The characters have found and occupied a place to rest, recuperate and plan without interference from their enemies. They consider the location as safe and secure as your average bank vault... until suddenly something happens and someone says, "We're not safe here anymore." The irony is that the site was never that safe and secure, despite what the characters thought. The location has been the site of zombie invasions and vampire attacks, there have been frequent murders, the place gets robbed on a daily basis, terrorists infiltrate, and the main characters have nearly died a dozen times.
But it's only now, with the latest incident, someone finally says, "I think this place isn't safe anymore." The other characters react to this fell declaration with shock and horror as if it surprised them to find their asylum to be penetrable.
Not to be confused with Safe Zone Hope Spot, where the characters never thought their location was all that safe in the first place. Will often be the result if you Failed a Spot Check. Also, this trope doesn't apply if the characters never realize the danger they were in.
- In at least two of the Harry Potter films (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), different characters state outright that "Hogwarts isn't safe anymore", which naturally leads to the question "When the hell was Hogwarts ever safe?" Later in the series, during Half-Blood Prince, Harry actually says, "This is Hogwarts we're talking about. It's Dumbledore. What could be safer?" as if he hadn't been living through the previous five years. Hogwarts has been the site of murders and violence, the framing of innocents along with the permanent derailment of their careers, the attempted wrongful execution of the innocent, and the near deaths of many characters.
- Assuming that Hogwarts is still the safest place, that would mean the rest of the world is even worse. This was generally the case, up until the seventh year. Once it becomes the absolute least safe place, attendance is mandatory.
- Of course, most of the time the reason of Hogwarts's unsafeness is because Voldemort is targeting it. Usually because something he wants is there. And it's there because Hogwarts is the safest place, which makes it a self-defeating safety (quite like in Panic Room where said room turns out dangerous because what the intruders want is inside).
- As well, in every case, the rest of the reason Hogwarts is unsafe is because it's an inside job.
In the first book, one of the guardians of the Stone, who was in on the entire setup of its defenses, is The Dragon for that particular novel... and it still takes him nearly a full year before he dares to try to seize the Stone. And then he still gets Stone-walled at the final layer.
Second book: The attacks are all done by someone who has no reason to be suspected at any point in time, because she's being possessed without her knowledge, and isn't even indirectly connected to any of the events. The events also only occur because the perpetrator discovered the knowledge he needed and laid the groundwork for the events fifty years ago.
Third book: The perpetrator of most of the terrifying events going on around the school was one of the mapmakers of the school's secret passageways decades ago. Oh, and a shapeshifter, not that anyone knew that.
Fourth book: Again, one of the intended guardians was The Dragon. And he only gets smoked out because he got careless after the events he'd set in motion occurred.
Fifth book: The castle never gets attacked. Instead, the entire Ministry of Magic is deserted, without even token security forces. And the insiders in the Ministry aren't actually implied to have done anything in particular to pull that off.
Sixth book: One person pulled off a lot of tricks to achieve the attack - most of them were either copied from or learned because of Harry and company's actions over the entire rest of the series. Even then, he was only allowed to run that freely because he was being forced to do what he did, and Dumbledore was partly hoping to try to find a way to help him out of the coercion before he had to act.
Seventh book: Nearly the entire school rebels against the people in charge.
- As well, in every case, the rest of the reason Hogwarts is unsafe is because it's an inside job.
- In Dawn of the Dead (1978) the characters begin the film believing that a mall is the perfect hiding place, but later discover they cannot stay there forever because eventually they're going to run out of food. Of course, the raiders who show up and trash the place for fun considerably reduce their remaining time there.
- Dawn of the Dead (2004) on the other hand has the entire mall secure, unlike the original where they only had a small room with some military rations, and so they have plenty of food, water, and supplies to last for quite a while. The characters instead can't bear the idea of spending the rest of their lives cooped up in a mall surrounded by an ocean of the walking dead and instead forge a plan to make a break for an uninhabited island that will be safe. They make it to the island and learn, the hard way, they REALLY should have stayed in the mall.
- In Admiral, Admiral Kolchak's family is hiding from revolutionaries in a small house in Crimea, which they consider safe until the only loyal seaman comes with warnings that the revolutionary seamen are coming for them. It's Russia, the year is 1917, and it's a place close to a naval base to boot (Navy seamen were among the most hardcore revolutionaries), so it was naive to think it's possible to hide in this place.
- In The Purge, the Sandins have a security system which covers all exits in metal plating, meant to protect them from the lawless anarchy of Purge night. When a murder squad of preppy kids shows up demanding a homeless man their son let in, James Sandin has to admit that the security system is only meant to ward off the riff-raff. These kids, heavily armed and with numerous vehicles, are able to tear the plating right off the walls.
