Decoy Safe

Decoy Safe Hiding In Plain Sight To Fool A Home Burglar

Decoy Safe

Most burglaries occur in the day time, usually between 8am-5pm. This is because most people are at work.

In general, the suspect is only in the house for less than 5 minutes, unless you are on vacation and they have hours.

The typical home burglar is looking for cash, jewelry, and guns.

So, what is a decoy safe? It’s a sort of home safe that’s hiding in plain sight.

A decoy safe (depending on its size, shape, form factor) will enable you to store some emergency cash, valuable jewelry, precious metals, or other valuables.

They’re not actually traditional style home safes. They are cleverly designed containment products that appear as ordinary household items.

Examples of a decoy safe:

(Check here)

Here’s where a home burglar will look first:


Places Where A Burglar Will Look First

1. A burglar will usually look in the master bedroom first.

In the jewelry box, dresser drawers, in the closets, under the mattress, around the bed (statistically most weapons are found next to the bed or under the mattress).

2. Then the burglar will quickly look around the house for small electronics, laptops, etc.

3. Bathroom. The burglar may move on to the bathroom medicine cabinet, a quick look in the toilet tank for a wrapped up treasure (a common household hiding place).

Even the kitchen refrigerator or freezer (a common hiding place for cash, etc.).

During the burgle, the burglar will be keeping an eye out for lock boxes or a home safe that may hold more cash, jewelry, or firearms…


A Decoy Safe to Fool The Burglar

Knowing this, it may be effective to keep a decoy safe with some of your rolled up cash or valuables. I thought this one was pretty clever:

Hair Brush Diversion Safe Stash

Note though that these are not designed to withstand fire, water, or other damage. They are simply ordinary looking household products (with internal containment access) hiding in plain sight.

Note that you should also consider having a better (and hidden) safe!
Maybe a home safe like this one:

Security Safe (see other sizes)

What do you think of the notion of a decoy safe?

Any ideas about ‘do it yourself’ decoy safes?

More: 3 Home Security Tips To Prevent A Burglary

More: What I like about my Door Security Bar


  1. We actually have a decoy safe and a regular safe. The regular safe is locked and it’s full of bricks. They will need both hands to carry the safe out and hopefully leave other things behind that they wont be able to carry. Or they will be so excited with the safe that they will stop looking once they have the safe.

  2. A decoy safe has limited value. Burglars target things like cash, small electronics, identification documents, liquor, medication, firearms, tools, and jewelry. For most families those items are going to be used and out in the open.

    Most of the burglaries we respond to could have been easily prevented. Most occur because the doors and windows were left unlocked. They occurred because the owners made it obvious they were gone for long amounts of time. They occurred because the property did not have an alarm system. They occurred because the owners thought their neighbors were observant.

    They occurred because the owner relied on a dog to guard the property. A dog WILL scare away some kids and some types burglars because of a psychological effect. But ANY serious burglar knows you can easily defeat even well trained guard dogs when the owners are not present. Burglars also know these homes are more likely to rely solely on dogs for protection.

    I recommended doing all the small things, because they added up. So a decoy safe or container? Go for it, it can only help.

    1. After my late mother’s death I donated her jewellery to the local SPCA for their fundraising – most was good costume jewellery from the shopping channel. I moved into a condominium apartment which consists of mostly retired persons. We had an impostor woman dressed as a health care workers who was going into some unlocked unit doors and stealing cash and going through the medicine cabinets. We believe she may be or is working for drug addicts. She came back a second time and a neighbour videotaped her and it was put on the police website as well as the local media. Our superintendent takes security seriously and the building upgraded the security system. There is a sign on the front door not to let in people unknown to us. This is in Canada where we are not permitted to have guns otherwise I am sure some of the world war two vets would have shot her on sight. I am suspicious of anyone under the age of 80 who I do not know to be OK. I report all suspicious incidents to the superintendent/condo board as it could be part of a larger picture. Call me an old bag – I have earned it.

      1. We have a facility here too for retired people. Sadly they hire lots of trouble people to work there. Non-violent people but people who have long histories of annoying crimes like DUI and petty theft. I am always delivering civil papers to the workers for money they owe. It is only a matter of time….

  3. We were robbed during the day. It was the day after Easter break, when the kids return to school. It was obvious that our home was targeted and whoever robbed us knew our basic schedule, choosing a school day during work-hours….typical time to rob a home.

