How to burglar-proof your home and improve home security

burglar looking into house

RACV Staff

Posted May 09, 2023

Having your home burgled is incredibly unsettling, both emotionally and financially. Here are some key ways to improve your home security and help burglar-proof your home.
After years of declining private residential burglary, new data from the Victorian Crime Statistics Agency reveals that burglaries and break and enter offences increased slightly from 2021 to 2022: the first increase since 2016.

So, with offences trending upwards, it doesn't pay to be complacent when it comes to keeping your home and contents safe. "Burglars are lazy, fearful of being caught, and opportunistic," says Neighbourhood Watch CEO Bambi Gordon. "If they see a quick and easy way to steal property, they will."

Burglars are becoming more strategic with the households and contents they target, even targeting unusual items not typically associated with theft. Minimise your chance of becoming a victim of burglary by implementing these home security tips.

Guide to improving your home security


Get to know your neighbours and local community
Introducing yourself to neighbours, exchanging contact details, checking in regularly about suspicious activity in your local area and joining a Neighbourhood Watch group are all ways that can help prevent opportunistic crime in your street and suburb. Social media is a great place to find, join and collaborate with established groups trying to enhance community safety.

You can also take the take the free How Safe is my Place quiz to learn where your home might be at risk of break-in by burglars and get a report with security tips tailored to your home.

Lock your doors, windows and garages

Many Victorians make things easy for burglars by failing to properly lock up their properties and valuables. Go the extra mile by installing and using door deadlocks, window locks, strong security doors and safes for valuables.

Garages are often overlooked by Victorians as burglar entry points. Prevent garage break-ins by keeping your garage doors well-maintained and regularly serviced. You can also zip tie your garage door's emergency release cord together so it can't be hooked outside by a burglar with a coat hanger.

Invest in security equipment (and check that it works)

Home security systems are fantastic burglar deterrents. Make sure you have them routinely tested and serviced by a licensed security technician and advertise the use of home security technology on your property via signs at your gate, garage or entrance area. 


three smartphones, each with a different screengrab from the How Safe Is My Place? app

Try the How Safe Is My Place? app to learn where your house is most vulnerable.

Keep valuables out of sight

"Burglars don’t want to be in your house for any longer than they have to," says Gordon. "The average time spent on a burglary is eight minutes, so the items most likely to be stolen are those that are clearly in sight, just inside an open door or window."

Hot items for burglars include mobile phones, tablets, computers, cash, power tools, jewellery, passports and even bikes. When you're away from home, make valuables difficult to find by keeping them locked in a safe or in hidden drawers.

More: How to prevent bike theft

Secure valuable documents and identifiers

Valuable documents and sensitive information are in demand with burglars as identify theft becomes a lucrative crime with more of our lives taking place online.

Many households increase their risk of identity theft by leaving key documents such as passports, tax returns, bank statements and utility bills out in plain sight for burglars to steal. This information can be used to access your identity and money, so always keep these contents in a locked drawer or cabinet, and keep the keys in a secure location.

More: How to stay safer online

Leave a spare set of keys with a trusted person

Obvious places such as under the doormat are among the first places thieves check for a set of spare keys to gain easy access to your home. If you need an extra key stored near your home, consider installing a strong key safe in a non-obvious location.

If you’re really concerned about locking yourself out, install a smart lock that can be opened with a code or via a smartphone, or leave a spare set of keys with a trusted friend or family member.


safety deposit box or home safe in a walk-in wardrobe

Store valuables like passports in a locked safety deposit box. Image: Getty

Keep your garden neat and tidy

Allowing your garden to become unruly is an obvious sign that you’re away from home often. An overgrown garden also allows burglars to easily access common break-in points, such as doors and windows, without being seen by neighbours.

Give your garden or front porch a tidy up and consider installing sensor lights in areas like the front and back entrance, as well as smaller windows that are out of your view. Also ensure that your bins are placed out on bin night, and that cars are parked in your driveway or outside of your house, when you’re away on holiday.

Avoid posting your holiday photos on social media

While it can be very tempting to post your happy snaps on Facebook or Instagram while you're on holiday, social media platforms are the easiest way for burglars to know you’re away from home. Try to refrain from posting online about your holiday until you’re back in your house.

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