A lock box can be a number of different things, but is commonly a small box that has lock and key or combination access. Usually, they are no bigger than a microwave oven and are meant to keep only a few valuables. Lock boxes can be used to protect a number of different things, such as keys and even guns, keeping such items safely out of the reach of children and other unauthorized individuals. Some lock boxes, or safes, are used to protect valuable documents, money and jewelry from fire.
In the medical community, a lock box is simply a box that hangs on the back of a door that can be used to temporarily store specimens for pickup. If a medical driver cannot make it to the office before it closes, a lock box is a safe option. Both the medical office and driver have keys that will work on the lock box.
In a hotel room, a lock box will usually have a numbered keypad which can easily be reset when there is a need to do so. Most hotel guests reset the keypad whenever they first use it, simply because they may not know the previous combination or to make sure no one else knows the combination. These are known as combination lock boxes.
Lock boxes are also useful for real estate applications. Many homeowners will put a real estate lock box somewhere on their home. Inside that box is a key that will unlock the house. Only bona fide real estate offices and agents will have access to the combination which holds the key. Therefore, the lock box can provide access to the home even when the owner, or listing agent, is not available.
In some cases, to add even further security, electronic lock boxes may be used. These boxes have a microprocessor inside that will only allow certain keys to open them. Thus, they are harder for criminals to pick. The only way they can be unlocked is with a key that has a microchip the electronic lock box will accept.
A lock box can either be attached to a permanent surface, such as a wall, or be free standing. The freestanding models should only be used when there is very little concern of them being stolen, or when there are sufficient hiding places for it. While lock boxes are generally heavier items, many are still capable of being carried away, if a criminal is given the opportunity.