How to secure your home and deter burglars

man locking front door with woman talking to him


Posted March 15, 2024

Having your home burgled is unsettling. Here are some key ways to improve your home security and help burglar-proof your home.

Residential burglaries in Victoria rose 19.5 per cent in 2023, according to new data from the Victorian Crime Statistics Agency. Homeowners and renters across Victoria experienced 24,881 counts of burglary last year.

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, and check that your home insurance coverage is adequate.

If you're the victim of a burglary, here are some guidelines for what to do post-burglary to secure your home, report the crime, and claim on your home and contents insurance.

More: How to make a home insurance claim

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 keep it monitored and serviced)

Home security systems can be effective 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.

Smart security cameras (CCTV) allow you to keep an eye on your home from wherever you are. They can also provide evidence to police in the case of a break-in. Home alarm systems can arm your entire house or just certain areas to frighten burglars and alert neighbours. Having your system professionally monitored adds an extra and valuable layer by notifying security teams of any attempted break-ins.

sensor lights in a neighbourhood

Sensor lights are an important burglar deterrent. Image: Getty

Keep your property well-lit

By strategically illuminating your home and its surroundings, you can significantly improve your home's security. Landscape lighting, motion sensor lighting or timer lighting all improve visibility around your property. This eliminates dark corners for intruders to hide in, making it harder for trespassers to approach your home undetected.

Motion sensor lights are particularly effective at startling potential burglars and drawing attention to their presence, discouraging break-ins.

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, laptops, 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.

Secure valuable documents and identifiers

Valuable documents and sensitive personal 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 safe, and keep the keys in a secure location.


man showing woman how to operate home security system

A home security system can help deter would-be burglars.

Keep your garden neat and tidy

Allowing your garden to become unruly is an obvious sign that you’re often away from home. 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.

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.


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.


Help protect your home from burglary 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 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.