Essential tips for better apartment security

modern Australian apartment building


Posted May 23, 2024

Here’s what you need to know about protecting your apartment, including security systems, storage cage risks, and the importance of befriending neighbours.

Whether you’re a long-time apartment owner, downsizing to an apartment, or renting an apartment through a real estate agent, it pays to consider the security of your apartment block.

Apartment buildings tend to be more secure than standalone houses, with enhanced security features such as coded front doors and cameras in communal areas. These features may make it harder for opportunistic thieves, but apartment buildings are as vulnerable to break-ins and theft as other homes. Apartments above the ground floor may be less accessible, but a determined burglar can still climb up to a balcony and enter through an unlocked balcony door or window.

Here are the top tips to assess and improve your apartment’s security.

Top apartment security tips

Assess an apartment building’s security measures before moving in

Before you buy or sign a rental agreement on an apartment, part of your checklist should be booking an inspection to assess the apartment building’s security measures.

If you can, visit after dark so you can see how the building is lit and how safe the place feels after-hours. All entrances and common areas (for example, the foyer, stairwells, hallways, carparks, waste management areas, laundry room, storage rooms) should have good lighting.

How secure is the building’s access control? Does the complex offer regular keys, swipe cards, key codes, or smart locks? Are entrances, including gates and car parks, monitored by surveillance cameras or on-site security staff?

In your potential apartment, check that all doors and windows can close securely with locks.


woman entering security code into apartment building entrance

Assess the apartment block's security measures before signing a lease or purchasing a property. Images: Getty

Be aware of ‘tailgaters’

If you live in an apartment building, don’t make it easy for burglars to enter your premises by ‘tailgating’ you as you enter the building. This applies to all entry points, including the main entrance and car park.

Stop your car after passing the parking barrier until it closes again. This is an effective way of stopping the car behind you tailgating.

Similarly, try not to let strangers follow you through entrances or into lifts. If you’re asked by a stranger to let them in, politely apologise and suggest they try the apartment buzzer or phone the person.

Always meet postal workers and food delivery drivers at the front entrance rather unlocking it remotely and letting them into the building.

Keep your doors and windows locked

Apartments can have a high occupant turnover, meaning there may be several people with keys to your apartment. It's not unsual for people to forget or neglect to hand in spare sets of keys when they vacate a property. Ask your landlord or property manager to update the door locks before you move in for optimal security.

If you own the apartment, invest in a deadlatch for added safety, as it automatically deadlocks the door behind you instead of needing to be locked.

Any balcony doors should be kept locked at all times, just like your front door. Burglars may climb up to balconies to enter through unlocked balcony doors.

Finally, apartment windows should be kept locked shut and covered with curtains or blinds at night and when you're not home. Many would-be thieves ‘window shop’ for high-value, resaleable goods before breaking into a property.

Consider security systems like CCTV

Home security systems like CCTV or smart video doorbells can be effective burglar deterrents. It’s possible to install a standalone camera that sends the video to your smartphone so that you can monitor your entrance/s from anywhere. Some versions even come with motion detection or two-way talk features.


person unlocking a front door with their key

Invest in a deadlock and always keep your doors and windows locked.

Protect your storage cage

Many apartment complexes offer their residents a storage cage in the car park or basement. Unfortunately, storage cages are often the target of theft, so it's important that you know how to safely store your belongings in an apartment car park. Avoid storing anything of significant value or that's sentimental in your storage cage.

To help protect your storage cage, Neighbourhood Watch CEO Bambi Gordon recommends shielding the contents from view. That applies to motorbikes, and bicyles as well. If you have room, keep your bicycle inside your apartment for added security.

"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.

You should also attach a heavy-duty padlock or disc lock that’s difficult to cut through. These efforts should help deter thieves.

Prevent mailbox theft

Mail theft is a common problem in apartment buildings, with the risk that sensitive items such as a credit card and driver's licence could be stolen. Never leave keys in your mailbox. Leave them with a trusted neighbour or friend instead.

Consider locking your mailbox with a heavy-duty padlock or disc lock to keep thieves out. Ideally, the mailroom is behind a locked door that is only accessible to building residents. If you have concerns, talk to your owners corporation about installing a CCTV camera in the mailroom, or near the mailboxes, to deter thieves or to make identifying them easier.

Stash your valuables in a home safe

If a burglar does break into your apartment, having your valuables stored in a home safe can keep them safe from theft. Items like cash, jewellery, important documents, heirlooms and other high-value or sentimental objects should all be considered for safe storage.


person selecting code for home safe

A home safe can add another layer of protection for your valuables.

Get renters or contents insurance

If your apartment is burgled, having contents insurance (if you own the apartment) or renters insurance (if you rent the apartment) could provide peace of mind.

RACV Contents Insurance and RACV Renters Insurance both provide cover for things stolen during a break-in, or damage caused by an attempted theft. They also cover up to $500 of visitors’ belongings stolen during a break-in, plus up to $1,000 for any money spent by a thief who takes your credit card and uses it without your consent.

Befriend your neighbours

Befriending your neighbours is always a good idea. Place stickers and signs around your home to warn burglars of an alarm system or that there is an active Neighbourhood Watch program in place.

"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.

In an apartment building, try to befriend a neighbour who lives on the same floor as you. A neighbour who notices strange activity around your apartment and notifies you may save you from an attempted break-in.



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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.

RACV Security Pty Ltd ABN 49 079 148 342 trading as RACV Home Security. Security Licence (Vic.) 733-411-10S and Security Registration (Vic.) 733-411-31S.