What burglars want to steal most from you

home in dissaray after a home theft

RACV Staff

Posted February 28, 2023

In light of an expected rise in burglaries and break in offences, Victorians are advised to remain vigilant about burglary and home security. Here’s what burglars are looking for when they break and enter your home.

After years of declining private residential burglary, new data from the Victorian Crime Statistics Agency reveals that burglaries and break and enter offences increased slightly from 2021 to 2022: the first increase since 2016. Increased cost of living pressures are also expected to drive up some offences in 2023.

Victorians are urged to remain vigilant when it comes to burglaries, says Neighbourhood Watch Victoria. The community organisation has witnessed an evolution in the way burglars are going about their business, with much smaller areas – such as a specific street - becoming a crime hotspot until the offences are brought to the attention of local police and community, forcing the offenders to move onto another area.

With the average time spent on a burglary now just eight minutes according to Neighbourhood Watch Victoria, household items most likely to be stolen are those that are in clear sight, just inside an open door or window.

This small timeframe for burglary has given rise to the theft of objects categorised as CRAVED by Australian Institute of Criminology Deputy Director Dr Rick Brown – those that are Concealable, Removable, Available, Valuable, Enjoyable and Disposable.

What burglars want most from your home 


The old adage ‘cash is king’ still rings true when it comes to what burglars want to steal from homes. 

“Cash is the single most stolen item in burglaries, largely because of its liquidity and lack of traceability,” says Dr Brown. “This may escalate during the summertime, which has been the most common time for burglary to occur, because it coincides with Christmas when the need for cash may be greater and new stealable items are most abundant.”

Car keys 

Over 13,000 vehicles were stolen across Victoria in 2021-22, according to the Crime Statistics Agency (CSA). Many cars were stolen from driveways, garages or carports using the owner's set of keys - which are often easy to find in the home.

Dr Brown says cars “are the single most valuable item people own”, underlining their appeal to thieves. The strong appreciation in used car prices since the onset of the pandemic makes car theft even more lucrative.


Burglars look for jewllery items such as rings, chains and bracelets because they're small, easy to grab and conceal, and can quickly be turned into cash, says Neighbourhood Watch Victoria. Ensuring your precious jewellery is either out of sight in a locked dresser drawer or secured in a safe can help prevent its theft.


person holding car keys

More than half of all cars stolen are done so using the car owner's keys. Image: Getty

Laptops and tablets

Portable tech items such as laptops and tablets that are light, easy to carry and quick to resell on online marketplaces are in vogue with burglars, compared to larger and heavier items like desktop computers that were in-demand in the past.


Passports are another, albeit less common item, that are burgled from homes. “Passports allow the offender to create a false identity that can be used to commit fraud,” says Dr Brown. Try keeping your passport locked away in a drawer or safe.

Mobile phones

Often left on kitchen bench tops, dining tables, bedside tables and other easy-to-see places from windows, mobile phones are easy items to steal and sell on online marketplaces. A ‘find my phone’ app installed on your mobile phone might help you track your phone down via GPS in the event it is stolen.

Online shopping orders

Neighbourhood Watch Victoria believes the growing popularity of online shopping may also be responsible for a rise in the theft of delivery items. Opportunistic thieves may follow delivery vans and grab deliveries from the front door or porch – with little idea of what they are stealing.


three packages sitting on the porch of a home

Delivery thefts are rising off the back of an increase in online shopping. Image: Getty

How to prevent theft in your home

Dr Brown says there are simple precautions households can take to improve home security, while home security technology is also effective at deterring theft. 

“Make sure doors are kept locked even when you’re home, and ideally the perimeter of the property should be kept secure by keeping side gates locked too," Dr Brown says. "Products such as good door and window locks, outside security lights and alarms have all been shown to be effective, especially when used in combination."

Victorians can also learn about where their homes might be at risk of break-in by taking the How Safe Is My Place? quiz, which generates a report with security tips tailored to your home.

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The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. RACV Home Insurance is issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.​