A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.
Posted On by Hugo Reed
Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated by hide-and-seek, and I would assume that many other people had the same experience. There is something about human nature that leads us to feel extremely gratified if we can get away with expertly concealing something. It is this simple notion that drives me to hide my house keys like I spent a year studying under James Bond (Connery, not Craig). I approach this with stealth and with tact, however, there are many other people who do not take it quite as seriously.
The security of your house keys is important, and as such, it is crucial to ensure that only the right people have access to them. This concept should apply to both your original set of house keys and any other duplicates (car key duplicates) that you might have on hand. Most people tend to hide their house keys in extremely vulnerable locations.
In order to understand how effective your hiding spot is, you need to understand the way people approach looking for keys, how easy the keys are to access, and a host of other things. In looking at some of the places you should never hide your keys, we will touch on all of these aspects, so that you are armed with the knowledge you need not to make classic key hiding mistakes.
I decided to start with the doormat because it seems to be everyone’s go-to location, which baffles me. Doormats are usually given very minimal security. The most you could do to reinforce your doormat is have a DIY surveillance camera placed overhead that lets you keep an eye on whoever walks up to your door. This doesn’t even really help secure the mat, it just gives you a potential suspect in case someone breaks into your home.
So why would you place your key under your doormat if it’s so easy for anyone to get to it? I mean, if you really wanted to step things up a bit, you could get a weighted doormat that forces you to assume proper squatting form just so you can lift it. Then again, I don’t think such a thing even exists, so I should probably patent it and go on Shark Tank.
Don’t get me wrong though, as much as I dislike the idea, I can empathize with people who place their keys under doormats. There are some homeowners who decide to do this so that their spouses, babysitters, or even extended family members, can gain access to their home if there is no one around to let them in. 34% of burglars use the front door, so placing your key under the doormat certainly helps criminals out. If you think this is not a real concern, you can ask Paris Hilton about the key to her mansion that was left under a mat. I guess it’s just a thing that happens sometimes.
No, you did not read that wrong. If you did not know that you could hide things under a rock, you might have been living under one. Fake rocks have become a rather popular hiding place for homeowners who want to hide their house keys, and once again, I can’t help but wonder who thought up this brilliant idea. (I hope you were able to catch on to my sarcasm.) Some homeowners claim that the fake rock is hard to spot in plain sight, but I find that to be very unlikely. All you have to do is take a look at the thumbnail of a fake key rock on Amazon and you will be able to tell that it stands out like a sore thumb.
There are some who would say that a fake rock might still be a worthy investment if you take the time to make it blend in with your exterior. I don’t know about you, but personally, I wouldn’t put my trust in a fake rock. Fake rocks stand out to people (even those with bad eyes), and they will not keep your keys secure and hidden. Homeowners tend to forget that burglars are pretty adept at researching their victims, so they are privy to some of your habits. This means that burglars are very familiar with some of the crafty little tricks that homeowners employ. If you still do not get the point I am trying to make, let me help you. Burglars know to look for fake rocks!
Furthermore, don’t leave your keys under regular rocks because you think burglars won’t check there. The only time you should do this is if you leave the key under a very heavy rock that anyone would struggle to lift. This might even deter you in an emergency, but it will be an effective way to keep your house keys hidden.
As loyal readers, I feel it is only right for me to be completely honest with you when I’m discussing something. This allows us to build some semblance of trust, so forgive me if I make you feel bad. Honestly, if you’re hiding your house keys (and spare house keys at that) inside your wallet, I am gravely disappointed in you. Hiding your keys in your wallet is like giving a burglar a road map to your treasure chest, and then giving them the key to said chest.
People lose their wallets and their keys every day, and this is one of the main reasons why it is ill-advised to hide your keys inside your wallet. Step into the shoes of a burglar for a second and try and see things the way they do. If a burglar is able to get a hold of your wallet, they will most likely have a copy of your ID (which has your address on it) and your key, which will let them waltz right into your home.
Trust me, I get the logic (of sorts) behind it, but I cannot, in good faith, condone it. People rationalize that if they happen to lose their house keys, they can easily reach into a purse or back pocket and use the key that is in their wallet. Sounds easy enough, except for the fact that you are putting all your eggs in one fragile, probably leather encased, basket.
This point is very similar to the first one that I started off with. In my opinion, I think that flower pots are just as popular with homeowners as door mats. Like I said earlier, I totally get the allure of using these kinds of household items to hide your house keys. I would be more supportive of them if they weren’t so insecure. The problem with these solutions is two-fold.
First, burglars have already seen these methods in use and they are not going to be fooled or taken by surprise. The second part of the problem is the fact that they provide minimal amounts of security. Homeowners could easily be fooled into thinking that placing the key within the flower pot instead of under it will somehow help keep their house keys more secure, but I assure you that this is certainly not the case.
