How Do You Keep Your Valuables Secure at Home?

MICHAELSD

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Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
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With Halloween approaching and my imagination running wild of it being a prime day for burglaries, I'm starting to become more cognizant that I should be securing my valuables like my MacBook Pro but also car keys, wallet, etc. to the point that they're not out in the open for the taking if some degenerate does manage to break-in. I've been considering a safe but I'm not sure if that's the absolute best option. Other options are securing the room the majority of my valuables are in with a Purge-like precision, but I think I'd feel comfortable with a modern safe that makes it easy for me to insert and remove valuables but practically impossible for a thief.

Once I own a home I will invest strongly in high-level smart home protection that would make any thief sorry for picking the wrong house but at this point I just want to secure my valuables so that a thief would have a very disappointing score. Thumbs-up for any cheap camera/alarm recommendations as well.
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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I have a house alarm, so if someone breaks in, it sounds a very loud klaxon, and also the monitoring company will call the police. Additionally, I have a safe for certain things
 

MICHAELSD

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
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NJ
I have a house alarm, so if someone breaks in, it sounds a very loud klaxon, and also the monitoring company will call the police. Additionally, I have a safe for certain things
House alarms are great to have, but unfortunately they're placed at the bottom of police priorities so a thief has a few minutes to grab valuables and escape. It should scare all but professional thieves off though for the most part. Of course this can be bypassed by having an alert sent to your phone if it goes off and by calling 911 yourself to ensure they arrive much quicker.
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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House alarms are great to have, but unfortunately they're placed at the bottom of police priorities so a thief has a few minutes to grab valuables and escape.
This goes for basically any protection method. I see no difference in calling 911 directly, or having the alarm company doing it, in both circumstances the thief has a few minutes to basically smash and grab. I'll not argue that point
 

jsm4182

macrumors 6502
Apr 3, 2006
346
12
Beacon, NY
I think the best idea is to backup your data and have good insurance, you can't stop a determined thief. You can take precautions to help deter a thief, the common sense ones of locking doors and windows, keeping valuables out of sight may prevent some theft. As others have stated even an alarm and safe can help a little bit but can't completely prevent theft.
 
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ActionableMango

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Sep 21, 2010
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Thumbs-up for any cheap camera/alarm recommendations as well.
If the safe is portable, the thief will just take the entire safe and crack it open later. Be sure to bolt the safe to something secure like a wall stud.

A simple alarm sticker or sign will act as a deterrence to many without even needing the alarm itself. Why risk the extra hassle with your house when they could just hit a neighbor instead?

You can get an inexpensive webcam like a Foscam to point at your door, safe, or wherever you think a thief will go. It can be set up to send you a picture on your smartphone when it detects motion. Unfortunately quickly changing light conditions in a room (from something like a cloud going in front of a sun) will cause false positives for all inexpensive cameras due to how they detect motion.

If you want an actual alarm, this article is by far the best I've seen that compares alarms, educates you about them, and recommends some.

I cannot find it now, but I read an article by a reporter that had interviewed dozens of former thieves about how they operated, what their motivations were, and what they would recommend to keep your valuables secure. It was very illuminating. If I were to summarize, it goes like this:
  1. On average, thieves have two overwhelming motivations (of equal priority): (A) Get in and out quickly. (B) Have something to show for the effort.
  2. To address (A), make it time consuming to get in, and make your true valuables hard to find (hidden) or hard to get to (safe).
  3. However, don't forget (B). The thieves will not leave without something to show for it. If you make everything hidden or difficult to get to, they will be determined to get to something and therefore will either take the time to do so, or cause a lot of damage trying. Easy to find fake jewelry (convincing fakes), an old iPad, or even a spare wallet with petty cash in it and useless/fake cards is enough for the thief to consider it as a win and leave. Leave these in an obvious place like on a shelf or whatnot. However, don't make them visible from the outside or their presence could actually act as an incentive to break in.
 
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BernyMac

macrumors regular
May 18, 2015
200
656
USA
I use a gun safe that is bolted down to the floor. I leave a crappy laptop on top of the table as a quick "take it and leave" incentive. I also use Door Armor products on all my doors.
 

Apple fanboy

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 21, 2012
32,744
22,593
Behind the Lens, UK
With Halloween approaching and my imagination running wild of it being a prime day for burglaries, I'm starting to become more cognizant that I should be securing my valuables like my MacBook Pro but also car keys, wallet, etc. to the point that they're not out in the open for the taking if some degenerate does manage to break-in. I've been considering a safe but I'm not sure if that's the absolute best option. Other options are securing the room the majority of my valuables are in with a Purge-like precision, but I think I'd feel comfortable with a modern safe that makes it easy for me to insert and remove valuables but practically impossible for a thief.

Once I own a home I will invest strongly in high-level smart home protection that would make any thief sorry for picking the wrong house but at this point I just want to secure my valuables so that a thief would have a very disappointing score. Thumbs-up for any cheap camera/alarm recommendations as well.
We have an alarm. It is always set when we are upstairs asleep or out.
My wife doesn't work, so our house is rarely empty compared to others.
I have Home insurance and keep a back up off site.
Our alarm calls us on our mobiles if it goes off.
I'm also very careful about keeping stuff out of site of windows (especially my DSLR gear).

