Monday, August 3, 2015

Decoy and Concealable Safes?

Hello Ferfal,
I remember some time ago, either in a post here or in your first book
(which I highly recommend, by the way), you mention having two safes:
one large dummy safe for "show", and one small concealable safe to
hold all your real items of value. Do you know any reliable
manufacturers for such a concealable safe? Also, related and in
addition to this, I am seeking a small handgun safe. Any
recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
Hello Curtis,
Yes, the basic idea is that you would have a decoy safe, maybe a cheaper one in a closet, and second one which should be well hidden.
There’s basically two reasons behind this logic. First, if someone manages to break into your house and gets to the safe, there’s a good chance they’ll either bust it open or steal it entirely. I know of small safes that have been hammered out of walls and stolen entirely, or big, larger ones that left owners wondering how the heck did they take that huge, heavy thing. Well, criminals are capable of amazing things. Enough leverage, enough guys pulling, powertools and a truck means anything that was once installed in your house can be uninstalled again along with whatever happens to be inside. It’s better if they just get in, find a safe and just take that. Few criminals will spend time looking for a second safe and even if they do a well hidden one shouldn’t be easy to find.
The second important reason to have a decoy safe is something many learned in Argentina the hard way: The fastest way to crack a safe is putting a gun to the owner’s head… or his children. Now, if you combine this with a very unstable financial situation in which cash and other valuables are kept at home, losing all your wealth may not be as bad as getting shot, but it is still a disaster. A second, well hidden safe means you can open your decoy one and have contents that would leave a criminal happy (more decoys, cheap gold plated jewelry, use your imagination) while saving the bulk of your savings.
Sentry Safe SFW205GRC Electronic Water-Resistant Fire-Safe, 2.05 ft3, 19 3/10 x 19 3/8 x 23 7/8, Black (SENSFW205GRC)
As for specific safes, the cheap Chinese safes may make good decoys but they are junk, easily opened. Get a good, fireproof and waterproof safe for you real one. A good way to go about it is buying a good solid safe, where you keep your important documents (which criminals wont be interested in during a home invasion), but only decoy valuables and little cash while keeping the bulk of your money and precious metals in a well concealed floor safe.
SentrySafe 7250 Waterproof Floor Safe, 540 Cubic Inches, Gray
Regarding handgun safes, this one is fast to access, has very good reviews and its selling for a reasonable price.

Take care, good luck and remember: This is just part of the plan. Loose lips sink ships so make sure no one knows about that car, boat, house you just sold, big bonus or commission. Another common occurrence in Argentina is that kidnappers and home invaders knew EXACTLY how much cash they were supposed to find and would not leave the house without it!
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.


Don Williams said...

Back in 2012 the subject of safes came up here. Ferfal noted the merits of having an obvious safe (both as a diversion and as an option to open if a family member is threatened by home invaders) while also having a well hidden safe. An anonymous safecracker had some interesting comments about how they can be attacked and the vulnerabilities of some models. Floor safes were also discussed.

One difficulty is finding a safe that is strongly attack resistant while also being fire resistant -- the two objectives conflict to some degree.

Don Williams said...

PS Several other tradeoffs are the cost of the safe versus the value of what you are storing -- it doesn't seem reasonable to spend $5000 just to store $5000 in cash. Would make more sense to buy several hidden cheaper safes and split the money among them with each requiring time to break. Another issue is how frequently you need access to the money. If you want to protect an emergency fund that you don't anticipate needing, then you can dig a two foot hole in the ground, put a pvc pipe containing a few $1000 (and sealed at both ends) into the hole and then cover the pipe with 2 feet of reinforced concrete. IF you need the money however, it would be a bear to break up the concrete and retrieve it. Same goes if you have the savings in precious metals and decide to sell them because the market outlook suggests their price will decline relative to other investment options.