How to safely store your belongings in apartment car parks

woman in underground car park


Posted May 13, 2024

Apartment car parks and lockable storage cages may seem secure, but these areas are particularly susceptible to theft and opportunistic burglaries.   

Neighbourhood Watch Victoria's research indicates that apartment residents are most concerned about thefts from storage cages and cars, as well as car thefts.

Bambi Gordon, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch Victoria, says apartment dwellers should avoid becoming complacent, and ensure anything they store in a communal car parking area is as secure as possible. She advises that building a friendly and supportive community within your apartment complex is a valuable way to help prevent theft.

“Setting up an online community, such as a WhatsApp group, or private Facebook group, will help residents keep in touch, and watch out for each other,” Gordon says.  

As well as ensuring your contents insurance or renters insurance, and car insurance are up to date, there are several things that apartment owners and renters can do to protect their valuables.

Key theft tips for communal car parks and apartment storage cages


Look out for tailgaters entering a car park

When entering or leaving the car park, avoid letting another car or pedestrian in. Look around you, use your mirrors to see behind you, and wait for the door to close securely before parking or leaving the premises.

Neighbourhood Watch recommends checking that nearby security gates, access doors or fire escapes are also securely closed, and not left open or propped open.

Do not allow entry to people you don’t know. If you see someone acting suspiciously, contact the Victoria Police Assistance Line, or if a crime is in progress, call Triple Zero (000).

Lock your vehicle and remove valuables

Even if your car is in a secure garage or car park, valuables should not be left on display. When you leave your car, take your garage remote, fob or swipe card, wallet or handbag, GPS and any coins with you.

“Most thieves break into cars because they see something they want inside,” Gordon says. “By removing any valuables from display in your vehicle, you can reduce the likelihood of theft.”

Make sure your windows are fully closed and always lock your vehicle. In addition, keep your keys or car fob hidden and out of sight once you’re in your apartment.

With number plate theft on the rise in Victoria, it’s worth fitting anti-theft screws, too. You can get them fitted at a Neighbourhood Watch safe plate events, your local police station, or buy the screws from a hardware store. 

Protect your bicycle or motorbike

If you have a bicycle, e-bike, motorbike, or scooter, lock it securely to the available parking infrastructure or a solid fixed point within the parking area. If your apartment block doesn't have secure bike parking, consider keeping your bicycle inside your apartment.

There are a range of security devices that will help prevent bike theft. Neighbourhood Watch recommends securing the handles with a steering and/or ignition lock and using a manual locking device, such as an alarmed disk, D lock or strong, thick chain and padlock.

Record the serial number of your bicycle and any identifying features, so that if it’s stolen, you can include these details when you report the theft to police. 

RACV and Neighbourhood Watch are working together to help prevent number plate theft

Secure your apartment storage cage

Gordon says there are extra precautions worth taking to protect your belongings in a storage cage.

“People with wire fences around their security cage should line the cage with plastic sheeting or something similar, so that potential offenders are not tempted by what is being stored inside,” she says.

Don’t store anything you consider valuable, precious, or sentimental in your storage cage, and invest in a good quality, steel lock, potentially one fitted with an alarm. 

Install a sensor light and security cameras

If there is insufficient lighting in the communal garage or carpark, it may be an issue you can raise with the body corporate or owners’ corporation.

Options include professionally installed motion activated senor lights, and other home security measures like security cameras to deter burglars from breaking in. 

Help build your local community in the apartment complex

Neighbourhood Watch Victoria has information on how to create a safer and more connected community.

Their programs include Connect Up, which helps connect neighbours in high-rise residential towers.

As well as setting up an online community, such as a Whats App group or private Facebook group to watch out for each other, you can build neighbourly connections by greeting your neighbours when you see them and organising a barbecue at a local park.

More: How to improve street security in your neighbourhood

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The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.