Keeping your babies safe!?!?

Dec 6, 1998
NO..not your kids, your knives!!
I need some ideas on what to do to keep my rapidly growing collection safe. My grandpa also collects (or did) knives, and is a life long member of the NRA..his house was broken into and 13 knives and even more guns were stolen...the guns were locked up...but apparently not well enough. what can i do to not make the same mistake?
Help me brethren

"I wouldn't mind you being inside my head if you weren't clearly so crazy."
I lost my knife collection,my guns,and my coins to burglers a couple of months ago.I now have a good safe and a alarm system.
The persons who did this had to be someone who had been in my house at some place in time.Knew where everything was and there was no evidence ofgoing through drawers ect.
My insurance took care of the knives,but the guns andcoins were a wash.I now have replaced a lot of them [the knives] but some are gone forever.[Pardue Button Locks,Randalls,Loveless ect.
A good safe bolted to the floor,an alarm and don't tell a lot of people about your business.


have a"knife"day
A couple of good dogs is your best bet as far as I'm concerned. They don't have to be big, just loud enough to sound mean. Good locks on the doors and windows next. An alarm company (if you want to pay the monthly fees) and a good, built in, safe that they can't take with 'em.
We take the dogs with us on vacations. Just invested in a gunsafe (bolted to the slab) expensive, butt so are the toys. And a floor safe (more fire resistant, butt not watertight) concreted into the slab for papers, valuables and the year 2K ready cash.

We put the gunsafe inside a closet and don't talk about it or display it to friends or relatives. (especially ex-wives)

Of course a home invasion robbbery might get you forced to open the gunsafe butt they are not likely to find the floorsafe if the location is carefully selected.

Cleverly Disguised As A Responsible Adult
The average residential burgler, I am told, not that I would know anything about subject personally, at least not about being the AVERAGE residential burgler ;-) anyway, spends less than three minutes in your house. They grab things they see and that they know they can quickly sell. Guns are a favorite and if the thief has an extra minute, he'll check the obvious places (table beside the bed, etc.) This is why you should avoid gun cabinets and display cases.

Usually, when specific special things are stolen, guns, knives, coins, art, etc., it's not your average burgler; it's someone who knew those things were there. This person probably also knows a lot about you, your routines, which car you drive, which lights you leave on, etc.

This means you should keep your collection low-profile. I know you're probably proud of your collections, but you really have got to carefully choose who you show them to and certainly avoid any general publicity. Everyone who knows about my collection knows that all I keep at home are the pictures. The knives are in bank boxes.

Be especially careful of stranges who come into your house: delivery people, repair people, cleaning people, etc. If, for example, a delivery driver sees your collection, he might call a "friend" of his up and say, "Hey, I just saw a great looking collection of guns at 1234 S. 1st St. It's in a cabinet in the front room. Just go in through the front door, and it's on your left." A day or two later, a car appears outside your house. They watch for a day or two to learn your habits. A day or two after that, you come home and find your collection gone. A day or two after that, the driver stops at a different address to make a pickup instead of a delivery -- a little envelope of cash, his share of the take.

I am told that a residential alarm system reduces your chances of being broken into by about 25%. Your insurance company will probably give you a discount for having one.
I am told that most residential burglers enter through an open door or window. They break nothing. So, close and lock your doors and windows.

Burglers don't like lights, so install lights around your house and put them on photo-cells or timers so they're always on after dark.

If you can afford one, a safe is a great idea. But, don't buy a cheap "fire safe" which are often sold at Home Depot, K-Mart, etc. These are really not designed for security. They'll open quickly with a small crowbar. They are designed for fire protection (which is a good thing) and the way they do that is by storing moisture in the lining of the walls. In a fire, that moisture evaporating keeps the contents below the ignition point of paper. The ignition point of paper is quite high, though, and knives can be dammaged by exposure to temperatures well below it. Furthermore, that moisture can cause knives and guns stored in such containers for prolonged times to rust. If you decide to get a safe, get a good, heavy one and have it professionally bolted to the foundation.

When you buy your safe, buy the alarm contact option for the door. It'll cost a little more, but it costs a lot more to put in later. Have your alarm company wire that to a separate alarm circuit called a "holdup circuit." The holdup circuit is armed and disarmed with a separate code. So, when you disarm the rest of the house, the safe is still armed. Before opening the safe, you need to go to the alarm keypad and enter that separate code. There will be no light or indicator on the keypad to tell you that this circuit is armed. If you open the safe without disarming this circuit, the alarm will send a silent signal to the monitoring center. The monitoring center will check their instructions and it will say "Silent Holdup Alarm! Dispatch immediately without verification." They'll call your local police without pausing to verify the alarm with you.

Police are usually lazy about residential alarms (in Nashville, it took 30-40 minutes to get a response to an alarm in my neighborhood, and, here in Sherwood, Oregon, it took 17 just a few months ago). A typical reponse to a residential alarm is to send one officer who will begin with the assumption that the alarm false. A holdup alarm, on the other hand, is a different matter. These get serious response. Of course, setting one off accidentally carries a big fine. But, having one on your safe is perfect. This way, if anyone forces you to open the safe, your compliance with their instructions sounds a serious, silent alarm.

