Home Defense Tip: Keep Your Keys Inside the House

“Longview (WA) police said the woman heard a man later identified as Joshua Robert Pratt, 25, of Longview opening the front door of her home in the 1800 block of Larch Street just before midnight Sunday. According to police, she grabbed her husband’s 9mm handgun and confronted the burglar, who was slowly opening the door and creeping into the house when he spotted the woman with the gun.”

That was enough to cause an immediate about face, tdn.com reports.

“The woman’s husband then took the gun and pointed it at the man, who begged, ‘Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!’ police said,” before tearing off into the night. How did Josh open the door? Is he an expert lock picker? Not exactly. “The couple noticed the key they usually hide outside was stuck in the door’s lock.” Oops.

It didn’t take long for the local 5-0 to track Pratt down, who’s been checked into the graybar hotel. Maybe that under-the-mat hiding place needs a re-think.


  1. avatar jwm says:

    That qualifies as a DGU. Thankfully she heard the door being opened. I would have thought by now that people would have smartened up about hiding keys outside.

    The really scarey part is that this dude was coming in at mid night. He had to assume, if he didn’t know for sure, that there were people in the house. Maybe a budding Ramirez or Bundy?

  2. avatar Aharon says:

    I think it is fine to leave a key outside the home. Placing a key under the front door mat is so Hollywood and not a place I would ever hide it. I also would not be obvious about a key in my hand when I do hide it somewhere. Duh.

  3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    We have a large yard and keep a spare key somewhere in the yard — away from our home. No one will ever find it out there unless they watch us retrieve it.

    Another alternative: keep a spare key at a trusted neighbor’s home.

  4. avatar speedracer5050 says:

    I keep a spare key at my neighbors and in my car. If my car got stolen it would take them a long time to find it tho’!!!!
    A lot longer than it would take me to replace all the locks.

  5. avatar JLR says:

    I use one of these:

    It’s attached out of sight to something sturdy. Even if someone found it and realized that it wasn’t just a regular padlock, it’s nearly impossible to break into without knowing the combination.

    This is a lot better solution in my opinion than hiding a key under a rock.

  6. avatar JPD says:

    I just read an article on some really great ideas on hiding keys outdoors. Easy to do and hard for the bad guys to find.

    Here is the link: http://lifehacker.com/5955569/build-a-hidden-outdoor-pvc-key-holder

  7. avatar JPD says:

    This is a great idea!!! All of us need target practice. Tonight, leave the key in the front door. Load your favorite defense firearm. Sit in favorite chair facing door. 7 yards from the door. Bad guy enters, BAM!! Clean up mess. Reload, wait patiently……BAM!!

    Look at the upsides. Better than ground hog hunting. Keeps you in practice. Saves money, your local government will not spend any on food and housing for bad guy. Creates more fertilizer. Stimulates the economy by new purchases of bullets, and body bags.

    Have I forgot anything??

    1. avatar JoshinGA says:

      “Have I forgot anything?”

      Uh yeah, your sanity.

      1. avatar speedracer5050 says:

        What??? Have you not been reading the troll posts?? We firearms owners are insane, according to them, for wanting to own guns and defend ourselves and our families so……insanity is the plea bargain bargain of 2012!!!!

      2. avatar JPD says:

        JoshinGA, sadly, you are right. After this election, my brain is fried. So, I came here to restore my sanity. Happily, most of you are as deranged as I am. So I am in good company.

    2. avatar speedracer5050 says:

      Yes you did!!! You forgot the entertainment factor of inviting the neighbors over for beer, steak and the Neighborhood Betting Pool!!! $5 per square x 50 squares. Whoever guesses closest to the number of shots fired from Sun morn till Sat night wins the pool. Use different neighbors home the following week!! Rinse and repeat!
      Pretty soon there will be a marked decrease in the number of thugs available, and that would be a good thing!!!!

      1. avatar JPD says:

        Thank you Speedracer. I totally forgot the fun factor and not leaving my good neighbors with nothing to do.

        I will include your suggestions in our new activities.

        1. avatar speedracer5050 says:

          You are quite welcome Sir!! Please remember that we assume no liability nor any responsibility in regards to any negative outcome pursuant to any participant who happens to be a poor bettor or a sore loser!!!
          Enjoy, rinse and repeat as necessary or needed.

  8. avatar AlphaGeek says:

    Hiding a key isn’t secure practice, it’s denying reality. In my business we call that “security through obscurity” and laugh derisively when we say it.

    There’s a Simplex-lock cast-steel key box securely fastened to the frame of our back door with 3-inch lag bolts. I’m not a huge fan of Simplex locks (too few combinations, typically) but in this case it’s (1) in the view of a motion-detecting security camera that sends an alert to my phone if it sees anything and (2) will slow down any bad guy trying a combination-guessing compromise long enough for the dogs to notice him and start barking.

  9. avatar Matt in FL says:

    When I was growing up, my next-door neighbor kept a spare key hanging from a finishing nail, flush against the trunk of a queen palm tree in his front yard, about 7.5 feet up, on the side facing away from the street. The brass had weathered to match the color of the tree, and even if you knew where it was, it was hard to spot from 10 feet away. I always thought that was a pretty cunning system.

    I live in an apartment complex, and I have a key hanging on one of the trees in here. It’s not within sight of my apartment, and there’s at least a couple buildings between it and me, but it’s there in case of emergency. I hung it on the tree about 3 o’clock in the morning, not long after I moved in, while I was walking my dog. Almost five years later, it’s never moved, and thankfully, I’ve never needed it.

  10. avatar Don says:

    Digital locks with key pads are getting pretty cheap these days. I got one at home depot. its keyed to match the rest of the house and I’ve never had a problem with it.

  11. avatar Sid says:

    We keep our spare key in a magnetic holder in the back of the mailbox….wait… Can other people read this comment on the interwebby thing?….. We used to keep our spare key in a magnetic holder in the back of the mailbox. Now, it is safely hidden in a place that only I know. Besides, who would suspect that the rock setting in the middle of my only flowerbed is fake?

  12. avatar Ralph says:

    RF has my spare keys, so if my home is ever burglarized and there’s no sign of forced entry, I’ll know who did it. Then again, I don’t have any Glocks or Caracals in my safe, so he probably isn’t interested in knocking over Chez Ralph.

  13. avatar Scott D. says:

    We were dispatched to a residential fire alarm in our district. Upon arrival we were notified the homeowner would take more than an hour to get there before we could secure the alarm. Our Captain looked at the police officer who was on scene and asked if we could gain entry so we didn’t have to tie up units for over an hour. After getting permission to enter, the Captain told us to look under all of the door mats, rocks, and planters on the front step. It took us less than 30 seconds to find the spare key.

  14. avatar Mark says:

    I hide my keys in my pocket. No one ever looks in there.

  15. avatar GS650G says:

    He’s lucky to be taking a breath.

  16. avatar SpkSnppr says:

    How about a fake spare key with an alarm. Silent or louder than hell, your choice. To let the owner know that someone is up to no good at your front door.

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