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The burglar's shopping basket – how to keep your property out of it

Knowing what is on a burglars shopping list can help prevent your property ending up in their basket!

It’s not something we like to think about, but no matter how many anti-burglar devices, alarms, chains or locks you install around your home – sometimes it’s impossible to keep those burglars out. What you can do however is arm yourself with the knowledge of which items are most likely to be stolen in the event that your home is robbed. With this knowledge you can put some precautions into place to prevent the theft of these items, to stop your things from being sold on the black market, or even recovered after the theft has occurred.

What used to be coveted by burglars, compared with what is coveted now has changed over time. Where you’d see the typical burglar balancing a giant TV screen or DVD player on his way out, now thieves are most likely to grab smaller valuables such as tablets and mobile phones.

Dr Rick Brown, Deputy of Research at the Australian Institute of Criminology uses an acronym to describe what is most likely to be taken from you home. “There’s an acronym used within criminology – CRAVED, which stands for concealable, removable, available, valuable, enjoyable and disposable. Those are the features of the items that tend to be stolen as hot products in the market.” 

So hold onto your valuables – below is a list of items most likely to be taken from your home due to the ease of carrying these items out and how easy they are to sell.

Cars and keys

As it’s much more difficult these days for a burglar to start a car without the keys, your car keys are one of those more coveted items now. Keep both primary and spare sets out of sight or out of easy reach of burglars so they can’t run off with your car too.


Electronics have always been popular with burglars, however some items such as TV’s have gone down in price, therefore are not as commonly stolen anymore. However, due to their compact size for theft and ability to fetch a good price, laptops are very often stolen. They are also easy to grab for the robber to make a speedy run for it. Your stolen laptop may now get re-sold online quite easily, rather than in the past being resold at pawn shops or privately. To increase chances of return it’s a good idea to get items such as tablets and laptops engraved so a new buyer can identify them as stolen, return to you, and also identify the thief.

Money, money, money

Cash has always been the number one item that burglars search for. Even though as consumers we are using cards and pay-wave technologies to pay for things, burglars will still always search for cash as it’s an easy source of ‘income’ for them. Watch where you leave your purse or handbag within your home, and if you do keep large amounts of cash at home – ensure you keep them in a well-hidden and secure safe.


Perhaps the most traditionally and consistently stolen valuable is jewellery. Not only is it easy to grab and go, it’s also easy to re-sell, especially if it features precious gems, stones, silver, or gold. As many burglaries are opportunistic, ensure your doors and windows are always locked to prevent anyone from getting in easily and grabbing those jewels. Anything highly valuable should be kept in a home safe.


Your mobile phone used to be further down the most commonly stolen item list, however has leapt into the top five over the past 10 years due to better technologies and multi-use abilities making them wanted items.

Ensure you have a “find my phone” application downloaded onto your phone so it can be tracked if lost or stolen. Examples include - Find my iPhone for iPhone and Find My Lost Phone for Android. Also don’t leave your phone lying around, keep it with you or close by - away from open windows and doors.

As much as we can try to prevent crime, we can never completely eradicate or avoid it. Ensure that your home contents insurance is up to date with any new items so you are able to replace them if you do experience a burglary. For further information on insurance for your home contents, check out our website.