    Neighbors saw a rust-bucket truck w/ WV plates parked along the side of our property, on a driveway that goes back to a few homes behind our place….the neighbors ignored the truck sitting there and assumed that I was hiring out for another timber-job. DUH!

    That day, the kids came home from school and entered the front door, as they usually do. They saw a drawer on the floor from a desk. Went into the kitchen, saw the kitchen door had been opened — pried loose from the door frame. Called me instead of running next door (though we had run the drill several times — they didn’t do as we practiced!).

    No one knows how long they were there. Here’s what was upturned or disturbed:
    1-Master bedroom was a target room: mattress was found off of the box springs, clothing was on the floor from the top closet shelf in one of the clothes closets (a full-sweep to see what shook out), 5 drawers on the floor from the dresser and the chest and sitting atop clothing that had been dumped out of those drawers.
    2-One kid’s bedroom ransacked with drawers pulled out of the chest, one guitar stolen.

    Only cash from our bedrooms was taken, along with some of my gold jewelry. One electric guitar was stolen (they took a bass but left a lead guitar). No appliances, PCs, TVs, videos, CDs at all. They never went downstairs. They used a pillowcase off of a son’s pillow to hold their ‘findings.’

    Cops were called. No prints were taken, no photos were taken, no investigation. They gave me a written ‘report’ to file w/ insurance.

    EVERYTHING changed after we were robbed. My opinion: Perimeter security, door & window security, personal security are more important than the security of valuables. If your home is impenetrable and/or protected, the valuables get protected somewhat. Protect the home first!

    Unless a safe is anchored to a floor, don’t bother. A safe is a big signal and a honeypot for a robber. Smaller safe-places, or a well disguised ‘safe’ is much smarter!

    Also, don’t place all valuables in the same place!

    Most valuables like cash, jewelry, and guns don’t need to be accessed within 30 seconds, so hide them where it takes an effort to retrieve them. Each of the small decoys that is in the Amazon link is a good idea, I believe. Almost all of them can be DIY, too!

    Guns used for personal protection should be placed strategically — those aren’t ‘valuables’, they’re ‘essentials’ — treat them as such.

    1. Seen lots of similar burglaries before. Neighbors never see the criminals, or if they do they don’t remember the details or they assume they are supposed to be there.

      Police should have taken some photos, our department always does. We typically ask a few neighbors if they have seen anything as well. They never do. They often just complain about their burglarized neighbors not mowing their grass or complain about their dog. YES this does happen during the interviews. Unreal.

      Fingerprints? Likely not going to happen unless there is violence. We have a 2 year wait for non-violent fingerprint matching in my State. Databases are smaller than most would expect. Not to mention you need elimination prints for all family members and anyone who is in the house regularly. Plus finger print dust, it horrific to clean up. We need the owners to sign a wavier for us to even begin fingerprinting inside property. But our department can do it if requested. I love fingerprinting, it’s my favorite part of the job that we almost never do. :(

    2. My friend’s sons house was burglarized and he had a safe in the closet bloated down to the floor. The thieves removed the entire safe and took it. Had about $7K in it, smh. Her son lives in chronic pain from a fall off a roof as a contractor so he takes lots of doctor prescribed pain killers, thieves got off with a mess of those as well, They had gone away for the weekend and felt someone in the neighborhood got them. Now they have an alarm system and he takes all his meds with him when they go away.

  4. I have a decoy safe linked to a loud alarm. Opening the safe or pulling it off the wall will set of the alarm which cannot be shut off easily.

  5. My son had a break-in and found they came into the house from a kitchen window. The police found a print on the window, but told him they are not going to bother with processing it. They just wrote up a report and told him to file with his insurance. They took everything he had, electronics, laptop, TVs, gaming system and games. Personal items such as clothes, shoes, shampoo, and even took his toilet paper. Go figure. They literally cleaned him out.

    I think it was targeted since they took personal items. It was quite scary. He has since gotten a security system put in. He is gone from home a lot of the time and only has one car. He lives on a busy road, so I think it was obvious the house was empty.

