Burglaries are on the increase around Spain so it helps to know what thieves are after to avoid offering an easy target.
Take Catalonia, for example. Burglaries increased 10% in the region last year, although the good news for holiday-home owners is that almost 80% of robberies involved primary housing. Second homes don’t tend to contain the objects that most thieves are after.
Last summer the two flats above me in central Barcelona were burgled, and a few months ago I was woken up at four in the morning by a loud banging noise. It took me a while to work out that thieves were in the flat downstairs trying to hammer the safe out of the wall (see picture above).
Over Christmas a good friend of mine was robbed of all his worldly possession. He went home to his mother’s house for Christmas with an overnight bag, and when he got back to Barcelona he found his flat had been emptied. They took everything, clothes and shoes included. However, that is an unusual case. Most of the time burglars are after four things:
1. CASH: The target of choice as it’s the most liquid and untraceable asset there is. The crisis and loss of confidence in the banking system mean that more people are hiding their savings under the mattress, and sales of safes have exploded.
2. GOLD AND JEWELLRY: Another liquid asset that is easy to dispose of and hard to trace. It helps that the gold prices has been high in recent years.
3. DEVICES: Computers, smart phones, tablets, laptops, digital cameras, and the latest gaming devices. High value and easy to carry and sell.
4. DOCUMENTS: Identity cards, driving licences, credit cards, and bank statements. High value for identify theft.
In my experience a good deterrent is a security alarm service with radio backup, and stickers prominently placed to let everyone know you have a security system in place. Burglars are looking for easy targets. Alarm systems are well worth the cost.