In the 20 plus years I worked as a cop for a large metro police department, I wrote and approved hundreds of burglary reports. Time after time, burglaries have been shown to be crimes of opportunity. The burglar generally prefers unoccupied homes, unlocked doors, or homes that simply provide easy entry points. Once inside, the burglar searches each room–putting the small valuables in his pocket and piling larger items by the door or another point of exit he plans to leave through. The criminal’s objective is to grab anything in sight of value and leave as quickly as possible. Jewelry found in a nice wooden jewelry box kept on top of the dresser in the master bedroom, goodies hidden under the mattress, or guns in the bedside table or master closet are easily found and generally always taken. Keeping your valuables in plain sight in your home will only make it easier for the criminal.

It has been estimated that 87% of all burglaries go unsolved­—which means there is a “slim to none” chance that you will get your valuables back. So what can you do to protect your castle and keep your valuables safe? Obviously defend your home from intrusion by making it harder for the criminal to get in. But what can you do to minimize your losses in the unfortunate event that someone does enter your home?

We know a burglar has a limited amount of time to find the valuables in your home. Their goal is to steal as much as possible and get out without getting caught. The criminal is looking for anything of value in plain sight. This is where “Hidey Holes,” inconspicuous hiding places, come into play. If the burglar can’t find your hiding places, you stand a better chance of keeping your valuables.

Hidey Holes can be small places, like a hollowed out book or a space behind the wall or floor to conceal a handgun or jewelry.

There are a plethora of ideas on everything, from buying or building your own hidey holes to having someone build them for you. You can go online and find different companies and ideas to build your hidden areas. You want to make it as hard as possible for a burglar to find your valuables. A great place to hide small items is a shadow-box style picture frame or clock that provides extra space.

You can also hide valuables behind heating and cooling vents. You can get a little more creative by using a full-length wall mirror, hinged on one side, which makes a great place to store longer items like shotguns and rifles.Of course the larger the space needed in which to hide things, the more creative you will have to get in carving out an area that remains undetected.

The first home I bought had a large opening in the basement under the front porch. I built a nice sized room for guns and valuables in this space, hiding it by using some ¾ inch plywood. I paneled the room with ¾ inch plywood and used a piano hinge on the door. A shelf was placed at the right height to conceal the top of the door opening. I simply placed a bookshelf with wheels in front to conceal the door, and had my first “Hidey Hole.”

If you have enough room, it’s always a good idea to have some type of locking devices or an additional safe within your secret space, so that in the event the hidden area is found, you will have extra protection. Another idea is creating a hidden space behind bookshelves. You can either create a partial hiding spot by just making space behind one shelf with a false wall or use books in front to conceal, or the entire bookshelf can act as cover to a larger space behind. The bookshelf or hidden compartment can be mounted on rollers and slide out to gain access to a large space behind.

Another basement idea is to enclose a section of crawlspace and cover the space with a picture, boxes, or left over building materials. If more room is needed, you can go full-tilt and section off a portion of your basement, that has no outside entry, and install dry wall and steel doors to secure your possessions. This entrance can be camouflaged with a false wall of plywood with a piano hinged door. A shelf can be installed above the door to conceal the crack at the top of the door.

If you have a need for quick access to a hidden gun you can always place a hinged hidden compartment up under a bench or shelf. It is important to note that you must build these spaces well, for a sloppy job will be detected.

No one likes to think of the possibility of getting burglarized. The best way to prepare yourself is to start securing your home this very moment! Walk your property front to back, noting problem areas and resolutions needed. Then, step inside your front door and decide what needs to be put out of sight, locked up, or hidden. It’s a shame we are faced with hiding our hard-earned possessions within our very own homes, but “Hidey Holes” can help keep your guns and valuables safe. They are easy to create and are only limited by your imagination and your budget.

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