Dear Money & Crisis Reader,
This week we’ve been focusing on storing your emergency stash safely and securely in your own home.
As we learned yesterday, burglars have a knack for finding hidden stashes of valuables… but they aren’t as smart as they seem.
These smash-and-grab opportunists are just familiar with all the common places folks tend to hide their valuables.
Today, I’ve asked security expert and former CIA officer Jason Hanson to brief us on some of the worst places to hide your valuables.
These common hiding spots might seem like a great idea. But they’re the first place a seasoned burglar will check.
All the best,
Editor, Money & Crisis
The Five Worst Places to Stash Your Valuables
By Jason Hanson
During a home burglary, most criminals will immediately head for the master bedroom and then work their way to other areas of the home.
Burglars know that most folks don’t even hide their valuables, so they’ll head straight for where important items are usually kept: jewelry boxes, dresser drawers, nightstands and closets.
Just recently, burglars broke into a Florida home and stole $100,000 worth of jewelry from the master bedroom.
Chandresh and Bhairavi Lakhani were enjoying a night out on the town. But when they when they returned home, Bhairavi discovered that the bottom half of their garage door had been sawed off.
Thieves had ransacked their garage and kitchen. But the real damage was done in the couple’s master bedroom.
The thieves had stolen the couple’s watch collection — valued at $100,000 — which had been stored in plain view on the couple’s dresser.
Since we know where criminals are likely to look, it’s important to consider hiding your valuables in other areas of your home.
Most break-ins transpire in 10 minutes or less, so the more difficult you make it for thieves to find the goods, the better your chances of thwarting their efforts.
With that being said, I realize there are homes of different sizes and different layouts, so I decided to share with you the five worst places to hide your valuables, so you can make the necessary changes depending on your situation:
1. Underwear/sock drawer
People assume socks and underwear are of no value to a thief. Unfortunately, this age-old thinking means criminals head right for this drawer. While some folks wouldn’t want to touch another person’s socks or underwear, criminals have no qualms about rifling through your intimate apparel for valuables.
2. Under the mattress
If you’re like me, this is where you hid your most prized possessions when you were a kid. I remember stashing my BB guns underneath my mattress. Never hide anything under the mattress because — I assure you — criminals will take the extra two seconds to flip the mattress and check. (My mom found the BB gun easily enough.)
3. Your children’s bedroom
Many years ago, this was a great place to hide valuables because criminals weren’t exactly looking for toys to steal. However, nowadays kids have tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles and other electronics. So if a criminal searches the master bedroom to no avail, they will most likely hit the next bedroom down the hall.
4. In the freezer
This is a hiding spot made popular in the movies (and by corrupt politicians). Well, life imitates art. These days, a lot of people hide money in their freezer. I’ve known people who even wrap their money in foil and write “frozen meat” on the foil. But criminals watch movies too, and they will check among your frozen foods. Also, I’m sure you’ve heard about burglars who like to eat while burglarizing a home. As weird as it sounds, it’s not uncommon, since many burglars are desperate.
5. In the toilet tank
At first, the toilet tank seems like a good idea. However, this is another hiding place that Hollywood has ruined by showing people stuffing money, jewelry or other items into plastic bags and hiding them in the tank.
Hopefully, this list has made you rethink where to hide your valuables. If you currently use any of the places I mentioned above, I encourage you to move those items right away.