Paranoid Hollywood turns to panic rooms as crime spikes

Madonna, George Clooney and Sir Paul McCartney among stars shelling out

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Hollywood heavy hitters terrified of a dramatic spike in crime are laying out millions for panic rooms, a new report reveals.

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According to the Hollywood Reporter, well-heeled denizens of the movie colony and other posh areas in southern California have become increasingly paranoid over a worrying spike in homicides and high-profile robberies.

“Our influx of inquiries has increased more than 1,000 percent over the past three months,” Dean Cryer, vp international operations at Building Consensus/Panic Room Builders, told the Reporter. “It’s gone insane. Hidden rooms are definitely trending right now.”

Even houses worth only “$4 million or $5 million” are seeing the panic rooms installed.

Among the stars who have panic rooms are Madonna, George Clooney and Sir Paul McCartney.

One real estate agency said when advertising a well-protected palace, they can’t reveal the existence of a panic room because of fears that crooks could use the information to their advantage.

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Cryer said his company builds the rooms ranging in security levels from one to eight. Some rooms are protected by Kevlar and a ton of steel.

A small, closet-sized panic room runs about $100,000 to $150,000 — and then it gets expensive.

“We’ve done one in London that had two rooms, full suites … and that was over a million dollars,” Cryer said, adding that his client base consists mostly of billionaires.

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The rooms are typically opened with biometrics — a finger or retina scan. And, increasingly, they are luxurious rather than a cold, steel cell.

Others are packed with guns and ammo.

Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart starred in the 2002 thriller Panic Room where they played a mother and daughter under siege.

bhunter@postmedia.com

@HunterTOSun

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