you have a safe, word of mouth gets around in daily gossip and gets back to people that you don’t want knowing you have a safe. If anyone ever asks if you have purchased a safe or own one or are even thinking of buying one, change the subject or deny the case.
Out of sight and out of mind
As above and talking about your safe you should also be taking steps to prevent your safe being seen by prying eyes. Always conceal your safe if you can, especially from line of sight, from windows, from doors and keep them out of busy areas, be it the reception area, the front room or the main office.
Hiding a safe can mean the difference between it being stolen, broken into and not. Concealing a safe buys you that all important time and as we know thieves hate taking time on things, it increases the risk they will be caught. Ideally you want to build your safe into the wall or into a floor.
A safe that is buried in a wall or into the floor is always a better option than a freestanding safe. Your goal is to make your safe as inaccessible as possible. Very few thieves want to take out a wall to get at a safe because it makes too much noise and takes way too much time. Don’t use the cliché of hiding it behind a picture, it’s too easy and for over 50 years we have seen this on films and television and you can be sure it’s the first place to look. No thief is going to rip up a sofa and then the carpet to look for a safe unless they know it’s there and know what’s in it.
Think outside of the box about where you place your safe and don’t be afraid to be quirky and unusual, removing the normal when hiding your safe ensures it will take more time to be discovered.
Get Professional Advice.
If you are unsure always seek professional advice on which safes have the highest security system and best locks for your budget and always get the best one you can afford. A safe is one link in a chain of securing your valuables and its only as safe as all the other links.
Above all think of security as a mindset and realise a safe is only as good as the other measures you are taking to be secure, all the way from the front or back door to where your safe is placed.
Remember that Suffolk is still quite a rural area and that most often we are still shocked when a robbery occurs, this can make us lax when it comes to security as we are generally trusting and peaceful. Unfortunately, we live quite close to London and it’s a known fact that many criminals come straight up the A12 from the city to commit robberies in our area so always be sure to employ good security measures and always get a professional to advise on your security.
I can’t get into my safe
If you can’t get into your safe as you have lost the keys or the lock is damaged always employ a professional locksmith like myself to gain access for you. A professional locksmith will access your safe efficiently and ethically and will also give you advice on whether it needs replacement. It is always good practice to replace your safe if you have had problems getting into it as you won’t be able to ensure that those lost keys are not in the hands of those who may use them to advantage.
I can also advise on and replace any other locks in your house, be it on your doors or on your windows for additional protection and also ensure all your locks are of a quality that is certified by your insurance company.