Picture the scene: you’ve just come home and all you want to do is get indoors and relax. You put your hand in your pocket to take out your door keys — only to discover that you don’t have them. You search every pocket, your coat, the glove compartment… to no avail. You’re locked out, facing a frustrating wait for the locksmith (and a hefty bill).
If only you could stash a key near your home, ready to get you out of trouble if you leave your keys behind. The days when it was smart or safe to leave a key behind a plant pot or under the mat are long gone — try it now and you’ll probably be saying “WELCOME” to your friendly neighbourhood burglar.
External Key Safes
An external key safe could be the answer. This is a locking container that you place outside a dwelling or business, in which you can keep one or more keys. External key safes range from small boxes for a single key to larger cases that can store a range of keys and other useful emergency items. You can find everything from a small caddy disguised as garden ornament to a large combination safe that can be mounted on an exterior wall.
Disguised and Concealed Safes
The location you choose for an external key safe will depend on a number of factors. If you’re simply using the safe to house a spare key in case you or a family member should find themselves locked out, it may be best to choose a concealed safe and place it in a discreet location, since this is more secure and it will be easy to make everyone in the household aware of its location.
For this purpose, you could look for a disguised key safe. These are often made to resemble natural rocks or lawn ornaments such as gnomes or statuettes. Don’t rely on the “disguise” to fool criminals, however. Thieves are all to adept at seeing through these. Choose a model with a reliable lock, one that can stand up to repeated blows with a heavy object such as a sledgehammer; place it in a discreet location where observers are unlikely to notice it in passing and won’t see you removing or replacing the key.
It may be that the key is to be made available to people who aren’t members of your household. In this case, it may be better to choose a more visible key safe and a more obvious location. For example, you may be renting the property to temporary residents, who will need to find the key safe easily. Another scenario where an external key safe should be mounted in plain sight would be if an elderly or disabled person is living alone in the dwelling and the key is there for the use of emergency services personnel or nursing staff. To compensate for the reduced security of a more visible location, the safe should be particularly sturdy; ideally, it should be well-secured to an exterior wall or other non-moveable object.