Keeping things safe is high tech the way to go

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AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Jenny Lee Silver

You are in college and you want to find a way to secure your laptop from theft.  At home you have your passport, jewelry, cash, a firearm, or even gold.  You go to the park to play some basketball and need a way to keep your car keys and wallet from disappearing.  

The need to keep things safe has been around forever.   While the types of things we need to protect have changed, that basic need has remained constant.

The first patent for a safe was issued in 1835, but over the years the design of safes has changes very little.  They still contain a box, made from steel, with a door that opens and is controlled by some kind of locking mechanism.  But with the advancements in technology, the options for safes have expanded.  Today safes come in all shapes and sizes and the level of security you pick can be determined by what you want to keep protected.  

Think small:

If you are headed to the beach for the afternoon you probably have very few things with you that you need to keep secure.  

Here’s an option.  Take a look at the Compact Safe – P005CRed by Sentry Safe.

This safe offers a three number combination lock and enough space for your cell phone, car keys and wallet, cash or credit cards.  It also has a metal cable that allows you to lock the safe to something else that is a little more difficult to move or walk away with.  It will not keep a determined thief out of your items.  But it will keep an “Average Joe” from trying to steal the small things that can quickly walk away.  You can find the Compact Safe on Amazon for as little as $17 in various colors.

Hiding your valuables at home:

What do you do with your passport, emergency cash or other small item you have at home?  Here your options span lots of different choices.  I’m a Sentry Safe fan.  Over the years I have used or owned a few different styles of safe and found Sentry to be a quality product with reasonable price point.  If you are looking for something small, secure and well hidden, check out the Sentry Safe Floor Safe 7250.

This round, tube safe can be installed in a wall or in the floor or in concrete.  With a dial lock, cover plate and the ability to hide it, you could keep small valuables locked up with confidence that only you know where to find them.

You can find this Floor Safe for $120 on Amazon.

Important and dangerous things around your home:

Medicines are important to lock up.  Pain medication is a popular item for thieves.  Teens have taken medicine from their parents.  And, if you have small children, you want to keep all medicines up and out of their reach.

Here is where the Sentry Safe X125 can be beneficial.  Depending on the model, this safe can be as large as 10.6 inches x 16.9 inches x 14.8 inches.  It can accommodate most laptops, offers a power cord access point, has a carpeted floor, a removable shelf and has two locking bolts controlled with a keypad.  However, like with all safes, if you don’t lock this one down, it’s not going to do you much good.  A thief could easily walk off with a small safe like this. So be sure to secure any safe you may purchase.

Hotels have used smaller versions of this type of safe and they have been beneficial for their guests.  But one word of caution, some of those odd named, hotel safes have master codes like 0000 or 1234 that will open the safe even if you lock it with your own personal code.  So be sure to check your hotel safe before you lock up your laptop as you go out for the evening.

It’s time to go stealth:

Are you a James Bond type of person?  Do you need a little stealth in the way you secure your valuables?  Want to hide your safe in a place most people won’t think of looking?  You are in luck as there are a couple of great options to make this possible.  

The photo above is the Stack-On PWS-1522 in-wall safe.  This safe mounts between the studs on a normal wall and is nearly completely flush with the drywall.  You do not need to smooth out the rough-cut drywall because the safe will cover it, so installation is quick and simple.  The number pad and the knob are recessed and allow you to hang a picture or something else in front of the safe to hide it from view.  The lower half of this picture shows you how a wall safe would look behind a hinged, painting frame.  Now that’s stealthy, and affordable.  You can pick up this safe for about $100 on Amazon.

Need more security in your home:

Next, let’s go a little more high tech and secure.  Do you need something that can secure your weapons or high dollar items?  A full size safe may be the way to go.  These safes can be mounted to the floor with concrete anchors.  Some of these safes weigh as much as 800 pounds or more.  

To make it even more difficult for people to access a safe like this, there are some important things to look for.  First off, hinges on the inside of the door make it more secure.  You lose a little interior space due to the hinges, but with no hinges on the outside of the door for the bad guy to work on, you are more likely to keep your important things safe.  Fire ratings are important as well.  Safes with a fire rating can offer as little as 30 minutes of protection or as much as 90 minutes.  The Cannon Commander Series 43, shown above, offers 90 minutes of fire protection and a cold smoke expandable seal that expands when exposed to heat to help seal the safe off from smoke and water.  On the Cannon Safe website this safe has a list price of $3,699.  However, they offer other models at various price points.  You can find the Cannon Scout S14 for $749 on the Home Depot website and it offers many of the same features as this top-of-the-line model. 

