Ten Commonly Stolen Home Items
In 2014, it was reported by the FBI that one burglary took place in the U.S. every 18.2 seconds. The total cost of property related crimes in that year alone was estimated to stand at $14.3 billion. While such data is alarming, the findings can be used to help understand what household items thieves most commonly target. Using this data, the following is a list of ten items that are often stolen from homes. The list gives you the upper hand when it comes to the security of your belongings and property. The list also offers simple precautions that you can take to deter potential thieves, information on how to avoid being an easy target and details on who is most at risk for theft and why. With this important information, you can ensure that the trauma of a home burglary is something you are less likely to experience.
Reasons to Burglar Proof Your Home
While most home burglaries do not involve violent incidents or the use of weapons, victims are often left feeling traumatized for long periods of time afterward. The uneasiness occurs because of the loss of property, the uncomfortable thought of having the home’s privacy and safety violated and the fear that the burglar may return. In addition to long-term emotional trauma, violated homeowners also face the fact that most burglaries have no witnesses and thieves usually aim to take away items that are easily concealable, making it unlikely that the perpetrator will ever be found. This means that the chance of recovering stolen possessions is slim and it is hard for the police to step in and make the situation right after a burglary has taken place.
Some Statistics About Burglaries
Most thieves will spend no longer than ten minutes in a victim’s home to avoid the chances of getting caught. This may sound like no time at all, yet the average loss from a burglary in the U.S. is $2.000. These individuals know how to get the maximum value in the minimum timeframe. Additionally, since the average rate of arrest for burglary in the U.S. is quite low, homeowners should not assume retribution.
The Top Ten Commonly Stolen Items
There are various factors to consider when identifying the exact items a thief will attempt to steal, such as how easily accessible the items are in your home and the estimated value of the items. Nevertheless, the following list gives a fairly accurate depiction of the top items that are stolen during most burglaries in the U.S.:
- Jewelry and precious metals
- Small electronics (for example: tablets, smart phones and portable music devices)
- Office equipment
- Household electronics (for example: stereos, televisions and radios)
- Consumables (for example: food or cigarettes)
- Small household goods (for example: kitchenware or ornaments)
- Livestock or pets
In all states, jewelry and precious metals are the most common stolen items of all. The next most commonly stolen item from the list is clothing, then cash, office equipment and finally household electronics. Theft of miscellaneous, seemingly low-value items can occur more commonly than you may consider. For instance, the FBI reported that in 2015, miscellaneous items were the most commonly classified items stolen from U.S. homes.
Who Is Most at Risk From Theft
Detached, single-family homes are considered to be the most likely targets for thieves due to the fact that there are more access points and numerous locations inside the houses where burglars can hide. Furthermore, a home in the center of a block is at higher risk than one on the corner. This may be because there are more likely to be witnesses at a cross-street, including residents in vehicles or pedestrians. Homes that do not have security systems in place are three times as likely to be burgled than those that do. Interestingly, even a sign in the yard announcing an alarm system can be enough to put off a would-be thief, even if there is no further evidence that one exists. Other prime suspects for theft are students and the elderly since students tend to have the latest electronic technology and the elderly may be in possession of easily accessible cash and prescription medications.
How to Prevent Theft
The tried and tested precautions against the theft of your home include a good quality alarm system and routinely secured door and locking mechanisms. Sliding glass patio doors and unlocked windows are classic access routes for burglars but secure locking can be put in place to decrease accessibility. Inside your home, consider concealing valuables in a child’s room or somewhere in your kitchen, as these are the places a burglar is least likely to look for them. Do not leave a spare key out in an easily accessible place, keep all shrubs and bushes well-trimmed and keep entrances and exits well-lit. Another classic error is to have your name on your mailbox, thereby allowing a burglar to look up your details and find out when you will not be home.