The Top 7 Things Burglars Steal and Where They Look

Thousands of homes are broken into every year, in fact, the UK average is 34 burglaries every hour and not only are victims left with a bill of over £3,000, they also face serious ongoing mental and emotional stress.

Thousands of homes are broken into every year, in fact, the UK average is 34 burglaries every hour and not only are victims left with a bill of over £3,000, they also face serious ongoing mental and emotional stress. But being aware of how burglars work, the type of possessions they target, and where they are most likely to look will help you protect your valuables and identify any weaknesses in your home security.

Home security tips where burglars look

There are certain items of value that are easy pickings for burglars. Things they can carry easily, and that sell quickly for a good price. Knowing what these items are will help you take steps to protect them in your home.

What valuables do burglars target most?

Burglars are keen to work quickly, with the average burglary taking under 10 minutes. They are most likely to target smaller items that can be taken without drawing too much attention. So things like televisions are unlikely to be on their list, whereas tablets and jewellery are.

There are also some very common places that burglars will always check for valuables. So, here are some of the top items that make up a burglar’s wish list, and the places they would usually look for them.

1.  Cash

A burglar’s motivation will usually be money. It’ precisely why cash is often the first thing they’ll look for. It’s untraceable, easy to conceal and an instant win.

Where do they look?

Cash is most often kept in purses or wallets, or larger amounts are hidden away. The main bedroom is known as the most common place for valuables to be kept, which is why it’s often the first port of call for the burglar on the lookout for cash. They’ll look for cash in cupboards, drawers, under the mattress and also in those places you thought they’d never look, like shoe boxes or vases. And of course, there’s the traditional kitchen cookie jar.

How to secure it?

If you must keep cash at home, be sure to stash it in a safe. That means a safe that’s fixed in place, and that’s adequately serviced and maintained. Remember that portable cash boxes can just be lifted and taken away to be broken into, so unless yours is locked into a secure drawer or filing cabinet, a safe has to be your only option.

2.  Jewellery and watches

Jewellery and watches often present a lucrative pay day for thieves. The right pieces can be of high value, and small enough to conceal and take with ease. Even scrap gold can prove lucrative for thieves at today’s high prices.

Where do they look?

Dressers and bedside tables are the most common place a burglar will target for jewellery. More expensive items may be stashed inside wardrobes or drawers, where burglars won’t hesitate to look.

How to secure it?

Again, a safe is the best place to keep your jewellery and watches stored at home. If your pieces are particularly valuable, you might want to invest in a made to measure underfloor safe, or a wall safe that can be hidden behind artwork. Whatever you do, don’t leave any of your precious pieces in a jewellery box on the dresser. Even if it’s locked, a burglar will simply take the whole thing to break into later.

3.  Electronics

Televisions and desktop PCs are way too much of a challenge for a burglar to remove inconspicuously from a property, which is why they tend to go for the likes of tablets, laptops, voice assistants and games consoles. As well as being easy to take, they’re likely to fetch high prices.

Having items like these stolen can be devastating for more than one reason. Not only is there the physical loss and inconvenience of losing your tech, there’s also the issue of compromised data. Tech will often contain personal information, login details and sometimes work related material. Having this stolen can open up a minefield of problems, from identity theft to blackmail and staggering data breach fines.

Where do they look?

Kids’ bedrooms are favourite locations for tech and gadgets. Family rooms, home offices and studies are too. With so many people working from home these days, burglars will often find what they’re looking for around workstations, whether in a kitchen, lounge or a garden room.

How to secure it?

A safe is again the best storage place for small tech overnight or when you’re out. Stashing away the likes of voice assistants and games consoles is not so easy, but you can protect them by keeping them out of sight of main windows, by locking your doors and windows, and by installing a smart sensor and CCTV system that will alert you in real time to any unexpected movement in your property when you’re not there.

4.  Medicines

Illegal trade in prescription medication is growing. Because it’s becoming easier to sell than tech, it’s one of the prime targets for burglars. But thieves may also be looking for medication for their own personal use.

Where do they look?

The bathroom is the first stop off point for medicine thieves. They’ll target the medicine cabinet in family or ensuite bathrooms first, followed by kitchen cabinets, drawers and worktops, all typical storage places for medication.

How to secure it?

A lockable medicine cabinet – locked with the key taken out and hidden – is favourite. Don’t go for a glass fronted cabinet which can easily be smashed, and make sure the cabinet is fixed to the wall. Never keep medicines in easy access places like drawers or on countertops.

5.  Designer clothes and accessories

Designer clothes and accessories are high ticket items for thieves. Bearing in mind even the smallest Gucci handbag can retail for £1,000, a Luis Vuitton T-shirt £500 and a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses £300, it’s easy to see it wouldn’t take much for a burglar to profit from a designer heist.

Leave items like these on show, and a burglar is certain to sweep them up on their way out.

Where do they look?

Wardrobes are the first place a thief will look if they’ve got an inkling their victim has a penchant for designer goods. They’ll also rifle through drawers and nightstands for smaller items. And they’ll know what they’re looking for.

How to secure it?

Smaller high value accessories like sunglasses will fit in a safe. Never leave larger items on show. If you have a particularly large collection of designer clothes, consider investing in a wardrobe that locks, or simply lock the bedroom or dressing room door.

6. Keys

Some burglars specifically break into a property with the aim of getting their hands on the keys to the car parked outside. But some will grab keys just for the sake of it, perhaps to sell to their peers, or to come back and let themselves in next time.

Where do they look?

The first place a burglar will look for keys is exactly where most people leave them, which tends to be right near the front door, for convenience of course. Other common places include nightstands, or inside purses or bags.

How to secure it?

If you have a keyless entry car, it’s vital to keep the keys well out of range due to the risk of keyless car theft. The best advice is to keep the keys in a tin or a specially shielded wallet. If possible, switch the fob off at night.

7.  Personal ID

Personal ID such as passports, driving licences, bank statements and birth certificates can all be used to defraud, blackmail or commit identity theft. Digital data is also at risk, with the likes of memory cards and sticks, portable hard drives and devices like tablets and phones all on the burglar’s target list for data theft.

Where do they look?

Unopened or discarded piles of post, unlocked filing cabinets and even rubbish bins are all the places burglars will check to see what data is on offer. Phones and tablets left in full view of windows are another common target.

How to secure it?

Don’t leave piles of post unattended. Open everything as it comes, and immediately discard what you don’t need, shredding anything that bears your address or other personal information. File anything you do need to keep in a locked filing cabinet. Be sure to keep all official documents in a fireproof safe, and data-containing devices in a safe when not in use.

Home security advice from Barry Bros Security

Barry Bros Security has been providing security advice to homeowners across London for more than seven decades. If there’s anything we can help you with on any aspect of securing your home, please do get in touch.

You can visit at our London showroom where our friendly security specialists will be able to attend to you personally, or give us a call. We look forward to being of assistance.

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Regardless of the type of premises you are looking to protect, Barry Bros Security has the solution. Contact us today for expert advice and the benefit of decades of experience in the security industry.