Additional important things to look for in your safe are the type and thickness of steel it is made from.  The thicker the steel, the more difficult it is to break into the safe.  Look at the bolts that extend from the door.  The longer the bolts are, the more the frame would need to bend to allow the door to be opened.  Digital locks or combination locks are available on most models along with built in shelving and in some cases, a Velcro, adjustable door mounting system as seen here.  Do not forget to check the warranty.  I believe Cannon has the best warranty of all safe manufacturers.  Per their website “A Genuine Cannon Lifetime Warranty Policy will provide hassle free, 100% NO COST repair or replacement after a natural flood, attempted break-in, actual break-in or fire disaster.”

Bring on the technology:

Cannon takes technology one step further.  If you look in the lower, right hand corner, of the Commander Series safe above, you will see an unusual square.  Cannon installed a 110 V, dual outlet, a USB port and an Ethernet jack into their safe.  What does this mean for you?  You could purchase lighting for your safe, which I recommend, but more on that in a moment.  You could add a dehumidifier into the safe in case you live in a damp climate.  Or you could use that outlet to help you protect other very valuable items, the things you have on your computers.

Most people have tons of digital photos, music and movies on their computers but they never think about backing up those files until their computer crashes or is stolen and they loose all those important memories.  Redundancy is key with computer backups.  If you make one backup of your computer, you should make a second and store it somewhere else.  The Ethernet jack in the Cannon safe will let you connect a Network Attached Storage (NAS) drive, also called a personal cloud drive, and then all your files are backed up inside the safe.

You can find some great quality Personal Cloud Storage hard drives from Western Digital.  Just plug in the Ethernet cord to the drive and to the Ethernet jack inside the safe and then connect the back of the safe to your router or switch and you are ready to go.  I personally like the My Book Live Duo from Western Digital because it has a Raid 1 configuration, which allows you to make a backup of your files onto both hard drives in the unit.  This way, if one drive fails you have the second one still working.

Back to lighting:

I mention lighting for two reasons.  First, the safe is dark on the inside.  You can use tap lights, fluorescent lights, LED lights, or just about any other type of lighting you select.  Second, most lighting utilizes a wall outlet and 110V for power.  And thanks to the built-in wall outlet in most Cannon safes, you can put anything you need in the safe from a computer to custom lighting.

If you are looking to really brighten up your safe, I suggest LED lights.  You have lots of options, but one of the best places I’ve purchased LEDs from is  You can find just about anything you want at Oznium, the prices are great and the quality is even better.  I’ve purchased a number of items from them and with my last order, the postal service beat up the packaging a lot.  I used the online form, told them what did not work and the next day I had a message saying they had shipped replacement parts no questions asked.  The employees at Oznium are 100% customer focused and it shows.

All their lights run on 12-volt power, so you will need a power adapter to plug into your 110V in-safe wall outlet.  Simply connect the lights and you are finished.  They even offer an IR Proximity Sensor Switch that will turn the LED lights on in your safe when you open the door and off when you close the door.

So what level of safe do you need:

Regardless of what valuable item you are trying to keep secure, you probably could benefit from one of these types of safes.  Just remember some key things.  You do not have much security if you do not bolt down the safe. Keep your medications out of reach of children.  If you have weapons in the home, be sure to keep them secure and treat every weapon as if it is loaded.  Think about what you want to secure and then plan on a safe that is larger than your needs.  The odds are, once you buy your safe, you will find out you need a bigger one because of the items you begin to lock up.  Planning is the key.  Check the dimensions of the safe you wish to buy and ensure it will fit in the desired space.  And finally, if you want to keep cash, gold, precious stones, or other similar things safe, you probably should consider a safe deposit box at your bank.  There is a yearly fee for the safe deposit box, but you select who is able to access the vault and then you need your key and the bank’s key to access your valuables.  Now that’s secure.  


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