Uncertain economy sparks increased sales of safes, home security systems

Rain Smith • Dec 4, 2008 at 12:00 AM

While accounts in banks and credit unions are insured up to $250,000, many fear their money will not be safe in the event of total economic collapse. This has prompted some to withdraw their funds and store them in what they believe is a safer place -- safes within their homes.

Tri-Cities Lock and Safe, Volunteer Parkway, Bristol, Tenn., has witnessed this trend gain momentum. They say residential vault sales over the past couple months are better than ever.

And in Blountville, Dynamark Security Inc. reports an increase in clients for home security systems. They say the volatile economy has sparked fears of more burglaries. CLICK the box below for a video report.

The showroom floor at Tri-Cities Lock and Safe usually displays more than a dozen residential vaults. On Wednesday, there were only three.

Owner and certified master locksmith, Douglas Wallace, says he's accustomed to selling one safe per month. That number is now up to three or four.

"The biggest reason I'm hearing right now (for customers purchasing safes) is because of the economy, and being a little bit scared about the banks," Wallace said. "They actually want to take money out of the banks, and evidently, keep it in their homes."

Wallace was in business during the Y2K scare, when people feared bank computers would crash on their rollover to the year 2000. His doors were open post-9/11, when the stability of America, and entire world, seemed to hang in the balance.

Business spawned by those threats pales in comparison to the recent surge.

"Not quite like this," Wallace said. "It's the economy right now, the way it is."

According to a report in the The Tennessean, safe companies across the nation report that sales are up, for some businesses as much as 50 percent. Safes for guns, as is the case for the actual firearms, are also selling more briskly.

But Wallace, and other safe and lock experts contacted by the Times-News, caution buyers to do their research. Just because a safe is advertised as resistant to fire, that does not make it burglar-proof. Sources said the majority of safes at national, big box retailers can be flipped on their side and quickly taken apart.

Meanwhile, some home security experts are also seeing an increase in business. Ted Hibbs, director of technical services for Dynamark Security Inc. in Blountville, said he typically sees a spike in business during the holiday season.

However, this year's holiday sales are about 20 percent from last season's. He said clients are citing concerns with the economy, and the possibility of an increase in burglaries, as motivation for purchasing home security systems.

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