- In the second Percy Jackson book, Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, Camp Half Blood is "no longer safe" because someone has poisoned Thalia's pine tree, which usually keeps the camp safe from outside monsters. However, the camp was never safe from anyone on the inside who wanted to hurt anyone else on the inside, as demonstrated by the ending of the first book.
- In A Series of Unfortunate Events, the orphans must send a message that "The Last Safe Place is safe no more". Given the kind of world they live in, it should come as no surprise that the Hotel Denouement wasn't all that safe to begin with.
- The Fire-Us Trilogy sees the children take up shop in a mall run by a bunch of Christian cultists and stay there for awhile. While Angerman is convinced pretty much from the start that the Crossroads Mall is bad news, the others take longer to get it. This is mostly due to the fact that they really, really wanted to believe it was a safe place for them.
- Watership Down. After a dangerous overland journey after fleeing their warren, the rabbits arrive at another warren with rabbits who are well-fed and friendly, albeit a bit strange. What the rabbits aren't telling them is their Gilded Cage is extensively snared by the same farmer who ensures that they're well-fed and not bothered by natural predators.
- In Harry Potter, Hogwarts' status as a safe haven is mainly attributed to Dumbledore's hawk-like watch over the place. For all the cunning he displays elsewhere, it's worth noting that, in only six years, two Death Eaters slipped onto the payroll as teachers, one of them lugging around Lord Voldemort himself, Slytherin's monster was unleashed on the grounds and carried out five attempted murders, a hunted (presumed) murderer slipped into the grounds repeatedly, once reaching as far in as the bedside of his presumed target, the horde of Dementors hunting said murderer slipped out of control repeatedly and tried to kill a student, a fascist-racist child torturer was legally instated as teacher and later Headmistress while the staff failed to pose effective resistance, underestimation of Draco allowed a squad of Death Eaters to enter the heart of the castle with only a handful of defenders posted and the yearly near-death situations and almost bi-monthly grievous injuries Harry faces while within the grounds. It's no surprise that Hogwarts' blatant unsafeness is a running joke among the fans.
- While it is brought up multiple times that Hogwarts is the safest place for anyone to be during a crisis, this only brings into question just how much worse it must be in the rest of Magical Britain to warrant claiming that Hogwarts is the safest haven for them to be during this time.
- The Walking Dead:
- The main characters are investigating an old department store when the sheriff's deputy arrives and basically alerts all the zombies in the city to their presence by shooting at some of them. One of the characters says something like: "You just rang the dinner bell," as if the zombies pounding on the department store's glass doors already wouldn't have made them unsafe anyway. No, no... the sheriff got them in trouble when they would have been perfectly and completely safe otherwise.
- The survivors are basically camping out in the open, on top of a hill, with almost no fortifications, and are shocked and dismayed when a zombie finally invades their campsite.
- The original comic has the campsite thing, along with the survivors temporarily setting up shop in an apparently abandoned, gated subdivision. They miss the sign outside warning that all the inhabitants are dead.
- In the video game, the characters set up camp in a barricaded motor inn, which to be fair actually does look safe...for about fifteen minutes until the power goes out. Despite the ever-increasing number of walkers and bandits, whether to stay the winter or move on becomes a major argument. Either maintain security and hope for some unexpected food source to emerge, or leave the (relative) security of the Inn in search of a different place and an unexpected food source.
- It's always treated as a grave revelation that the Alien in Alien: Isolation is nearby. This, despite the fact that the Alien is pretty much never more than a few rooms away from you. In fact, it's possible for a character in a story event to mention it when the alien is right behind you.
- In Gears of War 2, a stranded soldier claims "the surface wasn't safe anymore". Yes— all of a sudden the surface, which is crawling with locusts, infested with flying piranha krill at night, and goes through regular bouts of razor hail, is not safe!
- In Resident Evil: Outbreak, the level "The Hive" opens in Raccoon City Hospital. There are zombies bashing on the front doors, the doctors are gone, the halls are filled with bloodstains and corpses. The first thing the last surviving doctor says is "This hospital is not as safe as it may look or sound." Thanks.
- Justified in the beginning of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis when Jill points out they're no longer safe in their warehouse hideout. She knows they were never safe there but is saying it to try and convince her panicked ally Dario, who does think they're safe, to make a break to safety with her. Unfortunately he rebukes her and says he'd rather starve to death locked in the trailer of a semi truck than take his chances on the streets. After teaming up with the UBCS and planning to use the cable car to escape the city, if you go back for him you'll find that zombies managed to get to him and tear him apart.