Security · February 10, 2022

Items Most Commonly Stolen from Home During the Pandemic

Although crime has generally plummeted during the pandemic due to the radical disruptions it brought to normal life, some sectors have seen the opposite. This is particularly true in cases where fractured supply chains and high demand meet.

It's also the case at home—where much of life and activity has shifted since the pandemic—and not just through online phishing scams and phone fraud.


Knowing the most commonly stolen items from homes can help you protect yourself from savvy thieves who are taking advantage of pandemic-related changes to our routines to enrich themselves. Here's what you need to know.

Most commonly stolen items from homes

In general, thieves are most interested in stealing items that are easy to take without being detected. Although bicycle, package and automobile theft have always been problems, the changes to our daily routines during the pandemic have provided thieves with more opportunities to nab these commonly stolen items.

Bicycles

The shift to a more outdoor-focused life spurred an increase in bike thefts during the pandemic. This is partially because there are simply more bikes available for thieves to take. But it's also due to pandemic-related supply chain issues, making fewer bikes available for new cyclists and increasing the demand for them. As a result, thieves feel confident that they can sell a stolen bike. This makes it essential to both securely lock and store your bike, as well as keep it more hidden than usual to lessen temptation.

Mail

An increase in online shopping, which became the norm during the pandemic, has resulted in a surge of mail theft. Home delivery orders increased significantly during the pandemic, leading to a lot more unsecured packages on porches than there used to be.

Although most packages don't offer clues to their contents on the outside, thieves may be able to get a sense of whether they're grabbing a new electronic gadget or new clothes simply by shaking the package. Some items come in packaging emblazoned with the brand name, making it easier to identify what's inside. With this in mind, consider organizing a delivery and collection system that doesn't leave packages unsecured in broad daylight.

Automobiles

Stresses in the automobile supply chain have led to an increase in car thefts during the pandemic. Another major attraction has been the precious metals inside—especially the materials that are used to make catalytic converters. Made with platinum, palladium and rhodium, catalytic converters have increased in value over the past year, and thieves can get hundreds of dollars at a scrapyard for each one.

Keyless ignitions have made theft easier, as drivers are more likely to forget their keys in the car. This means car thieves just have to open the door and press the ignition button to drive off with it. Relay boxes also allow thieves to hijack the key fob's signal even if it's inside the house but within signal distance of the car. In this case, how and where you store your key fob can make a difference.

How to prevent burglary

There are several things you can do to protect yourself and your property from thieves.

  • Invest in a good bike lock, and use it appropriately. Thieves can easily cut through a flimsy lock or chain-link fence attached to a bike, so lock it to something too big to cut through and thread the lock through both the wheel and frame. Consider investing in a second lock that can attach the other wheel to the frame.
  • Record your bike's serial number. Take a photo of your bike's serial number and register your wheels at BikeIndex.org to recover your bike more easily if it's stolen.
  • Set up tracking notifications for home deliveries. This can help prevent package theft because you'll know exactly when to expect your delivery.
  • Make sure you're available to receive deliveries. Schedule deliveries for when you'll be home, or have packages delivered to your office or another location where someone's always available.
  • Always lock your car, and make sure the alarm is engaged. If your car doesn't come with an alarm, consider installing one for increased security.

The bottom line

With thefts of these items and more on the rise, it's important to adopt best practices for securing them. It may also be a good idea to talk to a bank representative about property insurance, which can offer greater protection against the impact of theft.

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