A safe is an excellent way of securing legal documents, firearms, jewelry, and other sensitive or valuable possessions. However, if a safe is not bolted to your home in some way, it can be vulnerable to theft. Unfortunately, bolting a safe to the floor is not an option for every homeowner or tenant, so it’s important to explore alternatives to keep your property safe from burglars.
Whatever security measure you choose has to cost the thief time and energy, allowing you to contact the authorities.
Why Own a Safe?
If you have valuables, such as precious gems, cash, or legal documents, a safe is one of the most common security measures for protecting them. If you own firearms, a safe can prevent theft and unauthorized access by family members and children, which can avoid deadly mishaps and supplying weapons to criminals.
However, even the most sophisticated electronic and biometric locking systems won’t stop burglars from stealing the safe if it is lightweight enough to transport. That’s why you need to think of how to secure a safe without bolting it to the floor if you live in an apartment or other home where you cannot put a bolt in the floor.
What a Burglar Looks For
Burglars are usually just interested in stealing whatever is valuable and accessible. They don’t want to spend time trying to break into a safe to access what’s inside. For a burglar, time is everything. Entry and exit must be as fast as possible to minimize the risk of discovery and capture. As a result, if the intruder can try to open your safe in a secure, quiet, secluded location, they will.
Bolting to a Steel Plate
If they can, many burglars strive to steal the entire safe to work on without having to worry about time or noise. They’re also better positioned to use more powerful tools that require fuel or an external power source, such as drills, welding torches, or thermal lances. If you can’t bolt your safe to the floor, you’ll have to rely on weight to deter burglars.
While the safe itself can be heavy, this shouldn’t be your only option. A solid steel plate can add so much weight to an already heavy safe that moving it becomes impractical. Even if the weight doesn’t stop thieves from moving the safe, if the plate or pallet you attach the safe to is wider than your door frame, it will be impossible to remove it from your home.
Bolting Two Safes Together
If you can afford to purchase more than one safe, you can always bolt them together. This takes weight as a security measure to the next level, creating an immovable mass that’s bulkier and more unwieldy. It also increases the storage capacity available to you.
Other Ways of Adding Weight
Another option is to fill the bottom of the safe, or any spare compartments, with steel or lead weights, machine or automotive parts, heavy castings, or sandbags—anything to increase the weight.
If you’re concerned about metal parts rusting the safe, you can add desiccants or dehumidifiers to absorb moisture. If you use your safe to store valuables made from metal, such as firearms and ammunition, you should consider doing this anyway to protect them against corrosion.
Bolting to a Wall
The floor is not the only surface to which you can bolt a safe. If you have walls that can accommodate this, bolting your safe to a wall means that a burglar will have to potentially strip out wall fixtures to take it with him. The amount of noise and damage this causes and the time it takes are rarely worth it and expose the perpetrator to increased risk of discovery.
You should make sure that you’re bolting your safe to wall studs, however. Plywood and drywall don’t offer sufficient strength to be effective.
Gluing the Safe to the Floor
If you’re thinking of how to secure a safe without bolting it to the floor, this is one of the least conventional methods — but it works surprisingly well. Some industrial-strength glues and epoxies can ensure your safe remains firmly adhered to any surface, including the floor.
However, this method can damage the floor, so make sure you have permission from the property owner or own the property yourself before attempting this. Without a powerful adhesive solvent, which a burglar is not likely to possess, trying to break the safe free will take too long.
If neither bolting the safe nor weighing it down is viable, you can also consider hiding it. This may require some finesse on your part, especially if you wish to camouflage it by hiding it inside furniture. Otherwise, you can consider hiding it under the floorboards or in a secret compartment, such as a wall cavity behind a bookshelf.
It’s important to remember that this may require hiring a professional and is only applicable to wooden floorboards. If you don’t have a hardwood floor, you’ll have to choose another option. For those who have wooden flooring and are confident that they can manage the job themselves, you’ll need power tools and a pry bar.
If you manage to cut through the floorboards to hide your safe, make sure you disguise the cuts. You may also decide to cover this area with a rug or section of carpet.
Keep Your Valuables Secure With a Safe
Protecting your valuables and documents from theft is crucial to avoid financial strain and prevent identity theft and fraud. A safe is the strongest and most reliable way to safeguard your assets in your home. However, it is important to remember that no security measure or system is foolproof. Using a combination of home security devices such as surveillance cameras, motion detectors, and a home safe can increase the safety of your valuable items.
Every security technique serves one essential purpose: it buys time. Every second spent searching for valuables or attempting to steal a safe is another second for a thief to be discovered or the authorities to arrive.