Today, safes are built in all sizes and dimensions. They make safes that are small enough to easily pick up and carry away, which makes you wonder how to protect the portable safe from being stolen. GPS is a great way to locate things, but do safes have GPS built into them?
You would be hard pressed to find a portable safe that has GPS embedded within the safe itself. The monthly fees involved, the week GPS signal, and the lack of power to sustain a battery for the GPS unit, prevent GPS as being a practical solution.
We are going to discuss the problems associated with using GPS trackers with safes, and then offer 3 solutions to ensuring that your safe is secure, where GPS is not even needed.
The Problem With Using GPS
There are several things to consider in using GPS to track a safe. To begin, it is going to be hard to find a GPS enabled safe, (where GPS is built into the safe itself). There are several reasons for that, which we get to in a minute, but the three biggest reasons why safes are not commonly equipped with built-in GPS is due to the week GPS signal, the monthly cost involved and the lack of sustainable power to the GPS unit.
Strength of GPS Signal
Because it is hard to find a safe that has built-in GPS, (regardless of the size of the safe), people have tried to find creative ways to place a “GPS tracker” either on the safe itself, or inside the safe. A GPS tracker is a small device that is tracked using a cellular signal. If it is placed on the safe, (anywhere on it), once the thief saw the GPS tracker, (and they will be looking for it), the thief would easily remove it from the exterior of the safe as soon as he saw it. If the GPS tracker is locked inside the safe, the 3G cellular signal that it emanates from it may not be strong enough to make it through the 2 inch thick steel box that it sits within.
GPS trackers can also be finicky because ideally, they should have a clear view of the sky to ensure that it picks up and maintains the satellite signal. Obviously, this is not always attainable, given that you need to keep the GPS tracker hidden from view.
If placed in a safe, which is probably encased in steal, the signal will be week at best, if possible at all. As a result, the accuracy of the signal is going to be very inaccurate.
How can you tell if a GPS tracker will work in your safe? Enable 3G on your phone, (disable LTE or 4G if possible), and place your phone in the same with it locked up tight. Have a friend call your phone. If it rings, there is a possibility that a GPS tracker just might work if placed inside your safe. If it does not ring, or if your friend says that it went straight to voicemail, then a GPS tracker is not going to work for you.
GPS trackers do have their place, but I do not think that they would work well inside of an enclosed safe, given the lack of a signal that you can depend on. GPS trackers work best when attached to a car for example, or perhaps in the pocket of a child’s backpack.
If a GPS tracker will work within your safe, understand that there are monthly fees that you will have to pay in order to maintain the cellular service of the GPS tracker. This fee can range anywhere between $5 – $10 per month. Trackimo, a company that offers GPS trackers, charges upwards of $200 for the GPS tracker itself, and then $5.00 a month for the cellular plan.
The reason that GPS is not built into safes, is because people do not want to pay the monthly fees associated with GPS. Think of it as adding a line to your current cell phone plan, but in this case, you are paying fees for something you hope never happens, the theft of your safe. In fact, would be paying fees in the event that your safe just happened to get stolen.
Battery life is a major issue here, as GPS trackers do run on batteries. For example, the Trackimo devices have a battery life expectancy of 2 to 3 days, and they take about 5 to 8 hours to charge as well. Yes, you read that right. They do, however, automatically notify you via e-mail once the battery indicates a “low battery alert”. Keep in mind that you will have to pay monthly fees for the service even if you forget to replace the batteries let the battery die on the GPS tracker.
Another thing to consider regarding battery life is that if the GPS tracker is constantly trying to obtain a signal, (from within the safe), the battery within the GPS tracker will drain much quicker than it would if it had a direct line of site to the satellite.
I’m not a pessimist at all, on the contrary, I truly do have a positive outlook on life and look for the positive aspects in things, especially in people. But I must ask you this question: Are you really going to charge the battery of the GPS tracker every 2 to 3 days overnight?
