What burglars want to steal most from you

collection of easily stolen items: a watch, car keys, rings and a bangle


Posted May 09, 2024

In light of a 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.

The latest data from the Victorian Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) shows burglary and break-and-enter offences in residential locations have increased by 16 per cent in the 12 months from 2022 to 2023. This increase, 21,752 incidences in 2022 to 25,260 in 2023, goes against the downward trend of the past decade. 

Neighbourhood Watch Victoria CEO Bambi Gordon urges Victorians to remain vigilant about their home security. "We've witnessed an evolution in the way burglars are going about their business," she says. "Much smaller areas – such as a specific street – become 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, Gordon says household items that are in clear sight, such as near an open door or window, are most at risk of being stolen.

Here are the top burglary targets in your home.

What burglars want most from your home


Cash is commonly stolen from homes, especially when it's left in easy-to-find or predicatable areas of the house. Never leave cash near exterior doors or in obvious places like kitchen tops and shelving near the doors.

"Cash is a commonly stolen item in burglaries, largely because of its liquidity and lack of traceability," says Gordon.

If you do keep cash at home, consider keeping it in a safe. Also be aware that cash theft may escalate during periods such as Christmas, when the need for cash may be greater.

Car keys

Over 20,000 vehicles were stolen across Victoria in 2023, according to the Crime Statistics Agency (CSA). Cars are often the single most valuable item that people own, underlining their appeal to thieves.

"Many cars are stolen from driveways, garages or carports using the owner's set of keys, which are often easy to find in the home," Gordon says.

If burglars find your car keys, it's all too easy to drive off with your vehicle. Keep your keys hidden and ideally locked away.


Burglars look for jewellery items like rings, pendants and bracelets because they're small, easy to grab and conceal, and can quickly be turned into cash.

Ensuring your precious jewellery is either out of sight in a locked dresser drawer or secured in a home safe can help prevent its theft.


person holding car keys

Many cars are stolen using the car owner's keys. Image: Getty

Laptops and tablets

Portable tech items such as laptops and tablets are attractive to burglars, because they are light, easy to carry and quick to resell on online marketplaces.

Laptops can also contain sensitive information, such as banking details and personal files, that may be associated with identity theft.

When you're not using your laptop or tablet, keep it out of sight and not in an obvious location like your desk or living room table. Regularly back up your data to an external hard drive or cloud storage device so that you don't lose your files in the event of a burglary. You can also install tracking software to help police locate your tech if stolen.


Passports are another, albeit less common item, that are stolen from homes.

"Passports allow the offender to create a false identity that can be used to commit fraud," says Gordon. "They can help criminals open fraudulent accounts, apply for credit cards, or even enter a country illegally."

It's important to safeguard your passport by keeping it in a secure location, like a locked safe or hidden drawer. Immediately report a stolen passport to the relevant authorities to protect yourself from potential identify theft or fraud.

Mobile phones

Mobile phones are easy to steal and sell on online marketplaces. They're highly portable and have a high resale value, making them an attractive target for burglars.

They also contain a wealth of personal information, such as social media accounts, banking apps, and email access - all of which a criminal could use to commit extortion, identity theft, or fraud.

"All too often, mobile phones are left on kitchen bench tops, dining tables, bedside tables and other easy-to-see places from windows," Gordon says.

To reduce the risk of your mobile phone being stolen, keep it out of sight at home or keep it with you if you go upstairs or outside. If you're not using your phone, consider putting it in a  secure locked drawer.

It's essential to also take precautions against a stolen mobile phone being used to access your information, such as using strong passwords or biometric authentication methods, and remote tracking and wiping features.

Online shopping orders

"The growing popularity of online shopping may also be responsible for a rise in the theft of delivery items," Gordon says.

Opportunistic thieves may follow delivery vans and grab deliveries from the front door – with little idea of what they are stealing.

Packages left unattended on doorsteps or in mailboxes are easy targets for opportunistic thieves. They can quickly grab the packages and flee the scene without drawing much attention.

To prevent theft of online shopping orders, request that packages be delivered with a signature required for receipt. This ensures that someone is present to accept the delivery. Use the tracking services provided by shipping companies to monitor the status of your deliveries, so you know when packages are expected to arrive.

If you can't be at home to accept your package, use secure delivery options like a parcel locker, local post office, or a trusted neighbour who can accept the delivery on your behalf.

You can also install security cameras around your property to deter thieves and capture footage of any suspicious activity. Visible cameras can act as a deterrent, while recorded footage can be helpful for identifying suspects in the case of theft.


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

Victorians can also learn about where their home might be vulnerable to crime by taking the How Safe Is My Place? quiz, which generates a report with security tips tailored to your home.

There are plenty of simple precautions that households can take to improve home security, such as making sure doors are kept locked, securing the perimeter of your property, and investing in security systems like sensor lights and home alarms.


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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. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.