Burglars know exactly what to look for when breaking and entering. Once inside, the most common areas are targeted to find these items quickly and quietly.
When deciding what to keep in a home safe and which areas of the property to protect, it’s equally important to know what burglars don’t steal as knowing what they look out for.
Keep reading to learn what items burglars do and don’t steal, plus tips on how to protect a property against break-ins.
Table of Contents
What Do Burglars NOT Steal?
The following items tend to be safe during a break-in of an occupied residential home:
1. Large electronics
Burglars primarily target electronics during a break-in. However, very large electronics are not usually stolen, like a large home cinema setup.
Even though these items are valuable, they are too bulky for most solo burglars to carry without being noticed.
2. Fitted electronics
Burglars prefer a fast break-in. Therefore, fitted electronics and appliances are generally not stolen. Removing them from the walls also creates too much noise.
For example, a surround sound system fitted in cabinets or to a wall takes too long to steal.
3. Household appliances
Any household appliance, including washing machines, tumble dryers, and dishwashers, is not a target during a break-in. These items are heavy and have little resale value.
The only time these items might be stolen is if the property is vacant and looted. The metal from the appliances will be sold by criminals for scrap money.
Sentences are usually more severe when burglars steal guns from a property as well as residential items. Because of this, few criminals steal guns from homes.
5. Musical instruments
Few burglars need to steal musical instruments. They are bulky, heavy, and hard to carry solo. Unless antique, they don’t have a particularly high resale value compared to other items found in the home.
6. Food and alcohol
Food and other perishables are unlikely to be stolen from a home. Burglars are more likely to target liquor stores, bars, cafés, and supermarkets than a residential property if they want to steal food or drink.
7. Non-valuable household items
Burglars prefer to steal items that offer the highest return. Therefore, things that are or look expensive are a primary target. Few criminals would steal anything in a residential home that isn’t of high value.
For example, kettles, microwaves, air fryers, and coffee machines. Some burglars will steal these items, but they aren’t as valuable as laptops, phones, or Bluetooth speakers.
Flatpacks aside, household furniture is often expensive. Particularly when it’s made from real, solid wood and other high quality materials, its resale value is high.But most furniture, like sofas, dining room tables, chairs, and bookshelves, is not easily stolen. Taking these items is loud and requires a large van to transport.
Most burglars are not so well-prepared, preferring to slip items like cash, purses, keys, and jewelry into a rucksack instead.
What Burglars DO Steal
Because criminals want a quick, undetected break-in, burglars are more likely to steal small, valuable items.
Ideally, these items are small enough to fit inside a bag or coat pocket without drawing attention when they leave.
The most common items stolen in a burglary include:
- Electronics, including TVs, laptops, computers, cameras, and phones
- Keys, including car and house keys
- Expensive jewelry and watches
- Designer bags, shoes, and clothing
- Purses and wallets
- Passports and ID cards
- Proof of address
- Christmas presents
If a property is vacant with no contents, burglars target fitted items for scrap, like:
- Copper pipes
- Yard fencing in good condition
- Steel or iron gates and garage doors
- Ceramic toilets, baths, and sinks
- Kitchen units and expensive worksurfaces (like marble or stone)
- Household appliances, like ovens, dishwashers, and washing machines
- Flooring, like hardwood floors or carpet
What Should I Keep in a Home Safe?
Safes are best used to store emergency cash, guns, and valuables.
Valuables kept inside a safe also include passports, ID cards, spare car keys, expensive jewelry, birth certificates, title deeds, wills, healthcare documents, and memory cards.
Guns and other weapons should also be kept in a home safe. This prevents children from finding the guns by accident or intruders from using them during a home invasion.
What attracts burglars?
Burglars target properties with a lack of security and easy access points. Or homes that are obviously vacant.
Open windows, no visible cameras, overgrown shrubbery, no lighting, no cars on the driveway, and overflowing mailboxes attract burglars the most.
Houses are more of a target than apartments due to the accessible entry points, likefront doors, back doors, and ground floor windows.
What really deters burglars?
Criminals don’t want to be caught in the act when attempting a home invasion, so the best deterrent is a visible home security camera.
Similarly, other reliable burglar deterrents include alarms and motion-detection flood lights. These alert homeowners to the presence of an intruder and scare them off from progressing any further.
Other ways to deter burglars from breaking in include installing physical barricades.
For example, high fencing, anti-climb paint, spiked boundaries, and thorny plants. When installed on the property boundaries, these physically prevent burglars from jumping over gates or fences.
Where do burglars look in a home?
Bedrooms, living areas, hallways, and home offices are the most visited rooms during a home break-in. Living areas and home offices often contain tablets, laptops, TVs, and other electronics for intruders to steal.
Burglars look in bedroom wardrobes and dressing tables to find expensive clothing or jewelry. Kids’ bedrooms are also a target due to the toys and gadgets that may lie inside.
Burglars also look for keys, wallets, and handbags in hallways, kitchens, or lounges.
Do curtains deter burglars?
Burglars target properties they know contain valuables. This knowledge usually comes frompeering into windows to look for valuables before choosing to enter. They also do this to check if anyone is home.
Closing blinds and curtains at night prevents burglars from being able to see what’s inside the property. However, keeping curtains drawn during the daytime isn’t pleasant. Plus, it makes the property look vacant, which is also risky.
Privacy curtains are best installed if the property is vacant during the day. Having privacy curtains allows light into the property without making it easy for criminals to see what’s inside.
Most household items are safe during a break-in. Burglars tend to target small items that hold high value. Unless the house is unprotected and presumed empty, intruders won’t generally go rooting around for too long inside the house.
Instead, they steal valuables that are easy to spot and grab. That’s why phones, purses, handbags, wallets, cash, and car keys shouldn’t be left close to the door.
When a property is vacant, all items are up for grabs. Criminals can easily bring large vans and other equipment when they know no one is home or monitoring the property with home security cameras.