Don’t hide gold in your dresser!
If you must hide valuables at home (instead of in a private vault or bank safe deposit box), at least make them hard to find. I handled a burglary recently in which the burglar was in the victim's house for at least 30 minutes but DIDN'T find her cash because it was so cleverly hidden. (The victim was a 73 year old woman with no training or education in crime prevention. Just clever.) If you have a burglary alarm system, you still want your valuables protected from discovery or removable for whatever time frame you believe is reasonable for the police to arrive after the alarm is triggered (5 – 30 minutes). This means placing them in a safe which can't be found and broken in to for 5 – 30 minutes, or hiding them so well they can't be found at all in that period of time. If you don't have an alarm system or if conditions are such that you can't expect police to ever respond, then you have to hide and/or secure your valuables for a long enough period of time for a burglar to give up looking, or trying to get into your safe (1/2 – 2 hours).
Whatever you do, don't store your stash of 200 gold Krugerrand coins (approximate value today of $260,000) in a box, wrapped in paper, in a drawer, in a dresser in your basement without an alarm system in the house!! This is especially true if you actually NEED these coins to fund your retirement because you're not filthy rich.
Notice also in the above story that the victim gave to police a list of people who have access to her house on a regular basis. (It appears they all had keys or the house was simply left unlocked.) Could it be one of them stole the Krugerrands? Duh. Or one of their "associates?" Duh.
Also notice the victim had six dogs in the house which did nothing to prevent this burglary. I repeat: dogs are highly overrated as burglary prevention devices.
Here's another precious metals burglary. They become mind-numbingly repetitious after a while.
Entry was made through a window. I bet that was the 12 year old, and the window was unlocked. Duh. No word in the article on where the gold and silver coins were inside the house, but I doubt 12 and 20-year old skate boarders brought an acetylene torch with them to cut into the owner's safe. I doubt there was an alarm system which was activated, though if the coins were out in plain view (or "hidden" in a dresser drawer! or some other common location) they could have easily found them and gotten out of the house in five minutes even if the alarm sounded. I've seen it done repeatedly.
A word to the wise.
By the way, I have dealt with the subject of personal safety and home defense in great length in two previous posts and a wiki. If you haven't already seen them on this site, you might find them beneficial:
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Last night I dreamed that I hid a large sum of cash … then couldn’t find it when I needed it!
One thought to add to hc0655’s advice would be to use more than one hiding place. Consider dividing your valuables into more than one stash.
The idea would be similar to how smart travellers will carry cash, credit cards and travel documents spread among several pockets, rather than keeping everything in one wallet. If a thief gets the wallet, he gets everything, whereas if valuables are not all kept in one place there’d be a better chance to still have something left after the theft.
Speaking about alarm systems, I'm considering buying a SimpliSafe security system for my house. It's a DIY all wireless system and it seems to have good reviews. The system uses the cellular network to connect to a security center that would call the cops if the alarm go off. Service is relatively reasonable at $15/month compared to other systems.
I was wondering if you heard about it and would have any feedbacks:
And as always thanks so much for your posts!
I'm eager to hear some personal testimonies from PP folks about SimpliSafe. If I was moving into a new place, I think I'd go with SimpliSafe as ONE LAYER of home defense. I'm thinking of installing a SimpliSafe system at our extended family's beach vacation home in New England. Recently, burglars have been breaking in and stealing copper pipes from vacation/rental beach homes in the area and we have no protection at all. I'd love to hear what your experience is. Go for it, and let us know what it's like once you have it set up!
How do you get rid of the bodies?
On a more serious note I am attracted to Dye Markers.
A while back I posted the following DailyPrep. Not sure if it is the best way to hide and protect a PM coin stash but seems better that putting it in a drawer. And the cost is right for my budget.
Note: Also like the idea of using a lipbalm tube to store emergency cash in the car. Keeps it out of sight much easier than an envelop in the glove box. And after the many car break-ins I experienced while living in San Diego – I am pretty sure nobody wants to take my old used lipbalm.
I don't live very far out of town, but I am in the county. The county sheriff is understaffed and for several hours a day there is only one sheriff on patrol in a county that takes a couple hours to drive across, there are a few hours where there is no one available to respond.
Break in's that have been reported often are not responded to until the next day in a lot of cases, except for a recent example where the woman was holding the robber at gunpoint for 45 minutes before she got a response.
I guess what I am saying, is that in a lot of areas/situations you should plan on a several hour or next day response on a break-in.
A simple way to protect your valuables after hiding them well in more than one place (not in the dresser) is to buy a small safe at Home Depot, lock 4 bricks in it and leave it in the closet. The thieves will take it and leave to open it somewhere else. You will know you've been hit and can get real about better protection, and the cost of this lesson is 4 bricks and a cheap safe.
Probably still better than in the dresser, but this one was done on the hit show breaking bad so the cat may be out of the bag. Not that a stranger is going to spend half an hour checking all of your wall plates, but someone who knows you have well hidden PM might.
I have some great hiding spots but even though I like you all, but I'm not telling my secrets. 🙂 My method is to approach it from the perspective of the bugler and pay attention to what they would miss.
I also like the idea about having a decoy safe, except when they do open it they will know they've been duped and likely be back for more. Better to make it look like you have nothing worth taking at all.
One of my friend from France told me last week that a new trend in burglary is they use a metal detector to find valuables such as gold or silver. This is efficient to quickly spot where are hidden the precious metals, especially with detectors that can discriminate metals.
One way to counteract this could be to surround the precious metals with A LOT of other metals. In the pans cabinet? in the workshop? in the garage? elsewhere?