While it can be tempting to leave your key under the doormat or nestled in a surreptitiously-placed ceramic frog, these classic hiding spots are well known to savvy intruders and burglars.
The more keys you have floating around, the easier it is for someone to break in — especially in New York City, where apartment turnover is high and locks aren’t always changed after each new tenant. These secure spare key spots will ensure that you, and only you, have access to your emergency entry plan.
There are many different kinds of lockboxes, but the safest ones require you to enter a numeric passcode to gain access to the box (and your spare key). You can buy lockboxes that mount to your wall or door, or hang on the doorknob. They typically run around $20, making this a secure and highly affordable option.
This is an ideal solution if you routinely need to give strangers access to your home. As long as you change the code for one-time visitors (like Airbnb-ers), a lockbox is a great storage solution.
If you’re wary of leaving a lockbox out in the open for everyone to see, try keeping it inside your car. Just make sure you lock your car doors and keep the lockbox out of sight, in the glove compartment or under the passenger seat. You can also get a safe for your car and store any important items you need — insurance papers, your spare key, or even some extra cash, provided you leave your car in a secure environment.
If you have a locked mailbox that is only accessible to the delivery person, this makes a convenient and secure place to store a spare key. You can even put a small pouch on the side of the mailbox to hold your key and keep it from getting mixed up in the daily shuffle of mail delivery.
If you live in a house with an unlocked mailbox that abuts the street, however, this will be the first place (well, second — after the fake potted plant) that a would-be burglar will look, so we don’t recommend leaving your spare key there.
Keep a spare key in a secure location at work, such as a personal (locked!) drawer or cabinet. While this can be a bit of a hassle in the event that you get locked out, it greatly minimizes the possibility of a break-in.
Yes, this is a thing. Storing your spare key in a fake sprinkler cannister really works! It’s more realistic looking than a plastic rock or ceramic animal, and it blends right in. The fake sprinkler is about the size of a film cannister, and opens up to fit your key inside. Just stick it in the grass next to the rest of your sprinklers, and you’re good to go.