As long as you have a secure place to stash a spare key where prying eyes are unable to see you retrieving it and it’s placed in a position the average burglar won’t think to look… The hidden spare key is a good strategy for preventing lockouts. It can however lead to complacency as was recently experienced by our latest customer in Biggera Waters.
The house was occupied by three university students who each had their own set of keys as well as an emergency key stashed in the backyard. This “prevention from getting locked out” strategy had worked well for the boys all year and generally speaking they had stuck to the house rules of “Spare key club” namely:-
- No one talks about the spare key club.
- Don’t retrieve the spare key when in the company of others
- Immediately return the spare key to its hiding place after use.
- If the security of the spare key is compromised all housemates must be advised.
It all sounded very cloak and dagger but the rules made sense. A spare key could certainly assist if someone had lost or forgotten their keys but the existence of a hidden outdoor key also created a security problem the boys were seeking to mitigate through their rules.
But as they say, rules are meant to be broken and even rules that aren’t meant to be broken often are.
One of the lads (I’m going to call him Mike) had lost his house key. Mike was very big on rules and didn’t wish to break rule three and take the spare key to the locksmith to get another one cut. His plan was to borrow a key from one of the other boys instead and use it to get another key cut, which meant if the spare key was left in place no one would ever be locked out.
At least this was his plan but this all went down in the last week before university holidays and somehow it just didn’t get done.
At the end of that university term the other two lads had planned a trip to Tasmania to go rock climbing and were in the cab to go to the airport when one of them realised he’d left some important gear in the kitchen. He hadn’t bothered to bring his keys with him as he wouldn’t need them in Tassie, so he jumped out of the cab, retrieved the spare key, grabbed the gear from the kitchen, ran outside, locked the door and raced back to the cab forgetting to put the spare key back.
Poor Mike comes home from the Gold Coast University Hospital bar late that night after some serious celebrating having made it through another term to find his house deserted and the spare key well and truly missing. He didn’t feel to ring the landlord at 1am to ask for the spare key so he called AllCoast Locksmiths. We had a rescue van on the scene within 20 minutes and the front door open in less than two.
Once inside he found the abandoned set of keys of one of the flatmates in kitchen and as we are mobile locksmiths with mobile key cutting equipment we were able to cut him a spare key on the spot and a second one to replace the missing spare key in case he somehow lost his keys before the other lads returned.
As I drove off I saw Mike in my rearview mirror walking around the back of the house to re-stash the spare key. Even with a 6 pints of lager in him and with me being a locksmith he was still living by the rules of spare key club and not disclosing the location of the hidden key.