Home burglaries usually take place in 8-10 minutes and in broad daylight between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. So, when breaking in, thieves are looking for small, easy-to-find valuables. Nothing screams “call the police” or “pay attention to me” like a stranger wheeling out a big treadmill from your home.
Home Burglar’s Most Valuable Items: Small and Valuable
Burglars typically aren’t interested in your prized record collection or your appliances. They want things they can carry and quickly turn into cash.
Cash: It is probably obvious but thieves first and foremost want cash. Cash is small, easily carried, and has quick value. The other large benefit of cash is that it is mostly untraceable.
Guns: Stolen guns are valuable on the black market because individuals, who normally can’t get a gun lawfully, can buy them. Also, criminals like stolen guns because the police have a hard time tracking who the owners are.
Jewelry: Jewelry typically has a unique appeal to the owner and isn’t valuable by itself. However, the raw materials that make up the jewelry — diamonds, gold, platinum, and silver — are easy to extract and pawn or sell.
Small Electronics: Laptops, gaming systems, and tablets are valuable on the after-market and can be easily stuffed into a bag or suitcase for a quick getaway.
Medication: Many prescription drugs have a high street value. Another perk, medication is easy to find in a home.
Power Tools: While it isn’t one of the items high on the list, thieves will often steal power tools due to their value and small size.
Burglars Know Where to Find the Goods
Hint: Your master bedroom is the first stop.
Most people keep valuables in their bedrooms, so no surprise that is the first stop for a thief. One of the first things most people don’t think about is a burglar typically is looking for a suitcase, bag, or pillow case to use for carrying out all of the stolen goods. Then, they open drawers and look on counters for a jewelry box or drawer full of jewelry. They will also check the closet looking for guns, cash, and expensive handbags. Then, it is on to the master bathroom medicine cabinet to look for medication.
After the master bedroom, burglars will typically visit the kids’ bedrooms to look for small electronics like tablets, computers, and gaming systems. Then, the next rooms are the living room and home office before a detour through the basement or garage on the way out.
Ok, So How Can I Beat the Burglars at Their Game?
Store your valuables in uncommon places. Here are 5 uncommon hiding places in your home for cash and other valuables.
1. Not In the Drawer, Behind the Drawer
Drawers typically don’t go all of the way to the back of the cabinet. So, you can tape things like an envelope full of cash, passports, and jewelry to the back of the drawer. Then, even if someone happens to open that drawer, they won’t be able to see anything taped to the back side.
2) In the Potted Plant
Take your cash or jewelry and store them in a small water-tight container, like a reusable food container. Then, bury it in your potted plant.
3) Spare Paint Can
Many homeowners have a dozen or so spare paint cans in their closet, garage, or shed. Empty and clean out one of the cans and fill it with your valuables. There is nothing more inconspicuous than a dirty paint can.
4) Attic Storage
Your attic is not likely to be visited by a burglar because they are usually hard to find and access. So, it is always a good idea to store valuables in attic storage containers. As an extra safety precaution make sure to mark them with labels like “winter clothes” or “old shoes” to throw a burglar off of your scent. Also make sure to store items in your attic in plastic, sealed containers to avoid moisture, heat, and critter issues.
5) The Hallowed-Out Book Trick
There is a reason hidden passages in movies are always unlocked by pulling a book off of a shelf. A bookshelf is a great hiding spot for valuables. All you have to do is build a book-sized box out of plywood. Then, take the spine and cover off an old book and glue it to the plywood. Finally, just slip it in with the rest of the books and your valuables are hiding in plain sight
We have a lot of good preventative recommendations about how to make your home or business less attractive to burglars. It is also important to talk about how to make your home hard to burglarize in the rare occasion that someone does actually break-in while you are away.