Will A Geo-fence Around Your Property Work?
If you keep your portable safe at home, or at work if you are the business owner, you may want to consider geofencing, though admittedly, it will only notify you that your safe has been stolen. To be clear, setting up a Geo-fence will not track the safe.
Geofencing only notifies you that your safe has been stolen.
Geofencing is where you create a virtual fence around your property using an app on your cell phone. You will then need to stick an RFID chip to the bottom (or inconspicuous place), on the safe itself. If the safe is moved outside the perimeter of the virtual fence that you have created, you will be notified via text on your cell phone that your safe has just been moved outside of the virtual fence you had created.
This is the same technology used in every major clothing store in the United States. In a clothing store, the RFID tag will trigger an alarm unless it is first removed by the cashier when purchasing the item. If the items of clothing is stolen, the RFID tag will trigger an alarm, notifying security that the item has been stolen.
The problem, however, is that it will only notify you that the safe has left your virtual perimeter. It will not track it or be able to locate it once it has left of the geo-fence perimeter that you had set up.
After talking this through, you may be left asking yourself, “Is there another solution?”
There is a solution, but it’s very, very expensive. You could contact a company like, 3SI Security Systems. This company literally places trackers inside ATM machines in the event that the ATM machine is stolen out of your local 7-11. Based on the original question, “Do safes have GPS?”, this is probably way beyond what you were looking for.
At this point, you may need to consider a more permanent solution, abandoning the idea of tracking the safe itself, and instead, securing the safe. Let’s take a look at a few options.
Consider Embedding Your Safe In A Wall
Wall-safes are convenient and hidden from view.
You may want to consider embedding your safe in the wall and hanging a picture over it so that it is out of view. Quite frankly, a thief is not going to cut the safe out of the wall, as it would take an enormous amount of time, not to mention the noise involved in getting it out of the wall. Let’s not forget that the number one rule for a thief is to get in and out as quickly as possible with the least amount of disruption.
Unless you are the type of person who has experience in construction, specifically in remodeling homes, I would highly recommend that you have a professional installer install your wall safe for you. They know what they are doing and have a reputation for doing so. If you do not know of a professional who has experience in doing this, you can easily find one at angieslist.com or homeadvisor.com.
Keep in mind however, that one of the biggest regrets that people have after paying to have someone install their wall safe, is that the wall safe that they chose is too small and they wish that they had chosen a larger safe to install.
Bolting Your Safe To A Concrete Floor
Outside of buying a rock solid high-quality safe, (we will discuss that in a minute), there is no better way to secure your safe and make sure that it does not grow legs, then bolting it to a concrete floor.
Bolting a safe to a concrete floor prevents thieves, fire and tornadoes from taking it away.
Provided that you have purchased a high-quality safe, that safe should be the only thing standing should your house be burned to the ground, or if a tornado were to completely obliterate every standing structure in your neighborhood. Bolting your safe, regardless of the size, to a concrete floor will ensure that the safe survives.
Again, if you do not already have experience in construction, specifically, if you have never bolted anything to concrete before, I would highly recommend that you hire a professional to do the job right the first time. If you do not know if you are capable of doing this, you probably are not. Just ask your spouse, they will be sure to let you know the truth.
You May Want To Consider A Safe Deposit Box
Perhaps inconvenient, but absolutely secure.
The other two options were based out of your home. This option is not, but it is extraordinarily secure, for certain.
For example, my local bank charges an annual fee of $60 a year to rent a small box, $85 for a medium box, and $125 for a large box. It may not be as convenient, but it is absolutely secure.
After having looked at the options available to you, you have to weigh the pros and cons and ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I more concerned about the safe itself, or the contents within the safe?
- How probable is it that my safe will be stolen?
- What lengths am I willing to go in order to track my safe?
- Is there a better way to secure my safe and the contents within it? If so, is that a better solution altogether?