The Crime Prevention Website


Our homes and businesses contain thousands of items of property, but what stuff should we mark?  Ok, we can mark everything that moves, but not everything will be attractive to the thief.  So how should we prioritise? 

Although the property stolen from us will vary according to the type of theft and the building where the theft takes place the most common items are (in no particular order):

Cash, Jewellery, Laptops, Blue Ray and DVD players, Handbags,

Flat screen TVs, Wallets, Car keys (and the car), Credit cards, Clothes,

Bicycles, Digital cameras, Power tools, Mobile phones, Ipods, 

Digital projectors,   Documents (passports), Briefcases, Antiques, Works of Art,

Non ferrous metals, Garden tools, Garden plants and furniture

and other  CRAVED  products

The property stolen from us is invariably sold onto a receiver/fence *  for cash very soon after the event; often immediately, as many of the thieves have an urgent drug problem to support.  They will get little of the real value for the property and instead it will be the fence that makes most of the profit from the crime. (Hence they often get longer prison sentences that the thieves)  The stolen property ends up in second hand shops, jewellers, pawnbrokers, cash converter shops, car boot sales, markets and on EBay.

*  A ‘receiver’ is a person who buys or otherwise comes into possession of property that they know to be stolen.  A ‘fence’ is a person who buys stolen property and then sells it on.  Fences will often specialise in specific types of property, such as jewellery and art and may have a business premises where otherwise mostly legal activity takes place.  Others, operating from their homes, will buy ‘stuff off the back of a lorry’, such as cosmetics, clothes and electrical items, which you’ll see on sale at the local car boot or Sunday market.  (That said I have no wish to suggest that all goods on sale at car boots and markets is stolen!)                

In 1999, a leading criminologist, Professor Ronald Clarke, wrote a research paper entitled  Hot Products: Understanding, anticipating and reducing demand for stolen goods. Paper 112 Police Research Series London Home Office   In this paper Professor Clarke developed the acronym ‘ CRAVED ’, which was to help the police and others understand what it was about various types of property that made it attractive to the thief.  I have never forgotten this useful acronym and so here it is with my own tabled explanation:

An explanation of ‘CRAVED’


From the thief’s perspective

Property having this attribute

Property not having this attribute

C oncealable

If I steal it can I easily hide it until I sell it?

Most types of jewellery, cash, wallets

A fridge freezer

R emovable

How easy will it be for me to physically take it?

A small painting, a handbag, a laptop

A safe, an antique fireplace

A vailable

How likely is it that I will find what I am looking for?

Property left on view through the window

Jewellery and cash kept in a safe or well hidden

V aluable

How much money will I get when I sell it?

Jewellery, digital camera,

Microwave oven

E njoyable

Can I steal something that is desirable?

Flat screen HD TV, DVD player, the latest gizmo

Food processor

D isposable

How easy will it be to sell it?

IPod, jewellery, digital camera

Marked property


Whilst a ‘ CRAVED ’ item is more likely to be stolen, other stuff does go missing if the opportunities are there.  An example of this is an antique fireplace; thousands of which were stolen from empty houses in the 80s and 90s.