Chances are, if a burglar does not find your key under the pot, but they suspect that it is hidden within the pot, they will simply shatter the flower pot to gain easy access to your keys. Essentially, homeowners should try and steer clear of flower pots unless you have about 20 of them and you strategically hide your key in one of them. However, this not a solid idea either because you are pretty much leaving the security of your key up to chance.
Honestly, I can’t help but be amazed at some of the places people choose to hide their keys. If I were a burglar (which I’m not) or a nosy neighbor (which I hope I’m not), one of the first places I would check would be the top of the doorway. I might be wrong in this assessment, so if you have ever tried it and it worked for you, please feel free to let me know. Once again, this location has no security, whatsoever, in place.
The only people that this hiding places guards against are extremely short burglars (depending on the length of your doorway), but even they might be able to uncover this hiding spot if they can find something suitable to stand on. Aside from the fact that your keys will be easy to reach, they will also be much more exposed and visible at that position, and you will have very limited options when it comes to trying to secure it.
Now, this particular point will probably met with some disagreement, because there are many homeowners who have used this successfully. I will admit that whoever came up with a fake sprinkler head is an ingenious and well-meaning individual. I am assuming that it was made to help people use less conventional hiding places, in the hopes that this would help them keep their belongings more secure. This was, at one time, a novel idea and I am sure that for some homeowners it still works just fine.
The issue with this is far different than some of the other points raised above. For most of the hiding places discussed earlier, the problem was that they were easy to spot and that they were also insecure. However, the problem with fake sprinkler heads is unique. Unlike its counterparts, the sprinkler head is actually not easy to spot and most burglars would just walk past a sprinkler without paying it any mind. In addition, the fact that most of them can be screwed in place increases their security. If you kick a fake rock, it will roll over and open, exposing your key. On the other hand, if you exert force on a fake sprinkler head it should stay in place. It is pretty much an inconspicuous lockbox that you can place outside your home.
What is the problem with it then? The simple fact that it has now become a popular hiding place for small household items like house keys. As I stated earlier, people tend to forget that burglars are people too and as such they understand the way most people think. This simple understanding is one of the leading reasons why fake sprinkler heads are no longer effective as hiding places. As cool and ingenious as they may seem, it is now one of the first places any burglar will look.
You didn’t think I was going to leave you guys hanging did you? Of course not. I wouldn’t do that! If you are going to take the time to hide your house keys, there are a few factors that you will have to take into account. However, depending on the priorities you have as a homeowner, some of these factors will be more important to you than others.
When it comes to securely hiding your house keys, you will have to consider proximity, security, and accessibility. You might think that accessibility and proximity are the same thing, but as we progress, you will see that there are some differences between the two, especially in relation to the topic at hand. These key factors can even be outlined in your your home safety plan. Let’s take a quick look.
1. Proximity – When it comes to proximity, you always want to make sure that your keys are close enough for you to have access to them. This saves you time in emergencies and other unforeseen circumstances that might arise. It is important to be aware of the fact that proximity is relative, and as such, what works for one homeowner might not necessarily be the right thing for you.
For some, hiding your key in the backyard is considered close, while for others, hiding your key in your neighbor’s house down the street might be considered close (make sure to ask for permission first). However, I strongly advise against hiding your key right next to your front door or any other entry way for that matter. I say this because burglars will spend most of their time looking in those locations, which increases the chances of them uncovering your key, even if you hid it properly.
2. Accessibility – In addition to proximity, homeowners also need to take accessibility into account when they are hiding house keys. Accessibility, in this context, is referring to how easy it is for you to retrieve your keys from their hiding place. It is also important to be aware of the fact that they should be easily accessible to you, and to hard to reach for anyone else. For instance, if you end up burying your keys somewhere in your garden, you should utilize a map that helps you find it fast when you need it. This makes it easily accessible to you and extremely hard to find for any burglar, unless they know exactly where to start digging.
3. Security – Now, security is important when you are choosing your hiding place. Proximity and accessibility means nothing if your hiding spot has no auxiliary safeguards in place. Homeowners need to approach hiding their house keys the same way they approach hiding any other valuables at home. The last thing you want is for a burglar to stumble across your keys because they weren’t securely hidden.
In this regard, homeowners can utilize their surveillance cameras, and other security protocols, to beef up security around their hiding spots which will effectively make them more secure. For instance, if you decide to bury your house keys in your garden, bury them under a thorny plant that will even deter you from wanting to grab it, unless completely necessary.
If you have your house key hidden under your doormat, I hope you took a break from reading this to get up and grab your keys to hide them in a better location. Now, keep in mind that there are many other bad hiding spots that weren’t addressed in this post. However, the last section should still give you some insight into what is to be considered a good hiding spot, as opposed to a bad hiding spot.