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Panic Rooms to Quell the Fears of the "Security Conscious"

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There's something about the "panic room," known in less dramatic circles as the "safe room," that reeks of conceit. The idea that the owner considers themselves so wealthy and important that someone might try to bust in and take them hostage is one that doesn't inspire much sympathy. Granted, a safe room likely saved the life of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who fled to the safety of his personal vault when an axe-wielding would-be assassin sought revenge for Westergaard's controversial cartoon of Muhammad, but a look at these five houses has us thinking that the home invasion statistics don't support such extravagant emergency facilities. The first house on our list, a $1.5M lakefront mansion in Lakewood, Wash., has a seriously impressive man cave—with car elevator, billiards table, and bar—but the rest of the house is almost unfurnished. Perhaps that's why the panic room is located down in the basement too, a location that doesn't make it very useful for residents who sleep upstairs.

? This mansion is located in Phoenix, Ariz., on the edge of Echo Canyon Park, not in the middle of the desert, miles from law enforcement. Still, the builders of this 7,000-square-foot temple of bad taste weren't going to take a chance. The panic room in this particular $1.6M estate will only be revealed upon the close of escrow, so the buyer can feel safe knowing the neighborhood lookie loo/masked intruder won't get the inside scoop before the sale.

? If the Phoenix place went a little overboard with the knock-off antiques, at least it was built in 1994. We only say this because this St. Louis, Mo. classic with the Richardsonian facade has been completely gutted, and not for the better. Between the heinous marble tile and archways and the lonely original staircase, this place is the worst kind of mixed up. The panic room might be the best thing going in this $360K mess.

? Now, straight from Palm Springs, Calif., here's another panic room-equipped mansion that puts the man cave first. This one has mirrored walls, an in-ceiling sound system, and a portal for underwater viewing of the swimming pool. Despite all the glass walls—or perhaps because of them—the owner has felt it necessary to install a panic room. Spending any amount of time in a cramped secure space might be enough to induce claustrophobia, particularly for someone accustomed to double-height great rooms and a restaurant-sized kitchen.

? We've covered this Miami mega-manse before. At $60M, it's one of the most expensive spec houses we've ever laid eyes on. A-Rod toured it, but now it's up on the MLS, still hunting for a buyer. In addition a fingerprint access-controlled wine cave and hidden art vault, the 30,000-square-foot spread boasts, you guessed it, a panic room.

· 9124 Eagle Point Loop Rd SW [Zillow]
· 4702 E Rockridge Rd [Zillow]
· 4272 Washington Blvd [Zillow]
· 2340 West Cantina Way [Zillow]
· Miami's Record-Setting Spec House Behemoth Worth a Second Look [Curbed]
· 3 Indian Creek [Zillow]