If you own a house, you or a member of your family will most likely forget or misplace a key and get locked out at some point in time. You might need to have a relative or a friend stop by and enter your house for some reason. For instance, you might need someone to walk your dog if you have to work late unexpectedly. Hiding a key outside your house might seem like a simple and obvious solution, but it can actually put your home, your belongings and your family at risk.

Why Hiding a Key outside Your House Is Dangerous
Homeowners tend to conceal spare keys in a handful of common locations, such as under the doormat or under a potted plant. Burglars check those areas first since they’re some of the most predictable hiding places. A thief who finds a key will be able to easily enter your house and take off with valuables while the property is unoccupied. Someone who has an axe to grind with you or a member of your family might vandalize your home.

If a criminal uses a spare key to enter your house, believing that it’s unoccupied, but someone is actually there, your loved one can be in serious danger. An intruder who encounters a member of your family might react violently.

What You Can Do Instead
Rather than leave a spare key outside your house where someone might find it and use it to enter without permission, you can give a key to someone you trust who lives nearby, such as a neighbor, relative or friend. If a family member gets locked out, that person can call the individual who has the spare key and retrieve it. That will take longer than simply pulling a key out from under the doormat, but it’s a safer option.

If your house doesn’t already have a security system, you might want to consider installing one. That will allow your relatives, friends, and others who have permission to enter your house using a PIN or a cellphone app, rather than a key.

Another option is to invest in a lockbox that you can leave somewhere outside your house and place a spare key inside. A combination will be required to open the box and remove the key. You will be able to provide the combination to a trusted group of people, such as family members and close friends.

Don’t Put Your Home and Family at Risk
Hiding a key outside the house is a common practice, but many homeowners don’t realize just how risky it is. Look for another way to give people you trust access to your house without putting your home and your loved ones in danger.

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