  6. our main safe is under the stairs in the tornado shelter behind other “prep” stuff. the shelter is locked.

    we have two other little decoy safes (shaving can safe & clorox wipes safe) in the RV.

    everything else is insured (electronics and stuff)

    1. oh, be sure to let the kids know about the decoys–so they don’t trash them after you’re gone.

      My grandma settled a friends estate and cleaned out her house. She knew the lady had two big diamond rings, but didn’t see them until…

      cleaning out a medicine cabinet, she thought to keep the rolaids as she used that. Many months later, going to get some, a diamond ring rolled out! She figured she threw the other one out hidden in some jar or bottle of something. :(

  7. Within my home, I have several aftermarket Bible cases that have zipper closures. These are located in the office near the front door. One contains a high capacity 9 mm handgun and another contains a 357 magnum. Both of these are loaded.

    “When you need help in a big way, just reach for the word of God”

    My neighbors and I keep an eye out on each others houses. I am a homebody and so is my next door neighbor where as the neighbor across the street will take off for long weekends with his 5th wheel trailer frequently. We do not talk all the time but we touch bases frequently enough to stay on good terms. The standard “Patrol unit” within our neighborhood is the old guy out walking his dog. Many have cell phones and many also have CCW’s. I am one of the dog walkers. My neighborhood is also the off duty residence of many local LEO’s. ( it is that safe.) so most of us are former cops or current working cops.

    Another draw for this town is the local school system which is very good and acts as another draw for respectable family types. We see neighbors and knowing your neighbors as part of our security system.

  8. Those faux electric outlets are pretty cool. Small but can hold some jewelry/coins. I found a neat hider on Amazon. It is a paint/varnish can. If SHTF most folks will not be looking for varnish, but will be looking or food, wipes and most of the other types of hiders available. Take the varnish can and dress it up some with the real thing. Can even make the can dried shut as the bottom is where it opens. Has a bear on it. Not inexpensive. Neither is losing valuables. We keep a large heavy jar of change where it can be found easily.

  9. Hm … Mom said she had some cash in the house but she wouldn’t tell me where. We never did find most of it.

    1. Lauren
      It will get my mind off what is happening if I can assist you in this matter.

      You have to give me permission to do this for you. I may not hit on the exact spot, hopefully I can get you in the general area. Here is a clue do not tell me IT IS LOST, since your mom did not tell you or your dad where it was at. It is there by something I can assist you with….

      Question……….are you willing to give this a try?????

      1. Sure, if it won’t put you out. I just think it’s funny. I asked her where her main stash was and she wouldn’t tell me. :) It may also have been considerably less than she said.

        Enjoy yourself. :) You have my permission.

        1. Lauren
          Guest bath room line closet 3rd shelf up taped to the back left hand side in a plain envelope. It is only one of several places, so back to the search.

        2. The patterns are in that closet, so you may be sensing the same thing. Thanks for the help!

        3. NotMyAsphalt ——–I’ve heard of this. Also in the hems of curtains.

    2. Lauren…assuming you’ve looked through all books/magazines, and her underwear…(read about some older women who wore support bras, cut a slit into the “inside” of support)..? How about..………..frozen in block in a freezer?…………………..cut into a mattress?………….under the insole of an old pair of shoes/slippers? …………………..peel back a bible cover lining…………peel back the back of any religious/other pictures………wedding photo backs…..under the wallpaper by her bed……………in envelope glued to top inside of her night table…………………..inside the purse lining…………

      1. Sure. She had a hole in her purse where she kept a small stash, we found bits in books and movies, under the mattress, inside unused shoes, etc. Taped to the underside of dresser drawers. One stash was wrapped in tin foil in the freezer, or in old medicine bottles. Lots of other places. Believe me, NOTHING went out of this house without being thoroughly investigated. :) I just think it’s funny. If we ever need the money we’ll find it, but good grief.

        1. Lauren……….it’s a tough one..sigh. Just to keep in mind, “what/where could she easily “reach”?”—–Assuming she was no Olympic athlete, would likely be somewhere she could “get at”, in case of want/need……….You mentioned you looked under bottom of drawers…How about right under the “top” of night stands/dressers…That is, taped up there in an envelope facing the drawer? Easy for her to reach into a drawer and turn her hand to grab it.

  10. I have read a number of detailed articles over the years that have collectively listed all the secret places to hide your stuff and all the decoy tricks to keep burglars from getting your things. You would think that after all these years there is no place left in or around your home to hide things that burglars (and cops) don’t already know about.

