Tradecraft: Diversion Safes

(TFC) – Diversion safes aren’t really “safes” most of the time. They typically don’t lock. The appearance of the item stops people from believing it would contain anything of value. Most people have seen the soda can that has a bottom that unscrews to reveal a hidden compartment. That is a diversion safe, and they become much more advanced.

Diversion safes require two things. They must be something nobody will take due to its value or the desire to use it, which is why the soda and beer cans with the false bottoms are a bad idea. They must also be camouflaged and appear natural. If it is out of place, someone will notice it and investigate it.

Building your own: Perhaps fabricating your own diversion safe to match your surroundings is best. You’re only limited by your imagination. You need to determine the size of the item or items you wish to hide and then think about the items in your home. Old paint cans in the garage, shampoo bottles in the shower, and so on make great safes. If you’re looking to conceal a large item or a lot of small items, you could camouflage a PVC pipe to appear as if it is part of the water heater in your home and fill it with your valuables. Another possibility is to make the safe out of something nobody wants to touch, like the plastic holder for your toilet bowl brush.


Commercially produced safes: There are more on the market than you can probably imagine. However, many are known to those who would be looking for your valuables. This is where camouflage really matters. If you purchase a commercially produced paint can for example, it may not have the same labeling as your other cans and it stands out. You can mitigate this by splashing some paint on the outside of the can and leaving it in the sun to fade the labeling.  Any commercially produced safes need to be camouflaged better than one that already appears natural.

Here’s a link to commercially produced safes for inspiration to make your own or purchase. 

If you’re looking to conceal items for a long period of time, read TFC’s article on caches.