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Valuables lesson: Where not to hide your stuff from a burglar

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The last time I was robbed, my laptop was under my bed, my back-up hard drive was stuffed in a kitchen drawer, and my Chanel barettes were slumming it among the pennies in a coin jar.

But everything still managed to walk out the door in the hands of the perpetrator who hit my home while I was at work on a Tuesday afternoon.

From that point on, I began hiding valuables in such obscure places that I still couldn't tell you where my grandmother's tennis bracelet is -- but I know it's in this apartment somewhere.

So with warm weather, lax attitudes and open windows upon us, BrickUnderground asked David Hilgen of Chubb Insurance Companies where we should be tucking our treasures when "under the pillow" and "in the freezer" have become a burglar's trade secret?

According to Hilgen, the top five things most frequently burgled from a home are jewelry, electronics, money, guns, and silverware.

"Burglars are looking for things they know have value--things they can remove quickly from the home and sell quickly on the black market," says Hilgen.

Valuable artwork is seldom targeted because most burglars don't know the difference between a Picasso on the wall and a child's drawing on the refrigerator, nor will they know how to unload the art.

So, keep the Warhol and the fingerpaintings in plain site, but jewelry on a dresser in a jewelry box might as well have a sign that reads, "Valuables. Help yourself."

Similarly, under-the-bed/in-the-freezer,  fake soda cans and fake rocks are merely tantalizing delights for the street creature invading your sanctuary.

Instead, Hilgen recommends these basic measures:
  • Keep the burglars out with a security alarm system. This is the only way to protect your laptop computers and TVs, which are in plain view in the home.
  • Valuable jewelry and other highly costly items should be stashed off site in a safety deposit box.
  • If you must keep valuables or guns in the home, keep them in a permanently mounted combination-lock safe. Even gun collections can be secured inside a safe.

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