    Posting your secret hiding places and decoy tricks on the internet does no one a favor… except burglars… and cops. Just saying

    1. I disagree. Burglars want QUICK and EASY.
      The ones who burglarize in the middle of the day while you’re at work, they want to leave before they’re found or you come home. If nothing else, being quick means they can try another house and get more loot or money.
      Therefore they will check for best chance of return- statistically, master bedroom, maybe fridge and bookshelf. When they have something good, they’re gone. If you have $1000 cash under your mattress, they’re glad to find $1000, they’ll take it and run- they are not expecting you to have $10,000 hidden in all these little places. Searching for that is diminishing returns. A garden variety burglar isn’t going to carry a checklist of all possible places and try them all in so little time.
      In addition to being sneaky, whatever you do you should make it a pain in the ass to get. If it’s something you use only once in a while, you can afford to spend a couple hours stashing it, to force any burglar to need a couple hours or more. A burglar with 10 minutes won’t spend 2 hours picking through a huge pile of toys in the basement for something that may or may not exist.

      If the burglars know you’re out on vacation or are true professionals you’re kind of out of luck. In that case it’s prevention- loose lips sink ships. They wouldn’t want to spend that effort shifting tons of junk out of the way unless they think you have something real valuable, so don’t let that info get out. But this is that 1%, I’m happy to prepare for the 99%.

  11. A few years ago I found some decently made plastic containers with screw-on lids that were the same diameter as the body. DIdn’t have a clue what I’d use them for but bought a dozen anyway. Sometime later I was ‘cleaning up’ the garden shed and found quite a few containers for things like Diazinon, etc. Almost tossed them in the trash. Didn’t though. Sometime later I read a similar article about ‘hiding things’ and came across one where a person was using books and odd boxes and other things to put valuables in. There was a bit of modification to said containers to hold other than the original product. Well, to make a short story long, I remembered the Diazinon containers. They were cylindrical, looked like they had been around for a while but were really in decent shape. Turns out the plastic containers I had purchased were a wee tiny bit smaller in diameter. Hmmmm. Light bulb just went on.

    After tinkering around a while I got on of the plastic containers to fit in the Diazinon container by carefully removing the bottom of the Diazinon container. Ta-Da! I also discovered that the plastic containers would fit inside several other garden oriented stuff containers. So, now, If one knows where to look around the homestead you might just find a nice little Easter Egg. But, ya gotta know where and which one.

    Hint: A similar thing can be done with spray paint cans or any metal can. Preferably empty. Or a small box attached to the back of a desk drawer. (Not many desk drawers reach the back side of a desk.) How about under the flooring in the attic? Not gonna blow OPSEC by telling all my spots. Just a few.

  12. Hummm, I wouldn’t give away too much . . . But . . . If any of you have stairs leading to a basement and you pass under a bulkhead (wall). Then its fairly easy to add a fake wall 6in to a foot deep. just match the paint, wood or sheet rock of what ever is there now. If done correctly, you could even put a removable 2×10 plank from the first step to the molding for easy access. A lot can fit on a couple of 10in shelves behind that.

  13. Year’s ago, my fiance and I took a long awaited trip to Tahoe. On our way into the mountains, we realized we were heading into a huge snowstorm, so we turned around and headed home. While we had been gone (less than 12 hours), our little shack had been ransacked, and what few valuables we had were apparently tossed on the bedspread, as it was also gone.
    Someone who knew us and our plans had hit us within a few hours of when we left.

    Never again have I let unnecessary people know when we were leaving town.


    1. Jacksoneson I’m a Ham radio guy and almost every day I hear guys talking about what radios they have (most of the radios are expensive) and then also talk about going out of town to visit family.

      I’m surprised more Ham radios are not stolen.

      Ham’s have to ID every 10-min, it’s the law.

      And when you id it’s super easy to look up your address as it’s easily found public information. There are even maps that show where a Ham lives.

      I never talk about going out of town. I do talk about the alarm I have so people know the house is protected while I’m working.

