Many homeowners pay extra attention to home security during and after the holiday season, but it’s important to safeguard your home against burglars, and the common items they steal, year round. One of the easiest ways to prevent burglaries is by thinking like a criminal, anticipating which valuables in your home are most likely to tempt a burglar and plan your home defenses accordingly. By taking a look at the items that burglars target most often, you’ll have extra context for how to make your home less appealing to thieves.
Cash, jewelry and other easy to carry items
This may seem obvious, but ideal items for a burglar to steal are worth a lot of money and easy to put in a pocket. Burglars prefer to steal cash over any other item in the home because currency notes are extremely light, nearly impossible to trace and can be used immediately for goods and services. In 2017 alone, the FBI estimates burglars stole cash in excess of $1.36 billion.
Two other lightweight and valuable items, jewelry and firearms, are also commonly stolen items. Like cash, jewelry is small and highly valuable, making it an easy target. However, unlike cash, making a profit from jewelry theft requires criminals to go through the extra steps of finding a pawn shop or locating a fence (a.k.a. a middleman) to move the merchandise.
Firearms are also easy to lift from a household and conceal upon escape, and demand for stolen guns on the black market is typically high. Regardless of the logistical differences, these items make up a broad section of the valuables of interest to criminals for their weight and high potential for resale.
TVs, tablets, computers, stereos and other electronics
While not as easy to pocket as a pair of diamond earrings or a wad of cash, electronics are highly sought after by thieves. It’s easy for burglars to find tablets, game consoles, stereos and big screens in the home – consumers typically show off their best electronics in the living room and kitchen.
With more people working from home and a greater number of financial transactions being performed online, smart burglars know that the information hidden inside laptops and computers is often more valuable than the hardware itself. If homeowners suffer a robbery that includes their personal computer, then they might suffer additional damages caused by identity theft down the road.
Prescription drugs and OTC medication
Around 55% of Americans regularly take a prescription medicine, which means there are millions of prescription drugs out there that could be targeted by burglars. Prescription drugs and even over-the-counter medications such as Sudafed or Robitussin or common theft items because they have high street market value. Burglars may also steal these items for personal use.
Keep in mind that burglars aren’t the only ones who may go through your medicine cabinet to find prescription drugs for personal use. Friends, family members, or any visitor to your home may search your home for drugs without your knowledge.
Break-in prevention strategies used to deter criminals
Since the favorite prey of burglars ranges from medication to expensive necklaces, homeowners may need to take numerous precautions to safeguard their home. Thankfully, you can deter criminals and keep your electronics plugged into the wall by using your head. Window sight lines, for example, are quite important. Peer into your home from the outside using your windows; if you think a criminal would recognize your home as a sweet spread of valuables, then perhaps a bit of interior reorganization is in order. Install curtains on as many windows as possible, including the garage, to further reduce sight lines into your home.
Security cameras and a comprehensive security system are also effective tools for deterring and catching home burglars. By supplementing monitoring technology from your security company with robber deterrence strategies, you and your family can help reduce the risks of a break-in.
Originally published 1/16/15. Last updated 1/2/19.