Advanced Key Management: 6 Terrible Car Key Hiding Spots

Regular Eyewitness Surveillance readers will recognize recent stories about teenagers “car hopping” — testing cars to see if they’re unlocked, then looting vulnerable vehicles — that have caught the national spotlight in recent weeks. From minors in New Mexico stealing a gun from a sheriff’s unlocked car, to teens in Tampa Bay joyriding in stolen vehicles (whose keys were hidden in supposedly “safe” locations), bad key management directly corresponds with an increase in car-related crimes.

However, these crimes are easily averted — if you avoid bad key hiding spots and storage solutions.

Well-Known Car Key Hiding Spots

Far and away the most common car thefts of late involve car owners “hiding” their keys inside their car. However, most car thieves know the most common hiding spots for keys. These include:

  1. Glove compartments
  2. Center consoles
  3. Door pocket/drink holder
  4. Change tray

A former car thief also says that many car owners don’t realize that their valet keys — keys that open the driver’s side door and start the engine, but don’t unlock the glove box or trunk — are often still in their cars. So, double check owner’s manuals and your car’s tool kit to avoid giving thieves an inadvertent edge.

Three Better Car Key “Hiding Spots”

Honestly, there’s not a “good” hiding spot when it comes to temporarily storing keys within an unlocked car. Even leaving your car unlocked while pumping gas is an opportunity for a fleet-footed felon to steal your vehicle’s valuables.

Therefore, don’t leave your car running whenever you’re not in it. (This means a colder car for those of us in colder climates, of course. However, it also means you still have a car to drive when you’re ready to leave.)

Always keep your keys on your person, whether that’s in a (front) pocket or a purse. Don’t ever leave your keys in an unlocked vehicle, even if you think it’s a “nice” neighborhood.

“Trap” Your Keys

If you’ve got a few thousand dollars to spare, consider installing a “trap” — or secret compartment — inside your car. The wealthy use them to secure valuables and cash within their vehicles; the criminal element uses them to transport drugs and other illegal substances.

Traps are perfectly legal — so long as you use them for legal purposes, and you’re following local laws governing the use of secret compartments. (Ask installer Alfred Anaya, who installed a trap for the wrong customer and now cools his heels in California prisons for the next 20 years without the possibility of parole.)

Traditional key management requires knowing where every copy of a key is, at all times. It also means keeping spare keys out of reach from both casual “car hoppers” and any other criminal. Using some common sense — or shelling out thousands for a custom hiding spot — helps create a practical key management system, at home and in the office.

If you’re looking for a modern solution for commercial key management that doesn’t involve fake rocks holding spare keys to your business, then we would like to suggest our keyless access control system. You’d be able to adjust permissions on an individual keyholder basis from wherever you happen to be — and with our double-authentication service, you wouldn’t have to worry about a stranger using a key they “found” on the street.


Originally published at Eyewitness Surveillance.

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