If you are a wanted criminal, drug cartel whistle blower or just someone who needs to go to ground for a while for whatever reason, how do you locate, acquire & set up a secure “safe house” residence that will be there for you when you need it.
You do not have endless funds for this so let’s say the whole safe house package has to come in at $ 250,000 or less delivered and setup.
This safe house or apartment needs to be in place in 9 months. You have a bag with $ 250,000 in it. Where do you begin?
ISTM, for $250,000 you shouldn’t have a problem renting an apartment/duplex (from a landlord, not a corporation), for cash, and convincing them not to put your name on it. Without your name on the lease, I don’t see how anyone is going to find you. Keep your GPS off, maybe use a different car to drive there if that’s an issue, but as long as the place has no association with you, it’s not going to show up under any database.
Also, depending on what your needs are, you can have a hidden area built into your house. Plenty of people do that. Have hidden rooms with doors behind bookcases or something along those likes. A friend of a friend (someone I knew) had a HUGE grow operation that was set behind a false wall in his basement. I never saw the place, but it’s my understanding that if you were to look through his house, you wouldn’t even know it was there. Remember, most people ransacking a house (even the police) aren’t going to say 'wait a minute, there should be another 15 feet extending out this way". There going to see a wall and turn around. Also, for $250,000 you could probably find a contractor (especially the kind that build safe rooms/bug out rooms/prepper bunkers) that could build hidden bunker in your back yard (even connecting your basement) and keep it on the DL.
But, again, my vote is to find a landlord renting a duplex for, say, $1000 a month and ask them to rent it to you for a $1500, cash, up front, as long as nothing is in your name. You could even hire an attorney, let him know what’s up and have rent it in his name if that’s necessary (or any other willing and trusted participant).
Buy some fake IDs, or ideally steal a real person’s identity. Rent an apartment under your fake name. Move some stuff in. Tell the landlord you’ll be traveling for a while. Pay him a little extra to keep an eye on the place. What makes you safe is not being able to be located. You can’t trust a landlord with your real name.
Fake ID seems, to me, like the first step. From there, almost anything works. As a second layer of protection, I’d try to do everything by dealing with regular people rather than professionals, since they’re less likely do the same checks or file the same paperwork. So maybe find a motor home that’s for sale on Craigslist or a room for rent in someone’s house.
I think its getting harder since camera technology and identification technology keeps improving. I read where they catch several felons every year by scanning the bleachers at major sporting events. One would have to carefully keep up on the latest trends plus limit exposure to cameras as much as possible.
Frankly I think there are more snoopy people in rural areas so its best to hide among the crowds in big cities.
Your real problem is that you have to show your face to all sorts of people to do this. Lawyers, real estate agents, whoever you rent from, etc etc.
This creates the problem that if they really want you - if you end up as a face on the FBI top 10 most wanted, or the TV do a segment on you, all those people who saw you may recognize and turn you in.
You need a way to obtain shelter without being seen by anyone. Not sure how to do this, but that’s the only thing that meets the described requirements above. Ironically, the only way I can think of, the 250k cash is barely needed. You just drive to a rural tourist area like Washington state, etc. You use the cash to buy food, camping supplies, gas, etc, from stores a few states away. Then you just live out in the woods, unseen by anyone.
Living in the wood unseen by anyone? Good luck with that! If you think rural folks are snoopy, try the folks out in the woods who are already hiding from everyone. Their lives depend on seeing you before you see them. At least they think so, & they act on that thought.
In my youth, I lived in the wood by choice. I was not trying to hide from anyone, I just needed the time away from folks to sort some issues out. People I never saw in the woods knew who I was & what I had been doing there. Either they personally saw me, or the grapevine works good in the woods, or both. If you are trying to hide from anyone, do not try to hide in the woods.
From my experience in the big city, that would be your best bet. My neighbors, who shared a wall with me for over a year, did not know me at all. Renting an apartment can be done online without a face to face meeting. Two of my cousins have done just that.
Small town America is right out for the above reasons. Everyone knows your business.
I’d look at the ragged edges of the seedy part of town. The seedy part near where it’s starting to get gentrified. Next I’d look for a place with an absentee landlord, someone out of town would be best. Produce a fake sublet agreement to match your new fake ID. Let your hair grow long, maybe dye it, and never go out without looking scruffy and unkempt. Shitty overcoat, crappy eyeglasses, shitty shoes and a grubby backpack. (filled with your real eyeglasses, nice shoes and jacket, etc)
You will be near invisible, in a part of town where no one looks too hard or asks too many questions because they’ve seen everything already. Pay in cash for everything and don’t draw attention to yourself and I think you could be pretty successful!
Then, hire a third party to buy a modest house in the suburbs of a decent-sized city with cheap real estate. Parts of Texas, for example, where 250k practically gets you a mansion. I’ll give them whatever cover story I like - I’m flipping houses, suffer from agoraphobia, have credit problems, or whatever. They’re just locating a house for me and dealing with real estate agents.
When the purchase is done, the third party quit-claims the deed to my fake ID.
Under my fake ID, I hire some maids and landscapers to make sure the property doesn’t fall apart. I give them a story about it being a vacation house, or something that will sound normal.
They say the best way to hide is in plain sight, and even with today’s technology, that’s still true in most regards.
Check the properties up for tax sale. Find one with an absentee owner. Contact the owner prior to the tax sale and offer to purchase the property for cash. Hire the type of attorney who will do such a transaction on your behalf. Have him establish a trust that will be the owner of the property. He can be the executor. The property seller won’t have your name and the attorney is bound by attorney-client privilege.
Blend in with your new neighbors, whatever type of neighbors they may be. Alter your appearance some (grow/lose a mustache or beard, perhaps), but nothing so radical that it will look like a costume. Then do whatever your neighbors do. Leave in the morning when they leave, shop where they shop, wear what they wear. Maintain the fiction that you are just like they are. People don’t suspect someone just like themselves of being up to anything.