Theft Prone Items: In And Around The Home


 Theft Prone Items: In And Around The Home

Talking about theft-prone items is something like talking about storms. Everyone's had different experiences and everyone can tell you a story. But, nevertheless, it's good to talk about these things because chances are if you're reading this post, you've experienced something and there are probably others who would benefit from your experience.

So here it goes. We'll try to cover as many problem areas as possible without going into excruciating detail or repeating ourselves too much...

1) Jewelry and Watches: Keep them in a safe place where they can't be seen clearly through the window or door of the house when someone walks by outside.

Remember, your jewelry and watches are probably the most desired of all your possessions. This does not necessarily mean that large quantities of jewelry are more in danger than small ones, but the larger quantity you have, the more time will be spent concentrating on them.

Nobody is going to put a ladder to your house for a few hundred dollars worth of watches and rings. But they might for a lot more than that! So concentrate on keeping those items hidden from view outside. And be sure you don't keep anything visible in or around your car while it's parked outside or inside any other building where someone can break through the window and get it without being seen by anyone else.

Also, don't keep your jewelry in places where it can be seen through the windows of your house from outside at night. This is one of those reverse stake-out situations that, unfortunately, works well for the thief.

If you have a very valuable collection and/or a high-risk business/occupation, you might want to consider keeping it in a safe deposit box at the bank. At least this way if something gets taken, you'll be sure to recover it eventually.

2) Antiques: Too much time and money is spent on antiques because most people think they are the best investment they can make for their money. But again, the best way to protect them is to keep them out of sight.

There's no guarantee that you can avoid putting these valuables in plain view. It might be possible to keep them out of sight by keeping them as part of your set dressing (the d├ęcor items that are on display all over the house) or in a corner where they are not visible from outside.

3) Computers: This one is easier than you think it is because there are so many ways people can get into your house and burglarize it. The first and easiest way is through window screens.

By using a small blade or screwdriver, a thief can carefully loosen the screen until he can pull it off. They can then use the same tool to pull the window up just enough to slip their hand through and unlock the screen around the window. If you want, you can provide some resistance to this type of break-in by using a pry bar or wood block to keep at least one side of your windows from being opened in this manner.

The other common way that thieves enter houses is through front and back doors. For front doors, they simply knock on doors asking for help or pretending to have been sent from a charitable organization, such as The Salvation Army (though they don't usually operate in residential areas).

If the door is opened, the thieves can push their way through. You should reinforce your door with a deadbolt or security chain and lock your door from the inside so they will have to break in through your windows (which are more likely to be broken in by those who are inside with you) or somehow get past your dogs because they'll often bark if someone knocks on the front door.

This may sound like a lot of effort for one burglar, but they're all over every neighborhood. They've been taught that you don't expect them to come back with a truck and load up what's left behind after their last theft, so they are ready for whatever approach works best.

They can get in through a window screen as described above, or if you have a front door that opens into the room where your computer is kept, they'll definitely go for that. If they manage to get inside, they may start by looking for valuables such as jewelry or cash.

Once they find these items, the thief may be able to leave through your open window and use that unlocked screen to re-enter and exit through the same way. That's why I call it "reverse stake out." One thief will watch (through a window) while another one breaks into your house. You don't have much of a chance against either one of them if you're not aware of their presence. I've seen this exact same thing happen in the houses of people who thought by putting a bar across their door, they were protecting themselves.

(See my post "Don't use a screen door to protect your house from burglaries.")

In the back, thieves can also get into the house through a patio door or by breaking away the glass over that area and lowering themselves down. They may also try to break into your house through an outside doggy door that connects directly to your house so you can keep your dogs in one place without having to walk them on-leash every time you want them to go outside.

Thieves will often use surveillance cameras and motion detectors installed by the police. It can't be overstated how important it is to always disable these systems and move them out of your house or even take them away if you have them inside.

When you are home, make sure to lock all doors and windows, especially outside patio doors. I've seen burglars crawl through our patio door before and they were still able to get all of our valuables because the door didn't close completely behind their bodies.

Keep your electronics in a locked, out-of-the-way area where someone could not easily access them. Make sure that your family members know not to ever leave these things out where a thief can see them.

Most computers are now so small that they could easily fit inside one of those big, messy closets where they look as if they should belong. In fact, many computers are designed to fit perfectly in those spaces.

But if you do have electronics you want to keep in the open, you should pay particular attention to where they are located and how visible they may be from outside of your house. You may be able to hide a computer by strategically placing it somewhere on the floor or high up on a shelf behind furniture, so boxes or chairs strategically placed around it will give it an extra layer of protection from prying eyes.

Burglars can easily look through a window or go around the side of your house and then disable all of these security devices to get in.

Keep your valuables out of sight on a wall safe where they won't be so easy to see or steal. And make sure that you keep your house locked up all the time, even if you are inside with your family. If someone breaks in, you want to be able to protect yourself from one thief because if he takes what he wants, another one will be waiting outside to take whatever is left behind. Burglars can often sense when they have already done enough damage so they won't risk risking being caught by entering again when it's too risky.


Your home is your safe haven where you should feel secure, not vulnerable. You should never trust the security provided by a burglar alarm system because they're so easy to break into, record false activity onto them, or disable with infrared beams and motion sensors.

Never rely on police as your only defense because their presence will only make burglars bolder and more aggressive in attacking your house. Surround yourself with dogs who love to bark at anyone who walks through the front door and will alert you if someone is trying to sneak around the outside of your house. Make sure they're trained to attack if they see someone on the other side of their invisible fence or even some person walking past it.

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