Burglaries Are Down, So Why Are People Buying More Safes?

Over the last 20 years, the burglary rate in the U.S. has dropped by around 45%, according to the FBI. And yet, manufacturers of safes and other devices to protect folks’ valuables have gone up as much as 40% in just the last few years.

“People dislike loss twice as much as they like gains,” explains the founder and CEO of Upside Risk, a firm that researches investor psychology, to SmartMoney. “They want to protect what they have.”

So it’s no surprise that the rise of safe sales coincides with a growing distrust in the banking industry. More than 1 in 3 people expressed little to no confidence in banks last year; that’s more than had that sentiment when the economy bottomed out in 2008 and 2009.

And while burglaries may have dropped, consumers’ concerns about having their bank and credit card accounts hacked has only increased.

“By acquiring one password, someone can wipe out all your digital wealth,” says one investment manager.

But before you go rushing off to buy a safe, SmartMoney points out some issues to be aware of:

[C]ustom or other small-production safes often reach the market without undergoing the rigorous testing for theft and fire common to off-the-shelf models. At the same time, ratings pose other problems. Retailers say they confuse many buyers, who fail to understand that just because a safe is rated for fire, it doesn’t mean it’s theft-proof, and vice versa.

More Americans Stashing Cash in Home Safes [SmartMoney.com]