Nearly half of burglaries are spur of the moment and “opportunistic”

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Only one in five of burglaries are scoped and planned, whereas nearly half of home break-ins are opportunistic.

A survey found that bedrooms and living rooms are the first rooms to be targeted, whereas the bathroom is least likely to be targeted.

It also found that the morning school run is one of the most popular times to break into someone’s home, with respondents saying it presented a window of opportunity.

The survey,  by the specialist insurer Ripe Valuables, reveals how homes are broken into, which rooms are targeted and which deterrents are most likely to prevent burglaries.

In collecting this data, Ripe Valuables teamed up with Unlock, a specialist charity for people with criminal convictions, to question convicted burglars.



Here are some of the ways respondents said they would break into homes:

  • “I’d get into the house through the roof or through walls using tools.”
  • “I would target any open doors or windows. If none were open, I would deglaze a Liniar uPVC window or force it open using a hammer.”
  • “I would target houses with the windows left open in the summer.”


In terms of deterrents, CCTV and house alarms are most likely to put someone off breaking into a home, with 56% of respondents rating these deterrents as most likely to discourage them. This was followed by dogs, outdoor lights, bolt locks and large heavy doors.

As part of the study, several respondents were interviewed to provide additional insights into these findings.

One of the respondents, Tom*, said: “I would break into a mix of properties, residential and commercial. Residential burglaries were completely opportunistic – parents going off on the school run meant you normally had 20 minutes to nip in and get whatever you can carry.

“I would normally target small electrical items, watches, cash and jewellery – basically, anything that can fit in your bag.

“I would also break into properties I’d already burgled. You already know the layout of the property and unless they’ve upgraded their security, they’re an easy target. You feel very safe in a property that you know.”

With the above statistics in mind, Ripe Valuables has put together a list of top tips to deter would-be burglars:



  • Make sure you have a working burglar alarm.
  • Don’t leave your valuables on the mantelpiece, in view of a window, or on a side table in your hallway, where they are most visible.
  • Consider putting your valuables in a home safe.

John Woosey, managing director of Ripe Valuables, said: “The results of this survey highlight the need for people to be vigilant and take every necessary precaution to protect their belongings.

“However, even by taking these precautions, you can’t always prevent your home being broken into and valuable items stolen. That’s why it’s essential to protect your valuables with specialist insurance.”

*Not the respondent’s real name



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