With the news coming from Arizona this past weekend, I was thinking about personal security and the security of our collections. It may seem like a gruesome topic to discuss in the aftermath of the shooting, but as long as our attention is on the situation, we need to take a look at our own security.
Last June, I discussed the Safety and Security Traveling with Coins after the robberies of dealers traveling to and from shows. One the key points I made is the beware of your surrounding, what we call “situation awareness.” It is not typical to think like this, but if you have numismatics that seem to be desirable, you need to consider your environment. Does the area “feel right?” Do you feel comfortable in the area? Are you worried about the strangers around you? What is your gut feeling? If you are not comfortable and just have that feeling that the area is not safe, go with that feeling and take appropriate actions.
We would like to think we live in a safe neighborhood, but at least once per week I see a news report with someone saying, “Nothing like this has happened here. This is such a safe neighborhood.” Unfortunately, there is always a first time, why be the first victim. How secure is your property? Are you coins on display in your home? If they are, do you have a security system?
Whatever you have for security may not be enough. You have to think like a thief and figure out how strengthen your defenses. Sure, strengthening your defenses may stop 95-percent of the thefts, but what about the other five percent? What about the amateur thief who gets lucky?
One of the best resources you have is your home insurance company. After many years of protecting property all over the country, they know what works and where to find the best people to help. Most insurance companies will help you with the risk assessment and share with you what their company knows about the risks in your area. They can also tell you about savings that you could see if you added additional security to your home.
Aside from the security of your personal property, you also need to considered what to do with your collection when you are no longer able to enjoy it. In my post, What Will Your Heirs Do With Your Collection, I discussed the necessity of estate planning with your collection. Remember, “It may be difficult to admit that the niece or grandson that appears to love to see your coins when they visit or is excited to receive a special numismatic gift may be more happy because of their interaction with you rather than your collection.”
Be honest with yourself, does your family really want the coins or what the coins are worth. If you are not going to mind that they will sell your coins, then leave it to them. However, if they are not going to keep the collection and their disposition really matter to you, then you should figure out how to deal with them while you still can make the decision.
While we pray that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the others who were injured a complete recovery; and we join with the families of Judge John Roll, 9-year old Christiana Green, Dorothy Morris, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwan Stoddard, and Gabriel Zimmerman in grieving their losses, we should take this opportunity to heighten our own security awareness to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our collections.