(Un)Safety Deposit Boxes

I’ve heard several people suggest keeping things like gold, silver, valuables and small firearms in “safety deposit boxes”.  I’ve also heard that laws passed after 9-11 allow the government to “investigate” safety deposit boxes and seize the contents. While others exclaim in defense that there are protections regarding safety deposit boxes.

I am of the opinion that when said protections are put in place by a government, they often offer little or no guarantee.  Governments have an uncanny knack for breaking their own policies when it suits them, or simply changing their policies.

Often we can just look to our friends across the puddle in the United Kingdom to see where we are headed in another 5-10 yrs. (Unless we stand up and stop it!)


U.K’s Metropolitan police raid thousands of safety deposit boxes. They seized guns, drugs and cash.


“…this was the Metropolitan Police’s most ambitious operation in its 180-year history…”

While I am sure a number of deposit boxes belonged to criminals. How much of the gold, jewelry, gems, and cash belonged to law citizens? How many of the firearms found are illegal merely because of the UK’s draconian gun bans as opposed to criminal behaviors.  How many people will never see their belongings again. And with 500 completely 100% honest police officers involved – how many of those rings and pearls will have been secretly pocketed with no one knowing they the CCTV cameras were not working during the events of the raid.

And how does the Metropolitan Police department intend to match the security boxes with their owners?  Simple, by spending $3 million to have officers watch CCTV camera recordings.

This all goes to show that there is no “security” in a security deposit box.  And definitely not the best place to stash a firearm.

The results:

  • Some criminals goods found
  • Thousands if not millions of valuables of citizens seized, probably to never be returned.
  • A long list of incompetance (wrong number of boxes recorded, wrong person recorded as director) – why is it such raids always seem to correspond with shotty investigative work?

H/T Snowflakes in Hell


Below are just a few highlights to send chills down your spin…
“However, by talking to scores of box-holders, none of whom have spoken before, Live has uncovered a different version of Operation Rize, one that shows how the vast majority of those caught up in the raids were innocent. They have had their lives turned upside down over the past 17 months. Many have struggled to recoup their money and possessions, been forced into legal trench warfare with police lawyers and told they must prove how they came by the contents of their boxes.

This is also a story told through secret legal papers, including confidentiality agreements struck with some vault depositors whose cases threatened to topple the entire operation. Although the police told a judge that ‘nine out of ten’ of all of the thousands of box-holders were probably criminally minded, criminally connected or felons, the paper trail reveals that perhaps only as few as ten per cent of the boxes have any connection to serious crime.

Many of the clientele were families who had fled turmoil, pogroms, coups and wars and long had a cultural preference for locking away money and jewels, building up a vehement distrust for the integrity of traditional banks. Here, stepping down the spiral staircase at the back to the darkened boxes below, they felt reassured that their most important possessions were safe.

One survivor of Nazi Germany in his seventies told us how he had placed a bag of diamonds there – security if ever he or his descendents needed to run again.

Another client, an Indian millionaire entrepreneur with connections to the House of Lords, described how he was ‘treated like a convicted man just because I had wealth in cash’.

‘They found nothing because I had done nothing and eventually this summer, everything was returned to me. But £10,000 was gone – and my wife’s diamond earrings.’

The Met has strenuously denied all allegations of theft, pointing out that anyone stealing from the boxes would have been caught on camera since officers videoed the entire operation.

Another box-holder who is alleging theft, a wealthy Russian  émigré party-planner from north London, who had £64,000 in cash and £250,000 worth of jewellery, including heirlooms from Russia, successfully challenged the police to produce the video.

‘I am meticulous,’ she said. ‘I have a receipt for everything. When I got my box back, £9,000 cash and some smaller items of jewellery were missing – a gold baby’s bracelet and an 18-carat gold ring.’

The initial police footage, she claims, had a time code and showed her box being carried to a table. But then the tape was interrupted and when it restarted the footage was being shot from a new camera, at a different angle and without a time code, with real time having moved on many seconds.

Published in: on October 28, 2009 at 2:11 am  Leave a Comment  

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