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This Is the Safest Way to Store an Extra Key

Keep your home safe with this simple key storage tip.

There are many reasons that you might be thinking about stashing an extra home key somewhere. Maybe you were recently locked out and during the long wait for the locksmith vowed never to let this happen again. Maybe you have friends coming to town and won't be there to hand the keys off personally. Or maybe you host an Airbnb, and convenient key storage is an important part of a smoothly-run business. Whatever the reason, it's wise to find a way to store an extra key without risking a break-in by making it overly accessible.

According to the FBI's 2015 Uniform Crime Report, 36 percent of that year's roughly 1.6 million home burglaries were due to unlawful, but not forced, entry. This means that to gain entry, those burglars relied on a combination of unlocked doors and windows, fraudulent excuses or identities and‒you guessed it‒poorly hidden keys.

In fact, many burglars are a step ahead of what we might suspect. A study published by researchers at UNC Charlotte indicated that roughly one third of offenders plan a break-in ahead of time, familiarizing themselves with a victim's habits including schedule, locking routines, and spare key storage. And even if they didn't, any burglar worth his weight in your jewelry and electronics knows to check all of the obvious spots: under a rock, the doormat, or a potted plant, to name just a few. So, what can you do to keep a key on the premises without falling prey to a burglary?

The answer is actually quite simple and inexpensive. Your best bet is to get a highly reputable key lock box, and install it out of sight. This plan offers two layers of security. First, a thief would need to know where to look to find it, just as he would with any hidden key. This is inconvenient, but obviously not foolproof. Second, by selecting an unassailable device, you can ensure that your keys are protected, even if they are located.

For several years in a row, popular gear and gadget review site Wirecutter has recommended the Kidde AccessPoint Keysafe with Spin Dial as "the best lock box available, hands down." Retailing for just $35 on Amazon, this miniature wall-mounted dial safe was consistently the hardest to for their locksmiths to crack throughout repeated and rigorous trial tests. They cite the near-impenetrable zinc-alloy exterior casing, snug-fit door, and clever dial design as the keys to its success. If nothing else, the hassle of breaking into the box might encourage a burglar to simply choose a less labor-intensive target if this was their intended mode of entry.

When it comes to your home you can never be too careful. A hard-to-enter home means that not only are your possessions safe, you are, too. Consider installing a alarm system with a visible warning to intruders, lock your doors and windows, and while you're at it, hide your key with a lock box that doesn't make you a sitting duck for burglary. You'll sleep just a bit better at night. And when you want to make your whole home safer, start with the 15 Best Ways to Protect Your Home!

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Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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