by Adam Tait
February 7, 2023 - When it comes to protecting the things that are precious to you, camouflage is a fantastic option. This is likely the reason that you’ve put money into camo ponchos for family members, why you try to live “gray” on a daily basis, and why you keep all of your food supplies out of sight when you have guests visiting.
Through past interactions with some people, I’ve learned that a lot of crime is crime of opportunity. Just the presence of something in view was too much temptation, and it resulted in somebody - if they didn’t think they would be caught - committing a crime and stealing something.
To add to matters, when a lot of thieves go about stealing something after breaking and entering a house, their anxiety levels go through the roof. They want to get in, make a score, and then get out as fast as they can. What’s in sight and valuable is what they grab real quick before heading out.
But if we can camouflage the things that are valuable, we can keep valuables in plain sight and protected.
You can make your own secret safes for all of this if you’d like, but there are commercially available options out there as well that you may find of interest.
Fake Coca-Cola: This one is my favorite of the secret safes. It has the same weight and looks like any Coca-Cola can out there. The only difference is that the top of this unscrews, revealing a small storage space inside. The top of the safe is about an inch wide, slightly opening up once you get into the compartment, making this a good space to hide your password list, safe deposit box key, or something else of the like.
Even if somebody does know about fake Coca-Cola cans, nobody is going to take the time to sift through every can in your house to make sure that they may have grabbed a camouflaged safe. And by itself, a can of soda is worth about 75 cents. Nobody wants to go to jail for stealing less than a dollar. This is a cool-a way to hide something, is what I’m saying.
Fake sprinkler head: I personally think that these secret safes only work if you already have several other sprinkler heads scattered throughout your yard. I guess that was one of the things about locksmithing - I learned the spots where people liked to hide their keys.
If there’s one random sprinkler head right beside their front porch stairs, it was a pretty good sign that it wasn’t part of the sprinkler system. There’s no rubber seal on the inside of the screw cap here either, so the only thing I would feel comfortable hiding here is a key. Make it a brass key too. You don’t want it to rust.
Fake rock: You would only want to hide a brass key in this thing, as anything else would get soaked and ruined. Hidden amidst an area where you’ve put down rock for your landscaping, I can personally attest to how difficult these things are to find, even if you know what you’re looking for. There’s a small plastic clip underneath here to hold everything in place too.
If you bury the side a bit with other similar-sized rocks, you make this one just about impossible to find unless you know exactly where to look. For those who are interested in secret safes for hiding a spare key outside of their home for guests or whatnot, and if you have a lot of other rocks in your area that are rounded, I do recommend checking this one out. It has the same weight as an actual rock and is fairly convincing.
Book safe: One of the things that I’m always worried about with hotels is who has access to my room when I’m gone. The answer? Literally, anyone on staff. If they see you walking in with a lot of bags that make it look like you have really cool stuff, that may just be too much temptation for somebody.
The catch is that you don’t want to necessarily pack everything out with you every time you leave the hotel room. I think that a book safe would work wonderfully in this regard. Disguised as a forgettable book that your mom would read at the beach, the book safe opens up to reveal a cavity that can hold items up to the size of your phone.
If you don’t want to walk around downtown Memphis with $500 of your vacation cash in your pocket but also don’t want to leave it out in the open in your hotel room, this could be a great way to keep it out of sight.
Fake Ajax can: I’ve never met a thief who took the time to stop and clean the bathroom tile floor in the midst of robbing a place. It’s for this reason that I think you could safely stow away something inside this Ajax can with zero fear of anyone ever finding out about it. The weight is right, something dusty sprinkles inside the can when you shake it, and it looks exactly like a can of Ajax.
The only catch is that the bottom of it screws open to reveal a fairly large container that could hold all kinds of stuff. Money, jewelry, precious metals, they would all fit in here just fine. The only catch with hiding heavy stuff in camouflaged safes that are designed to even mimic the weight and sounds of an everyday item is that you then are left with solely visual trickery.
All that being said, though, I think that the chance a thief would open up under your kitchen sink and sift through your cleaning chemicals is pretty low.
Fake electrical outlet: Out of all the secret safes here, I think this is the one that would have almost zero accidents. I can potentially see the (small) probability that somebody would open your hollow book, decide to pop open a Coke or find your fake rock. I don’t think any thief is going to take the time to search through every electrical outlet in your house, though.
The catch here is that this is the most labor-intensive safe on this list. You’re going to have to find a spot in your wall without a stud near the floor, saw a hole in your drywall with the enclosed saw blade, push insulation out of the way, and then insert this safe into its hiding space.
You can take the faceplate off the safe to try to match it with another face plate that better coincides with how things look in your home, but you have to get a different screw, or it’s just not going to look real.
So if I was going to put this in my wall, I would opt to stick with the original components but to hide it behind a piece of furniture somewhere.
by Adam Tait