Every year, thousands of homes get broken into leaving the homeowners in a state of shock and trauma. The victims are not just left with a gaping hole in their bank accounts, but also with serious long-term emotional and mental stress.
The one question that every victim asks is “why me?” Why them indeed. Did burglars think of them as easy targets? Did they have something that caught the burglars’ attention? Were there weaknesses in their home security?
Before you can protect your valuables and your home from being burgled, you need to understand how these criminals’ minds work. They are evil, albeit smart individuals, who plan everything in advance and keep an eye out for easy targets.
Being informed about what you’re dealing with is the number one step in curbing such crimes. Don’t just rely on movies to gather facts; read these key facts and statistics on burglaries throughout the UK to help you make informed decisions about your safety and security.
There are certain items of value that are easy to carry and sell quickly that these burglars give preference to. If you know what these items are, you would know what to protect and keep locked away. For example, an expensive piece of jewellery is worth way more than some used electronics.
Let’s look at the main items that burglars take during a break-in and where they look for them:
WHAT DO BURGLARS TAKE AND WHERE DO THEY LOOK?
Burglars like to work as quickly as possible with the average burglary taking less than 10 minutes. The longer they stay around, the more likely they are to be seen and get caught.
The kind of things they steal play a huge role in the total time it takes to finish the job since large items such as television sets and desktops are difficult to carry and even more difficult to conceal. Most burglars prefer small, portable items that can easily be sold for some quick cash.
There are also certain very common hiding spots that all burglars know to always check. They sometimes even scope your home before breaking in to devise a plan and know exactly where to find what.
Here are the top items in the burglars’ wish list that they take during a break-in and the places that they usually look in:
Why do burglars steal at all? For the money, obviously. Cash is convenient, portable, untraceable unlike credit cards, and usually the first thing that they look for.
It is usually kept in wallets and purses, and if it’s a big amount, then hidden away in a secure place.
Where they look:
The master bedroom is where most people keep their valuables which is why it is usually every burglar’s first stop. They look for cash in the cupboards, drawers, under the mattress, and even unusual places such as inside a vase, a shoebox, or the cereal box in the kitchen.
Jewellery and watches
Everyone, including burglars, knows that jewellery and expensive watches have a great resale value. They don’t even have to know much about precious metals and gems to understand their worth.
Jewellery and watches are expensive, small, and easy to carry around making them two of the top favourite items for burglars to steal.
Where they look: accessories that you wear daily are usually kept on the dresser for you to pick up and wear as you head out. Burglars look for jewellery and watches on and inside the dresser, and on the nightstand. Very expensive items might be kept locked away inside a cupboard which the burglars are sure to check.
Instead of going for big electronic devices such as televisions and desktops, burglars opt for smaller electronics such as laptops, gaming consoles, and tablets.
These items are very easy to sell off for a good amount of money and also relatively easy to carry. Special care must be taken not to store confidential and personal information on them since it can be used for blackmail or identity theft.
Where they look: kids’ bedrooms are often goldmines where burglars are sure to find small electronics and gadgets. Other places include the family room and the home office or study. Since a lot of people work from home these days and have expensive office equipment, burglars make sure they go through their workstations to find valuable items to sell-off.
Addiction to painkillers and tranquillizers is becoming as big of an issue as the addiction to hard drugs, and the growing illegal trade in prescription medication has made them an attractive target for burglars to steal.
There is a huge black market where prescription drugs sell even easier than gadgets and electronics! This might also attract junkies to your home which is why you must keep all your medicines safe and throw away expired ones ASAP.
Where they look: if you think burglars won’t check your bathroom, you’re wrong. That’s where most people keep their prescription drugs; in the master bath medicine cabinet. For burglars looking for medicines to use and sell, the bathroom is usually their one-stop-shop for whatever they need. Other places that they might look in are the kitchen cabinets and counters.
Designer clothing and accessories
How much does a Birkin cost? A lot. Designer clothing and accessories are expensive and can easily be re-sold for a hefty price.
If you leave them out in the open, a burglar is sure to take them along on their way out. Some of the most common items include handbags, dresses, shoes, and fur coats.
Where they look: how many times have you thought of keeping your expensive coats and shoes locked away? Not many. They are usually kept along with other clothes and accessories in the master closet. Burglars look for expensive designer wear in your wardrobe and take out the ones that look pricey or that they recognize.
If after a burglary you notice that your house or car keys are missing, don’t be alarmed. A lot of burglars are known to steal any keys they can find to either sell off to their peers, come back and steal your car, or to easily let themselves in the next time.
The house and car keys are usually kept right near the entrance for your convenience so that you can easily grab them while heading out. Sadly, the placement isn’t just convenient for you but also for intruders breaking into your property.
Where they look: Keys are usually kept right under the nose and most of the time burglars don’t even have to look per se. Common places include near the entrance, the nightstand, or inside purses and bags.
Gone are the days when your diamonds were considered your most valuable commodity. Now, it’s all about your data. It can be used to blackmail you, target you for fraud, and even steal your identity.
Burglars look for documents such as bank statements, passports, and birth certificates that they can use to mine your data. They might also hack into your computers and phones to get useful information, which is why you must protect both your digital and physical data from being misused.