Of course I'm not sure burglaries are any more prevalent at Halloween.
 

MICHAELSD

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
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NJ
We have an alarm. It is always set when we are upstairs asleep or out.
My wife doesn't work, so our house is rarely empty compared to others.
I have Home insurance and keep a back up off site.
Our alarm calls us on our mobiles if it goes off.
I'm also very careful about keeping stuff out of site of windows (especially my DSLR gear).

Of course I'm not sure burglaries are any more prevalent at Halloween.
Perfect time for burglaries. You could be wearing a full costume with a mask and checking houses to see if anybody is home without raising suspicion. Worst case scenario you end up with mini candy bars.
 

1madman1

macrumors regular
Oct 23, 2013
181
79
Richmond, BC, Canada
I make no attempt to hide or lock away anything. A considerable number of my valuables are actually visible as soon as you open the front door. I'm living in a 6 year old ~160 unit concrete and steel condo tower located in a traditionally safe area. With 4 electronic locks and about 6 cameras to pass before you get to my front door I don't have many concerns. I'm also 90% sure that the other units down my corridor are only occupied seasonally - I haven't seen (or heard) anyone other than myself and the cleaning lady go past my door in a month or so. The only potential issue would be in the event of a power failure long enough for the building's backup generators to run out of fuel - all the electronic locks will automatically open, and presumably the cameras will stop working.
 

richinaus

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2014
1,008
811
I use a gun safe that is bolted down to the floor. I leave a crappy laptop on top of the table as a quick "take it and leave" incentive. I also use Door Armor products on all my doors.
It would drive me mad having old crap on the table just for the burger to take.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,843
30,363
Boston
Perfect time for burglaries. You could be wearing a full costume with a mask and checking houses to see if anybody is home without raising suspicion. Worst case scenario you end up with mini candy bars.
Thieves like to work at times when they'll not be noticed. With so much foot traffic on those nights, its actually a horrible idea imo and the fact that so many people come to the door or out seeing what's occurring makes it unlikely.
 

fischersd

macrumors 601
Oct 23, 2014
4,555
1,279
Vancouver, BC, Canada
A German Shepherd works wonders.
Reminds me of the Great Dane my uncle had. They came home from the cottage one sunday to find a ground floor window smashed to the outside. Inside "Bosco" was laying with part of a pant leg and a boot under his head. He was super gentle with the kids, but you didn't want to be a stranger going into their house when they're not home!! :)
 

Al'sDad

macrumors member
Dec 7, 2012
44
18
I bought a fairly imposing safe a number of years back for pistol storage. It also has two fireproof lockboxes inside it for important papers and valuables.

Not too worried about computers. They're pretty old, and everythin important on them is backed up to cloud storage.
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
6,717
3,266
Kentucky
My opinion on safes is that they're pretty much worthless unless they weigh a substantial amount and are securely mounted. A small safe screams "valuable stuff-take me." Also, even with a heavy safe, a lot of them are overall pretty flimsy and not that difficult for a determined person to open.

I keep my collectable watches and some of my more valuable guns in a safe deposit box. It's $35 a year for mine and the stuff is far safer than I could possibly make it at home.

For most of my other guns, I have a nice 1 ton Browning branded safe in a discreet location.

I don't worry about electronics. I encrypt the drives and keep back-ups. When I was working on my master's thesis, I kept a bootable back-up in my safe deposit box along with copies of the thesis and papers in Dropbox. Aside from that, if someone steals them, I'll replace them. With that said, because I collect Apple laptops I've been known to leave some "low hanging fruit" out. For a while, I had a low-spec aluminum Powerbook(15" 1.25ghz) that I was actively working on but generally stayed in plain view. Since it follows the general design language of modern products(aluminum lid with white Apple inset) it would be an easy grab and I wouldn't have lost much sleep over losing it. Good luck hauling out some of the Apple desktops I have in plain view without getting caught.
 
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Tech198

macrumors G5
Mar 21, 2011
13,955
1,638
Australia, Perth
I have a house alarm, so if someone breaks in, it sounds a very loud klaxon, and also the monitoring company will call the police. Additionally, I have a safe for certain things
I do one better... we have an alarm and stickers on all windows, but in actual fact we stopped paying for a monitoring company... Touch wood.... its worked..

a few houses down our street got burgled.
 

Micky Do

macrumors 68000
Aug 31, 2012
1,823
1,360
An island in the Andaman Sea.
I pay cash for everything I own, and don't own anything that I can't afford to lose, so no worries.

I have odd important document, such as my passport, and a back up of important files on a USB stick, in a locked drawer.

The most valuable things I have are a 2009 Mac Mini, a small 20 year old motorcycle (cost me $500 thirteen years ago), and a Fujifilm X20 camera. I could replace them all tomorrow if they were stolen or damaged beyond repair today.


Possessions mean little to me beyond their utility.
 
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samiwas

macrumors 68000
Aug 26, 2006
1,575
3,518
Atlanta, GA
I got no pets, no guns, no safe, and we only set the alarm when we're asleep at night. We don't have fancy jewelry, expensive electronics, or anything of really high value (because we just don't value those things), so robbers aren't going to be very impressed. Computers are about the most expensive things in this house.
 
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