It’s common practice for Bloomington homeowners to leave a spare key hidden somewhere on their property. This gives them the benefit of still gaining access to their home when they’ve forgotten their normal key or have accidentally locked themselves outside. In some cases, it also provides entry to the home to non-residents who still need to get inside, such as dogwalkers or maids.
A spare key, though, also gives anyone who comes across it access to your home. If your key isn’t especially well-hidden, you may soon find that even those uninvited to enter your home have invited themselves. If these people are up to nefarious means, then you may also find that your personal property is missing, broken, or, at the very least, rifled-through.
So, it’s helpful to know when your “clever” hiding place is actually fairly common. It’s also beneficial to know some genuinely ingenious hiding spots and potential alternatives to the hide-a-key game altogether.
Common Spare Key Hiding Locations to Avoid
Humans are creative creatures but tend to overrate the odds they’ve come upon a new idea. Nowhere is this more evident than the hiding spots in which people choose to hide their keys. Ideally, you should do your absolute best to avoid tucking your keys away in these common hiding spots:
- Doormat – Almost anyone will check a doormat first when looking for a spare key. For all the security a floormat offers, you may as well put your key on top of it.
- Fake rock – Fake rocks are another popular form of home security subterfuge. There’s also something visually distinct about a faux stone that makes them quickly discoverable.
- Front door ledge – The issues with keeping your spare key atop the front door ledge are similar to problems with the doormat. The only way your key won’t be found there is if the person trying to find it gives up immediately after looking under the doormat.
- Mailbox – If you’ve ever had something stolen out of your mailbox, you know they offer little protection. Hiding the spare key here may also allow someone who was only looking to take a package.
- Plant pot – Plant pots offer some advantage over doormats, especially if the plant is particularly cumbersome or located further away from the front or back door. However, a dedicated thief will likely look through each outdoor plant pot.
- Porch light – While porch lights provide plenty of nooks and crannies to hold yet obscure the spare key, the best place to hide something is rarely in front of a bright light. Furthermore, it’s closeness to your door makes it one of the first places an opportunist would look.
- Rain gutter or spout – Your home’s rain gutter is probably the best hiding location on this list, but you shouldn’t mistake the lack of competition here for an accurate description of its efficacy. If you have a dog walker or other regular visitor that uses the key, they’ll likely need additional equipment to grab the keys. During or after heavy rains, your key may also soon find itself floating off to an unknown destination.
- Stepping stone – Stepping stones are usually found near the front door and typically give off some visual clue as to their additional responsibility. The latter is especially true if someone has had to use the spare key recently.
If there’s a common theme running through this list, it’s to avoid places within proximity to your front door and offer little security. Even if you’re thinking of a hiding spot not included here, you should still run your chosen spot through those two criteria.
Some Clever Hiding Spots to Consider
If you need to keep a key outside to allow invited visitors inside or as a back-up for your usual house key, there are some worthy spots in which to conceal your key. However, each spot still has some clear disadvantages that need to be discussed, too.
One place to consider is with a trusted neighbor. You’ll get bonus points if your neighbor or someone from their family is home almost all the time. Even if they aren’t, hiding a key on their property outside will confuse anyone with harmful intent, as they’ll assume it belongs to your neighbor. Of course, you should discuss that with your neighbor and ensure there aren’t elements to the key that identify your home.
An intruder’s preference is to avoid detection. That’s why barking dogs are one of the most effective components of a no-tech home security system. You can take advantage of this and keep your spare key under or inside your fur-preferred guesthouse. Although, if you don’t usually keep your dog outside, their indoor yapping may not serve as such a large disincentive.
Burglaries most often during the day when you’re not home. This makes a magnetized lock box under your car an especially effective hiding spot. However, the effectiveness wanes should a burglar prefer a nighttime entrance or if your key needs to be accessed by someone welcome to it when you’re not home.
There are a variety of other spots on your property to try. Behind door knockers, inside socket covers, or buried underneath real rocks all offer more coverage than the popular locations. Each of these options, though, may make the hassle of retrieving the key not worth it. The more you need to get the key in each of these spots, the more likely they’ll begin to look like obvious hiding places.
A Smart Home Security System Can Be Your Spare Key Replacement
You wouldn’t need to hide your spare key in an ideal world because you installed smart home security doors. By using a smart lock, you won’t even need to bring your house key with you, as you can simply plug in your unique access code or unlock the door through an app on your smartphone. Most home security systems allow you to give a code specific to each family member or welcome guest. This lets you know who entered your home and when and cuts down on the need to share a single code with everyone.
Installing security cameras for home surveillance, such as video doorbells, can also provide peace-of-mind. You’ll be able to see a live or recorded video of anyone who approaches your front door. The mere presence of a security camera system can be enough to scare off potential intruders or thieves. Video doorbells typically allow remote lock and unlock, so you can let in your weekly dog walker or trusted delivery person yourself without even needing to be home.
Contact Floyd Total Security Today
To make sure your home or business is secure, reach out today for a free consultation. You can contact us by calling 952-888-5625 or by filling out our online form.
Image Credit: Ricardo Reitmeyer/Shuttertstock