Where they look: personal information in the form of bank and credit card statements can easily be found in the pile of unopened mail by your door. People don’t realize how easy it has become to steal such information these days and how lucrative it is for these criminals. Burglars sometimes even go through your trash to find such information that they can then use against you.
Food, alcohol, and grocery items
Usually, food isn’t something a burglar would specifically break into your home to steal. For that, they target restaurants and supermarkets. But if they come across something that they like in your kitchen, they won’t shy away from taking it.
Alcohol is expensive and easy to carry, making it a favourite among under-age burglars and those with alcohol addiction. Sometimes burglars just steal it for fun to have a post-heist celebratory drink.
Where they look: the most obvious place to look for food, drinks, and other grocery items is the kitchen and pantry. Burglars might come across something that they like to eat or drink while raiding these places for hidden valuables. If you have an unlocked wine cellar in your home, you can expect some uninvited visitors.
This isn’t a definitive list of items and places that burglars look for. Most burglars are greedy and take pretty much everything they can get their hands on. They might just walk around and pick up stuff along the way that they feel might be of value to them.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
How can you protect your home and valuables from being broken into and stolen? Now that you know about the most common items and places that burglars look for, it will become easier for you to do something about it.
Here are a few things that you can do to ensure your property doesn’t become their next or repeated target:
Don’t flaunt your valuables
We know how exciting buying an expensive piece of jewellery or gadget can be but you must resist the urge to flaunt it. You never know who might take notice of them and lock you as their next target.
Items such as money, jewellery, expensive gadgets, and personal documents must all be kept away from windows where passers-by can easily see them. A potential burglar scoping your house for valuables might find just what they’re looking for.
Sharing on social media can also attract the wrong kind of attention. Burglars keep tabs on people and are on the lookout for the right kind of information. They can silently stalk you and find out where you live, what you own, and oftentimes, where you keep it.
Invest in a sturdy safe
Home safes can protect your valuables, cash, and documents from theft and form an essential part of any home security plan.
Burglars usually hit the most common places looking for valuables, therefore, the best idea is to steer clear of these hiding spots and use a safe instead, especially one that can’t be moved.
A good quality safe is very easy to conceal and looks like a regular storage unit to not attract unwanted attention. They are also extremely versatile and are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.
In addition to protecting your valuables from theft, safes also protect them from floods and fires. This is especially beneficial in storing important documents and valuable jewellery in keeping them safe from such disasters.
Carefully dispose of important documents
We’re all guilty of mindlessly throwing away documents such as bank statements in the mail after we’re done using them. Well, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and in this case, it’s the burglar’s treasure.
You must make it a habit to always shred important documents that contain valuable information before throwing them out. This way, the burglars won’t ever be able to piece them back together.
Also, all other important documents such as passports and birth certificates must be kept locked away, preferably in a safe so that they’re protected from theft as well as from being damaged due to fires and floods.
All computers and smart devices must be password-protected and confidential information such as financial records must be saved on portable hard drives that can easily be kept in a safe.
Keep doors and windows locked
Once you’ve taken care of all your valuables and made sure they are kept safely locked away, you must focus now on restricting unauthorized access into your property.
Rule number one of home security is to keep all your entry points locked at all times. This includes all the doors and windows, and not just the main ones, but all side doors, garage doors, shed doors, and even the smallest windows.
Choosing the right kind of locks is crucial since most can be easily broken using a technique called lock-snapping. If you use the standard cylinder locks to protect your home, you must make the switch to anti-snap locks right away.
Install a burglar alarm
One very effective method of keeping intruders away is by installing home security systems such as burglar alarms. When casing a house for burglary, security systems are usually the first thing that burglars check for. According to statistics, 63% of burglaries happen in homes without a basic security system.
Burglar alarms are equipped with sensors that get triggered as soon as they detect unusual activity such as someone trying to break in. They make use of sounds and lights to alert the homeowners and neighbours and also potentially scare away the intruders.
Coupled with professional monitoring services, burglar alarms can provide a great level of security with experts keeping an eye on your home, even in your absence.
This is particularly useful if your home is in a secluded area where the alarm can easily go unnoticed, if you don’t have good neighbours who’d notify you or the authorities in the event of a break-in, or if your house is usually left unoccupied.
Install a CCTV camera
Burglars try to avoid attention at all costs and opt for a burglary that doesn’t leave any evidence behind; something that CCTV cameras make next to impossible.
A CCTV system adds an extra layer of security, allowing you to monitor activity around your property while also acting as a visual deterrent against a break-in or vandalism.
Having professionals monitor your CCTV system ensures that your home is being watched over by trained experts when your home is unoccupied or when it’s most vulnerable, such as when you’re asleep.
The real advantage of detecting a threat while it’s in progress is the action that can be taken to deal with it, such as notifying your keyholders or alerting the police.
CONTACT CALDER SECURITY
Calder Security provides a complete solution for all your home security needs ranging from anti-snap locks to CCTV cameras.
We’ve been in the security industry for over 40 years and our experts can help you with a wide range of services including professional installation, maintenance, monitoring, and repair.
Our extensive experience enables us to provide you with the most ideal recommendations best suited to your property and individual needs.
Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 to talk to our leading experts!