      A Ham radio repeater can be listened to for 50 miles in every direction, it’s foolish to get on and talk about going out of town for a weekend…

      1. Chuck Findlay…– not so much now, but a few yrs back, almost every cashier would try to engage customers (where I live) in severely chatty (intrusive) conversation such as “Hi, what are you doing this weekend?”/”Hi, are you taking a trip?”/”Hi, etc”……………..I was never sure if they were fishing for info on who was going to be “gone”, or it was some technique the managers told them to do to “be friendly”. I never bit. Would always answer something bland, like “laundry”.

  14. I know someone that is a professional photographer in the LA area and it’s not all that uncommon to have break-ins where a lot of expensive professional camera stuff gets stolen.

    What he does is to have decoy cameras that are junk but look like they are worth a lot. He keeps enough of the junk stuff somewhat hidden, but not hidden all that well that the bad guys can get arms full of it thinking they are making a big haul and not making any effort to look beyond the easily found things.

    The bad guys take the decoy items while his good stuff is hidden away, I’m sure this would work for other things besides cameras…

  15. My neighbourhood is a good one but has a ton of drug dealing and home burglaries. I feel safer in a condo apartment with mostly retired neighbours and a live in superintendent accountable to the board. We notice things, we gossip, news travels fast, we videotape all visitors to the premises. I call our condo a fortress or an oasis in a hostile world. It is great when retired persons sit on their balconies observing the front entrance. As a woman I do not go to or use my parking spot or my locker as they are in remote isolated parts of the building. I do not drive. I lock my patio door when not home and at night and do not live on the ground floor. Our building does not look into the living rooms of others so nobody can monitor people’s movements in our units. I take taxis home from work as I work in an industrial area. My transportation costs are cheaper than running a car and I will retire in a few years.

    1. Old Lady…you sound very well organised. I wonder if you are allowed to rent your parking spot out, since you don’t use it? Could offset your taxi costs. Have heard of many like you who don’t use the spots do rent them.

  16. Our safe weighs just under 900 pounds… empty. Two very strong men (my brothers) and I struggled for quite a LONG time to get it into the house.

    We realize that we cannot “secure” everything in a safe, so the “irreplaceable” stuff lives in there. Sure, there are electronics around the house, but the important ones are in the safe unless being used. Although it would be horrible to be burgled, the other stuff is replaceable.

    We have 6 dogs, 5 of which are 3 years old or younger. Those 5? A female Sable German Shepherd, and a male German Shepherd/Mastiff mix- those two had puppies and we kept three of them. They’re all inside dogs (the hair shedding is incredible).

    We don’t “people” them. They don’t like it when the postal carrier has to place a package near the door, and they let us know when the electric meter reader is around. They also let us know every time they hear a cricket fart out in the yard- which can be frustrating but we always praise them anyway.

    Word has gotten around via our neighbors (who we get along well with) and the few service people that have had to come here that we have allot of big dogs that don’t like people coming on our property. That helps. My neighbors also know if they see a vehicle in our driveway and it’s not one of ours, call us. If they can’t reach us, call the Sheriff. We do the same for them.

    As far as a decoy safe, we don’t have one yet. Can’t hide the big safe, so I don’t know if having a small decoy lock box setting around would make much of a difference. There are a few attractive looking things out in the open that don’t work ;) I wish there was a way to boobytrap them with some kind of locater that would draw law enforcement to their location if they were ever taken outside of the house or unplugged.

    1. Somebody needs to create a “locator” app with a home base. If the home base is out of range the device starts shrieking “Stolen! Stolen! I’ve been stolen! Help! Help me! Please help me! I’ve been stolen!” at decibel levels to shatter eardrums.

  17. Yep,
    1200# empty, 4, epoxied 1-1/4″ running thread 12″ deep into the perimeter footing of the house slab, with a 4″ square plate as a washer inside, safe is 1/4″ hard plate, i dont think its going anywhere, they can try, but im pretty sure that motion sensor and pepper bomb will make it tough to even be in the room, better be in a full suit because that stuff coats everything, dont ask how i know

  18. Has anyone thought to create a “honeypot” for the thieves? What I’m referential is fake jewelry and other fake valuables that are easy enough to find and satisfy the burglar. I even found fake cash (for movies) and one can just put a real bill on top to make it seem like a stack of $100s or $20s. Leave a fake Rolex and wedding ring in your bedroom right in the open.

    In IT we setup a fake network called a honeypot to bait hackers to have them think they got into the real network… then we watch and catch…

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