Looting is a nearly ubiquitous feature of natural and political disasters, and burglary is an everyday risk, especially in metro areas, so protecting your goods is an integral part of your preparedness plan. In this article we’re not talking about hiding things from government agents. Burglars usually have limited time and must operate undetected, which makes it more difficult for them to find your stuff. Government agents, on the other hand, have unlimited resources, unlimited time, and no liability, so they will simply destroy your home and find everything. Hiding stuff from them requires much more planning, which we will discuss in a future article.
Finally, we’re not discussing deep concealment like burying money in a concrete floor because I want you to be able to easily access your valuables when needed. Certainly there’s a place for deep concealment, but that too will be addressed in a future article.
Learn and apply these principles to make your hiding places more effective — concealment, camouflage, and distraction.
When you conceal something, you take something in plain view and place it where it can’t be seen. That’s straightforward, but the trick is learning how to make it hard to find. You must place it in a location that is not usually associated with that object.
For example, money is usually found in a wallet or a safe. If you’re hiding it, you might stick it in a dresser drawer, a shoe, or a coffee can in the pantry, but those are common hiding places, and a burglar will look there first. Be imaginative; remember that because a burglar has limited time, he won’t be able to search every location. Therefore, he’ll look in “likely” places first. Here are some unlikely possibilities for hiding money or jewelry:
- Curtain rods. Roll up some bills and stick them in the curtain rods.
- Floor or desk lamp. Not taped under the base, mind you, but inside the lamp itself.
- Inside a light fixture.
- Above ceiling tiles.
- Inside a door or window frame. Remove a piece of door trim, hide your stuff, and replace the trim.
- Taped in the back of your clothes drier.
- Empty can of PVC cement in your workshop.
The possibilities really are endless. Just make sure you don’t hide everything in the same place, and either make a record of where your stuff is hidden, or share the knowledge with one or more trusted people so you improve the chances of remembering all your hiding places.
When you camouflage an object, you leave it in plain view but make its form indistinct by blending it into its surroundings. For example, a tent that is brown and two shades of green will be more difficult to spot in the woods than a tent that is hot pink. This principle of hiding things doesn’t really apply to hiding money in your home, but you might apply it when hiding a small shed on the outskirts of your property. There you could hide a small food stock or some extra fuel.
If you can draw a burglar’s attention away from your valuables, he will be less likely to find them. One way to distract him is to draw his attention to something less valuable; this is a decoy. For example, leave a wallet in plain view with a moderate amount of money; maybe $100 or $200. If he finds this and takes it, he might be satisfied and move on to your computer and television, and never find the big stash of cash.