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5 Surprising Items That Burglars Target

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Many people have a general idea of what to secure in case of a burglary. For example, our Holiday Home Security Wish List pointed out the need to hide evidence of expensive electronics. Burglars can turn these items around for quick cash after leaving your home. Additionally, the section of our site devoted to residential safes focuses on the importance of keeping cash, credit cards, and other small valuables away from intruders. However, burglars often surprise homeowners with what they take while in a house. In this post, we focus on securing the many surprising items that burglars target.

We’ll begin with a look at how burglars target clothes and shoes, which customers rarely make an effort to secure. From there, we will look at a common household item that burglars can target specifically to sell. We’ll also look at how leaving spare keys in convenient locations can threaten your home security. Medication and liquor often appeal to thieves for both their worth on the street and for personal use. Therefore, we’ll spend some time focusing on securing areas that house these two items. Finally, we’ll look at how burglars can use items other than credit cards to put your financial security in danger. Let’s begin with a look at securing your most valuable “wearable” possessions!

A silver watch on a desk

Many homeowners leave fairly valuable accessories such as watches out in the open, making them easy targets during a break-in.

Valuable Wearables

Of course, homeowners know to hide sentimental and expensive jewelry. However, other clothes and accessories also make great finds for thieves. Nice watches, for example, often get left on nightstands and dressers for the taking. We can say the same about designer handbags and purses. Homes that house athletic-minded residents often contain expensive basketball shoes or running shoes. Footwear with name-brand recognition proves a huge heist for a burglar that knows the street value of these items. Keeping these valuables in a safe can go a long way towards hiding them and securing them from burglars.

Additionally, consider keeping suits and expensive dress clothes in a different area of the home than everyday work and casual wear. Stumbling across an expensive suit or evening gown can make a thief’s day. It can also cheat a homeowner out of an item that will cost hundreds of dollars to replace. Putting these clothes in a well-secured, hard-to-find storage area can keep them away from thieves rifling quickly through a home. Let’s take a look at another one of our surprising items that burglars target that most homeowners take for granted!

Copper Pipes and Wires

Not many homeowners make as big of an effort to secure their wires and pipes as they do to secure their electronics and valuables. However, copper wires and piping can demand a relatively hefty price in the scrap metal market. Copper’s popularity helps keep its value consistent. Furthermore, companies that buy scrap metal do not generally inquire where it came from when making purchases. This allows scrap metal thieves to sell their stolen goods without falling under suspicion of foul play. In addition, homeowners have to replace any copper pipe or wire that gets stolen — often with more copper. This can create a source of recurring revenue for criminals, especially in homes that are empty because they are rental properties, or homes whose owners do a lot of traveling.

A pile of copper pipe

Burglars can easily sell copper pipe to scrap metal collectors, making it a popular item to target.

We recommend installing high-quality locking hardware to make basements more difficult to breach. Doors leading to hatchway stairs often do not have a deadbolt installed. Homeowners do not have to look at these doors much, and do not update the locks on these doors as often as they do with doors on main floors. We often find decades-old lock hardware securing these very important areas. Additionally, installing burglar alarm equipment in the basement can help secure your copper as well. Basement barrier bars and glass break detectors can create an instant alarm when a burglar attempts to break in through a basement window. Now, let’s look at another security danger that surprises some of our customers.

Spare Keys

As we pointed out in our post on Improving Car Security at Home, homeowners will often have a tough time noticing missing keys after a burglary. This can lead to major trouble down the road. Thieves in possession of your car keys or house keys can easily cause more damage down the line. To address this issue, start by keeping your spare keys in secure locations. Know how many sets of keys you have and exactly where you keep them. By doing so, you will make it easy for yourself to account for missing keys due to a burglary or even a contractor or “friend of a friend” with sticky fingers.

Additionally, you can take steps to make stolen or missing keys ineffective for those who have them. Re-keying your home’s locks will render old house keys useless. Car doors and ignitions can also be re-keyed to make cars require new mechanical locks to operate them. Additionally, your car’s computer can be re-set to disable all existing electronic keys, and made to work with new keys instead. Next, let’s look at how you can secure some of your home’s most sought-after and vulnerable items.

Liquor and Medicine Cabinets

Liquor and prescription medication make popular targets for thieves. As we pointed out earlier, thieves will often both sell and use prescription drugs and alcohol. Therefore, homeowners should prioritize securing areas of the home that contain them. If you have — or have been considering installing — home surveillance equipment, then using a camera to monitor your liquor and medicine cabinets can help you secure these areas. This especially helps if you have medicine for an elderly family member who requires an in-home nurse.

An overflowing container of pills

Prescription medication makes one of the most popular targets for burglars inside a home.

Additionally, placing alarm sensors on the doors of cabinets or closets that hold alcohol and medication can alert you to activity in these areas. As we pointed out in our 5 Unconventional Uses for Contact Sensors, adding security sensors to interior doors can create notifications alerting you to activity. Our interactive cellular customers can take advantage of these security alerts and track activity around their homes.

In order to create the alerts, we simply install our cellular dialer powered by Alarm.com. Cellular dialers provide a more secure method of alarm monitoring than traditional phone lines. Additionally, our cell dialer allows you to control your alarm system remotely with a smartphone and create alerts when certain doors of your home are opened, regardless of whether or not your security system is armed. This gives you the ability to effectively secure your medicine and alcohol cabinets at all times. Now, let’s examine one more item that burglars look for in their victims’ homes.

Financial Records and Tax Documents

Most of our customers make plans to hide or otherwise secure credit cards and checkbooks. However, burglars also seek out personal paperwork and tax documents, especially around this time of year. Clever thieves can use peoples’ identity to receive others’ tax returns. Additionally, these documents often contain social security numbers and other highly sensitive information. We recommend keeping these items in a safe and treating them the way you would treat cash, credit cards, or expensive jewelry. If you do not have a safe, find as well-hidden a location in your home as possible for them. All too often, homeowners fail to recognize and take steps to address securing these documents and find themselves in a difficult situation.

Creating a Plan to Secure Your Own Items That Burglars Target

We hope that this post has shone some light on the surprising items that burglars target. While you should always prioritize securing your valuables, losing the items described in this post can create a difficult — and sometimes even dangerous — situation. If you have any security-related questions after reading this post, we encourage you to contact us. We will happily answer your questions relating to this post or security in general. Additionally, we provide free site surveys for homeowners. While on site, we can help you identify any areas of your home that you should take extra caution to secure. Together, we can create a plan to keep you, your valuables, and your family as safe and secure as possible!