Most residential break-ins occur during the day, when the house is likely to be empty. And since home burglaries usually take place in 10 minutes or less, a thief will likely be in and out, grabbing their top items as fast as they can. So is your home a target? Find out as we trace a home burglar’s probable path through your house.

Master bedroom (and bathroom)

They’re going straight to where the best stuff is  cash and prescription medicines.

Cash is popular because it’s, of course, easy to spend and totally untraceable. And it seems homeowners have plenty of it, considering that nearly 30 percent say they keep savings of cash on hand. Of that 30 percent, more than half stash it in a “secret location.” Which is why a thief’s clean sweep often includes your underwear drawer.

The master bedroom also is the place where you are most likely to store your fine jewelry, designer clothing, and handbags. And it’s quite possibly where you keep your luggage, making it that much easier for a home burglar to cart out your valuables.

Your bathroom is a hotspot too. Prescription drug theft increased 350 percent between 2007 and 2010 and has been skyrocketing since.

Kids’ bedrooms

You might reason that shifting your valuables to the kids’ room is a wise decision. But a thief would probably stop there next, considering that the average teen’s room may be chock-full of tech, from laptops to tablets to gaming systems  all easy to grab and carry. Some kids’ rooms also contain sports collectibles, which can potentially fetch a high price.

The kitchen

The kitchen is synonymous with the “junk drawer,” another potential hiding spot for prescriptions and cash. And believe it or not, the freezer can be a popular hiding spot for stashing cash or jewelry. And in many homes, that’s also where the liquor cabinet is, offering “liquid gold” in the form of alcohol and fine wines.

The office

Many homeowners keep laptops and other computer devices in the office. And some have cash lurking in a drawer, along with collectibles lining the shelves. But there’s something else of interest to home burglars — your identity, otherwise known as the “gift that keeps on giving.” Whether you keep your financial life in paper files or computer files, a savvy hacker might be able to figure out your password (especially if it’s the common “123456” or “password”) and have instant access to your bank accounts, not to mention your credit information.

Living room

On their way out, a home burglar will probably take a gander at the living room or den, sizing up your art collection and grabbing additional electronic items, possibly even your TV, depending on their getaway plan.

Garage

One of the most common exit points (and entry) for a break-in is the garage. While inside, vandals will often scan for expensive hand tools or collectibles. And they might consider taking off on your bike.

With that, their job is done … and yours is just beginning.

How to protect yourself

A home invasion can feel very personal. Your best bet is to try to stop it before it happens by using best practices, such as:

  • Not posting your whereabouts on social media
  • Installing an alarm system
  • Enlisting neighborhood support

And make sure you protect your biggest investments with the homeowners (or renters) coverage that’s right for you. Get a quote today.

Safe and smart | Home and garden

about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.