5 things burglars want to steal from your home (and how you can stop them)

It takes the average burglar only 8 to 12 minutes to break in, ransack your home, and take off with your valuables. So we've got a list of 5 commonly stolen items and tips to help you better protect them (and keep burglars at bay!).

1. cash

Burglars tend to begin in the master bedroom because cash is likely to be kept there — and often in the same places. Avoid the obvious spots — like a drawer in your nightstand, dresser drawers or in a closet, or under your mattress — as burglars know them all too well.

Protection tip

If you do have to keep a substantial amount of cash in your house rather than the bank, consider hiding it in a less likely place, like under a trash can or in a messier room (just remember that it's there of course!).

While it's never a good idea to have a large sum of money lying around, you could consider keeping a small amount in one of the obvious spots for a burglar to easily find. By doing so, it might prevent them from tearing your home apart looking for where you've really kept your money.

It's also a good idea to store cash in a safe (get one that can be bolted down, if possible, because burglars will likely try to take a safe on the run if it can't be opened there and then). Even jars of change are likely to be stolen, because they could contain collector coins or be worth quite a bit in cash.

2. jewelry

The majority of successful home burglaries involve the theft of jewelry. So while it makes sense that you'd want to have jewelry on display (and that's easy to access), a beautiful jewelry box on top of your dresser containing everything from thrift store scores to family heirlooms is like a flashing neon sign to burglars.

Protection tip

Because jewelry is usually conspicuous in the master bedroom, a wise place to store your nice watch and priceless hand-me-downs is in a safe — preferably one kept in a different room. Though it might be easier to stash jewelry in a dresser drawer or on a shelf in your bedroom closet, those are exactly the places a burglar thinks your wearable treasures are likely to be hidden.

3. video games and electronics

Aside from the master bedroom, the other room most likely to be looted is the living room. This is typically the room where you keep the fancy TV, maybe some video game consoles … none of which are likely to be locked up or bolted down. That's what makes it such an appealing grab-bag — it's simple for burglars to nab stacks of pricey video games, consoles, and expensive accessories.

Protection tip

The biggest mistake renters and homeowners can make with costly video games and consoles is to leave them lying around when they're not in use. But because most of us tend to do just that, it's a good idea to keep video games in a locked drawer or even an inconspicuous drawer in your coffee table. When it comes to your TV, consider mounting it to your wall if possible. It's a lot less likely that a burglar will try to pry a TV from a wall on their way out.

4. laptops

Whether you rent or own your home, chances are you've got at least one laptop there. And like with so many other electronic devices, your laptop is probably housed on a desk, planted on the couch, or even left on the kitchen table — all places where your shiny investment is in plain sight.

Protection tip

Laptops are portable by nature and promise burglars a lot of cash for very little effort. That's why it's important to stow your laptops when you leave the house, rather than leaving them in convenient but noticeable spots. One of the smartest things you can do to hide your laptop when you're away from home is to disguise it. Consider keeping it in an airtight bag and wrapping it in a towel and storing it in a linen closet, or wrapping it in a shirt or sweater and stacking it in a pile of clothes.

5. your identity

Burglars can take and tarnish your identity in a few different ways, some sneakier than others. For instance, if a burglar gets their hands on your laptop, that could mean access to your banking info, saved passwords, and more. That's why it's safest to password-protect your laptop, even if you live alone.

Protection tip

In addition to sensitive information stored on your laptop, reconsider where you might normally keep your credit cards, birth certificate, and passport. Skip the nightstand and desk drawers; try keeping cards and records in sealed padded mailers with misleading labels (example: "pet vaccination records" or "dental X-ray") or putting them in business envelopes and taping them beneath your kitchen sink. And if you don't have a shredder at home, cut up all of those pesky credit card and membership offers and recycle them pronto.

protect your place with homeowners insurance

Now that you've got tons of preventive measures to make your place a safe haven, outfit yourself with the best protection possible: renters insurance or homeowners insurance. Both provide a wide variety of coverages to keep your belongings safe, and your homeowners policy can even provide identity theft expense coverage as an option. What's more, our licensed agents are available at these times to help you with any of your insurance queries or concerns.

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