What if they know about the holdup alarm and force you to disarm it? This is one reason why a good alarm system has a "hostage code". Enter this code (use something you'll remember under stress such as the last four digits of your phone number) on your keypad and the regular alarm will disarm normally, the green light will come on, etc. The holdup circuit remains armed, but there's no indicator for it, so your attacker can't tell. As far as he knows, you have complied with his instructions and disarmed the alarm. But, while the alarm may appear to be responding normally, it's sending a silent alarm to the center. When it comes up at the center, it'll say "Silent Hostage Alarm! Dispatch immediately without verification." They'll call the police immediately. The police should treat this alarm seriously since they know it was deliberately sent, not just someone's cat walking in front of the motion sensor.

Not all residential alarms have these extra features. If you decide to get an alarm, you might as well get a serious one. So, shop around and get all the goodies.

Not all monitoring centers are good either. I got really, really mad at mine a couple of months ago when I accidentally tripped the thing (first time in over a year) and the operator who called to verify the alarm corrected me on my password (he hadn't heard me clearly). If he doesn't hear my password correctly, he should say, "Thank you very much Mr. Gollnick. We'll cancel that alarm. Have a nice evening.", and he should dispatch right now. I've deliberately tried them a few times since and they seem to have that problem fixed.

A good alarm center will also register a "hostage password" for you. If you're in a hostage situation and the center calls, you just say, "Everything is ok. I'm perfectly fine. I tripped the stupid alarm accidentally. The passcode is......" and they will say, "Thank you very much. We'll cancel that alarm. Have a nice evening." and they'll dispatch the police to a hostage situation. Meanwhile, your attacker thinks you've done just what you were instructed to do. Again, your hostage password should be something you'll easily remember with gun held to your head.

Of course, all of this breaks down if your attackers have cut the phone wires, which is trivial to do on most houses. So, spring a few more dollars for cellular monitoring.

If you can't have a safe in your house, then you need to rent space in one: bank safe deposit boxes. That's what I do.

Here's another issue you might want to think about: most home owner's and renter's insurance policies have special limits on "collectibles." It's often $5000. That limit will include all "collectibles" in your house, not just your knives.

Firearms are popular theft targets. They're also commonly involved in insurance fraud. As a result, many policies have even lower limits, often $500, on firearms.

You can have both of these limits raised, but you have to pay extra for it. Ask your agent what coverage you have and what you can get extra.

In all cases, insurance companies are likely to be quite critical of claims on collections. So, you need to take care to document your collections carefullly. Photographs are a good idea, or just use your camcorder. Don't forget to store the photos either off-site or in one of those fire-proof boxes.


[This message has been edited by Gollnick (edited 06 July 1999).]
I'm surprised no one has mentioned a FULL size gun safe yet. I mean the kind that weigh about 500 lbs. and stand 6 feet tall. (Fort Knox,Browning,Cannon,etc.)

These are built with quality materials, are very hard to break into, and some are even fire resistant.

Your local burglar would find it way to heavy to move, would have to spend too much time getting it open, and would move on to easier things.

You can even bolt some of them into the floor.

They might set you back around $1000, but if you have a lot of guns and knives, it is well worth it.

Hope this helps.

P.S.- Did I mention that before anyone gets to my safe they have to get past about 300lbs. of very unfriendly dogs?

C.O.'s-"It takes balls to work behind the walls "
Just wanted to give you some advise on alarm systems. Check with some neighbors that have alarm systems and ask them what the response time is. Here where I live the only good an alarm system is, is that the alarm company can phone you at work and tell you your home has been broken into (this way you already know it and don't go home to be surprised), but with the speed of our local police, anybody could enter my home, load up with the goods, cook'em a meal, take a nap, and then casually leave without ever being caught! I live about 2.5 miles from the police station
I think Gwinny told me this, but his Dad did have one of them monster safes, and somebody busted through the front door, hooked up a rope, and drug the safe out of the house, guns and all.

That seriously sucks..

Statistically, an alarm reduces your chances of being broke into by about 25% regardly of where you are or what your local response time is. Statistically, they also reduce the amount of time a thief spends in your house and, thus, the amount of the loss. This is why insurance companies will give you a discount for having one regardless of where you live.

As the one fellow found out, weight is not enough for a safe. It really must be seriously bolted to the foundation.

The fellow who's safe was dragged out of the house was robbed by people who knew what they were after and came prepared. The best security is secrecy.

I agree with all of the above. Get an alarm. It is really not expensive and it is a deterrent even if not a perfect one. If you like dogs and can do so, by all means get one. I don't have one but many of my neighbors do. Visitors sometimes ask if the barking bothers me. I say not a bit, it helps keep BGs away. A big gun safe is the best way to go. If possible and practical (humidity is a big concern) put it in the basement, preferably in a closet and bolt it down. It is most important to keep a low profile. I'm an NRA member and big supporter but there is no way I'd put an NRA decal on my truck for a number of reasons, not the least of which is having some guy cruising by, seeing it and putting two and two together.


who dares, wins