Why burglars are targeting your garage

garage with door open

Alice Piper

Posted March 21, 2022


Despite the number of break and enter offences in the home falling in recent years, garages are a prime target for burglars. Here’s how to keep your garage safe. 

Homeowners are being urged to take more care when it comes to garage security, as burglars target cars and other valuables that are surging in value and kept in home garages, detached garages and communal garages, such as those found in apartment buildings. 

Record demand for cars and appreciation in used car prices is making car theft from garages an increasingly lucrative crime for opportunistic burglars. Remarkably, more than half of the 10,000 cars stolen in the year-ending June 2021 were from the owner’s garage, carport or driveway, with these areas seen as a weak link in overall home security. 
 
In addition to cars, garages typically contain hot items for burglars such as power tools, lawnmowers, bikes (with bike theft increasingly dramatically), sporting equipment and even entertainment equipment such as musical instruments, gaming technology and TV screens.  

Burglars are also becoming more cunning in their acts of crime, narrowing targets down to a specific street or area, and spending typically just eight minutes or less conducting the burglary, with the small space of a garage easy to access and quickly ransack.  


How to improve your garage security to keep burglars out  

Keep the garage door always closed

This one might seem obvious, but how often do you drive or walk down a residential street and see a few garage doors wide open and with no residents in sight?

This acts as an invitation to burglars, who can jump a fence, or enter the open garage door and conduct a grab-and-go burglary where they take whatever they can easily get their hands on.  

Victoria Police recommends using good quality locks on external garage doors and windows, as well as installing an automatic garage door closer, which will close the garage door for you after a certain period, or an automatic garage door lock that deadbolts the garage door every time you close it. 

Neighbourhood Watch Victoria Chief Executive Officer Bambi Gordon says, “Never leave your garage remote in the car, always take it with you”. 

“And ensure the door between the garage and home is always locked.”  

Keep valuables out of plain sight  

If your garage is being used as storage for expensive items of technology, power tools, bikes or other valuables, don’t place them near garage windows where burglars can easily see them from the outside. 

Easy visibility allows burglars to ‘size up’ your house, giving them intel on whether your garage might be their next big payday. 

Keeping valuables in locked cupboards can also help prevent these items being stolen if a burglar were to enter your home, because according to Gordon, “Burglars don’t want to be in your house for any longer than they have to”.

“They are lazy, fearful of being caught, and opportunistic,” she adds. “If they see a quick and easy way to steal property, they will.” 

 

woman closing window

Always ensure doors and windows are closed to the garage, and other home entry points. Image: Getty


Install a sensor light and security cameras

A burglar is more inclined to break and enter your garage under the cover of night, where they cannot be seen. Therefore, having a professional install motion activated sensor lights, and other home security measures like security cameras near garage windows and doors, can deter burglars from breaking in. 

Sensor lights and security cameras can be especially helpful for garages and sheds that are not attached to the home.

Ensure garage access points are highly visible 

Similar to their use of the night, burglars also take advantage of trees or shrubs placed near windows and doors to take cover during a burglary. 

Ensure trees and shrubs are kept tidy near entry points to garages and side doors, with the doors clear visible from a distance. 

Secure the side entry and home entry doors

Victoria Police says unlocked side doors are the most common entry point for burglars, and most exterior garage side doors don’t take much break into – even when locked.  

Ensure side entry doors and gates are secured with a deadlock, and that the strike plate (where the lock meets the door) is reinforced, as this is usually the weakest point in the door. 

Modern homes also present the risk of a burglar gaining entry to the rest of the house once they're in the garage, as they are usually built with an entry door into the main home. 

Ensure the entry door has a lock, and that it is used when you leave the home. 

 

modern apartment block carpark

Modern apartment blocks with communal garages bring extra challenges for garage security. Image: Getty


Take extra precautions in communal garages

Gordon says basement car parks are particularly susceptible to theft from storage cages and unlocked cars.  

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

“It’s also important to not let a car follow you through a  gate into a garage unless you are sure that they are a resident,” she adds. 

Sensor slights and cameras can alert a burglar that they may be watched. Residents can also mark important contents with liquid synthetic DNA, and place signs around the car park to advise offenders that liquid synthetic DNA is in use.

How safe is your place?

Gain a better understanding of the safety of your home through How Safe Is My Place, a free self-assessment tool which can help you understand how safe your home is from burglary and what you can do to improve security in and around the home. 

 

Safeguard yourself in the event of theft with RACV Home Insurance.
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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 racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. RACV Home Insurance is issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.​