What burglars want to steal most from you

home in dissaray after a home theft

Alice Piper

Posted February 15, 2022


Despite falling offences, Victorians are advised to remain vigilant about burglary. Here’s what burglars are looking for when they break and enter your home.  
 
There’s good news for homeowners with new ways of living and working contributing to a fall in burglaries and break and enter offences.

Data from the Victorian Crime Statistics Agency reveals that 31,621 burglaries and break and enter offences were recorded in Victoria in 2021, down from 36,504 in 2020 and 40,217 in 2019.

The reason for the decline in home burglaries, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology Deputy Director Dr Rick Brown, is “there are more people home during the day, and the second-hand goods market is not as lucrative as it once was, so that the risks may outweigh the rewards”. 

Despite the fall in offences, Victorians are urged to remain vigilant when it comes to burglaries, says community organisation Neighbourhood Watch Victoria.

The 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 hot spot 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 totaling 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.

The small timeframe for burglary has given rise to the theft of objects categorised as CRAVED by Dr Brown – those that are Concealable, Removable, Available, Valuable, Enjoyable and Disposable. 

What burglars want most from your home 

Cash

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

Around 10,000 cars were stolen across Victoria in the year-ending June 2021, with more than half of all cars stolen from driveways, garages or carports using the owners' set of keys - which are often easily found in the home. 

Dr Brown says cars “are the single most valuable item people own,” underlining their appeal to thieves, while the rapid appreciation in used car prices since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic makes car theft even more lucrative.  

Jewellery 

Jewellery is one item thieves look for because it’s small, easy to grab 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 go a long way in preventing its theft. 

 

person holding car keys

More than half of all cars stolen are done so using the owners' 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 highly sought-after in the past. Subscribing to contents insurance is one of the best solutions for dealing with the risk of burglary.

Passports

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 it 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 households can take simple precautions to ensure their homes are safe, while new and innovative security technology now empowers Victorians to keep a closer eye on their contents while away from their place of residence. 

“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.”

"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,” Dr Brown concludes. 

Safeguard yourself in the event of theft with RACV Home Insurance.
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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.​