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A burglar’s carrier bag: the trouble with cheap hotel-style safes

Having a safe at home is quite an attractive proposition. We all have valuables and important things we’d like to protect: jewellery, deeds to the house, a will, or just good old-fashioned fat stacks of cash.

But a great many safes aren’t really secure at all.

Bolt it down!

A lot of domestic safes are nice and small, about the size of a shoebox. Add to that the fact that a lot of safe contents are light (most of us don’t store gold bullion at home—and people who do own bullion tend to store it in a vault…).

If you put two and two together, you realise that any intruder could simply pick up your safe and carry it away. It’s like you put all of your valuables into an easy-to-steal container.

Bolt the thing down to prevent it from being carried away.

Cheap safes can be opened with a fist…

Having said all that, though, it’s worth remembering that cheap safes can be opened without a key. All it takes is… a fist!

Yes, it’s true, most of these safes can be ‘bumped’ open by hitting them hard on the top edge with a fist (or rubber mallet).

The video below illustrates a similar way of opening a safe without a key:

As you can see, it doesn’t take too much to get in to one of these.

Proper safes cost proper money

Safes come with a so-called cash rating, which tells you how much cash should be stored inside. If you want to insure the contents of a safe, the insurer will tell you to store it in a safe with the right cash rating. £3000 in cash belongs, therefore, in a £3000 cash-rated safe.

A safe of that calibre will easily set you back between £200–£550. It’s a lot to fork out, but then, on the other hand, wouldn’t you rather keep your valuables properly safe, and not just pretend safe?

Safes aren’t as easy to use as you might hope. It’s not something you just buy and put into your house. You need to choose a suitable one, properly fasten it, and keep the keys safe, too.

Putting cash in one place, jewellery in another, and important documents in yet another unsecured hiding place at home might actually be safer than chucking it all into a not-bolted-down hotel-style safe.

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