What Are the Most Stolen Items from Homes?
It’s a common nightmare: You get home from vacation or work to discover someone has broken in and stolen your valuables. For many people, this scene is all too real. According to the FBI Crime Report, more than $13.6 billion worth of property was reported stolen in 2016. And with only 27.6 percent of property recovered, most victims are left shaken and angry—and missing irreplaceable items.
Stay one step ahead of thieves by understanding what they want to steal. Here are the most common items stolen in burglaries:
Cash is the main reason burglars break into homes because it’s easy to spend—and unlike your credit cards, it’s untraceable. Hide your cash in a home safe, and then bolt your home safe to the floor for added security. Burglars spend just eight to 12 minutes inside homes and will be less likely to make off with the whole safe if it’s adhered to the wall or floor.
If a thief can’t find cash in your home, he or she will rummage through closets and drawers looking for jewelry. Whether you own gold, pearls or diamonds, a thief can easily sell your precious metal to numerous jewelry or pawn shops in town. In fact, nearly $1.4 billion worth of jewelry and precious metals was stolen in 2016, according to the FBI.
An attractive haul for any burglar, clothing is money hanging in your closet. Americans spend an average of $12 billion annually on clothes and shoes—and many burglars will steal items that aren’t their size or style to sell for cash. Designer apparel, vintage furs, and basketball sneakers are not just fashion essentials—they’re an opportunity for thieves.
The FBI cites locally stolen motor vehicles as the fourth-most stolen item from homes. A car isn’t always the easiest thing to steal, especially for burglars who want to keep a low profile. However, thieves can be tempted by spare keys forgotten on the kitchen table or dangling from a hook on the wall.
Office equipment—including laptops and iPads—is easily available to burglars. Many people use these items throughout their home, and all too often, a laptop sits innocently on a desk or sofa. Thieves can easily steal these lightweight, expensive items for personal use or money at the pawn shop. Never store sensitive information on your laptop—instead, keep important materials on an external hard drive in a safe.
TVs, radios and electronics
Most households have at least one television, and while a 75” TV on the wall isn’t a convenient item for an amateur burglar, a swift thief can easily make off with it before the police arrive. Radios, video game consoles, and video games are also vulnerable to theft. Record the serial numbers on your larger items, and store them with smaller electronics inside your home safe.
Many people understand the importance of locking their guns securely in a gun safe. When in the wrong hands, firearms cease to be self-defense or hunting tools and become weapons a thief or child can misuse. That is why it’s crucial to take proper safety precautions and lock firearms and ammunition inside a gun safe. If guns are easily accessible to a burglar, they can be sold illegally for cash.