Best ways to stop losing your keys and keep your home secure

Hand putting key in door lock

Blanche Clark

Posted December 28, 2022

Losing your keys happens more often than you think, but there are ways to avoid becoming frustrated and risking your safety by trying to break into your home.

You arrive home, put your hand in your pocket and your front-door key isn’t there. You try your other pockets, fumble around in your bag and then empty out the contents in frustration.

Perhaps you have a spare key hidden under a brick or plant near the front door? It’s not a sensible idea because it’s easily accessible to opportunistic burglars, but you haven’t made the time to find out how to get a key safe securely installed in a discreet place.

The other thought might be to break in: smash a window or try and squeeze through a doggie door, a decision that usually causes damage to your home and puts you at risk of injury.

If you have lost or misplaced your key and you’re stuck outside your house, the safest and wisest thing to do is contact a qualified and licensed locksmith.


Melbourne's hotspots for lost keys

Losing your keys is a common occurrence. RACV Trades organises locksmiths to attend between 230 and 350 jobs a month across Victoria for lockouts and urgent access lock repairs.

Recent data shows that demand for emergency locksmith services was highest in the Melbourne suburbs of Tarneit, Glen Waverley, Point Cook, Berwick and Mount Waverley. 

“It happens to a lot of people, and you can get help through our Emergency Home Assist service anytime, 24 hours a day, if you’re locked out of your house or require urgent access lock repairs,” RACV Senior Product Manager for Home Trades & Services Nathan Tayeh says. 

“Most callouts are resolved within an hour. There’s no need to try to break into your home; that’s when things can go wrong. You may end up requiring window or door repairs, and even injure yourself. A qualified locksmith has the skills and equipment to assist you without damaging your lock or door.”

Along with the RACV 24/7 emergency locksmith service, you can book a local locksmith through RACV Trades to help with common repairs and maintenance around the house.

Hand picking up keys and smart phone

If you have a dedicated place for your keys you are less likely to misplace them. Image: Getty

Why do I keep losing or misplacing my keys?

Common sense and science both indicate that you should have a dedicated place for important essentials such as keys, your wallet, glasses and passport.

Neuroscientist Daniel Leviten says there is a structure in your brain, the hippocampus, that is tasked with keeping track of the location of important things, whether it’s your favourite coffee shop or house keys.

“The hippocampus is really good for things that don’t move around much, but not so good for things that move around, so this is why we lose car keys and reading glasses and passports,” he says in a TED Talk. He suggests having a designated spot in your home for your keys, perhaps a hook or a particular bowl. 

However, Victoria Police recommends keeping house and car keys out of sight and not in a bowl or on a hook next to a front door or window because that can attract potential burglars.

What’s the best place to hide a spare key?

Victoria Police says most burglaries are opportunistic and occur during the day when residents are not at home. While phones, computers, cash, jewellery and bikes are what burglars want most from your home, there are unusual things thieves want to steal as well. 
Garages are a hotspot for burglary entry, especially as many Victorians don’t keep their garage doors closed or well maintained.

A welcome mat, pot plant or a fake rock are often the first places a burglar looks, in the hope that there's a hidden key under there that will provide access to your house. The safest thing to do is to leave a spare key with a trusted neighbour or family member.

You should also be cautious about where you leave your keys inside. Even when you’re home you should keep your door locked and secure your windows. Victoria Police says unlocked side and rear doors and windows are the most common entry points for burglars. If your house keys and/or car keys are in a bowl or on a hook near an entry point, they are easily taken.

A key safe – a strong storage box with a keycode – is a popular way of storing a spare key but it’s important to make sure you install your key safe in a discreet area that can’t be seen from the street.

Woman using smart lock via app on phone

A smart lock allows you to securely lock and unlock your door using a phone app like the Yale Access App. Image: Supplied

How can I improve my home security?

It is recommended that you have deadlocks on all external doors and windows. But if you do have deadlocks installed, remember to disengage them when you’re inside so that you can safely escape in the event of a fire. It is also a good idea to change the locks when you buy a home or if you lose your key somewhere outside the home.

You may want to consider home security systems, such as security cameras, an alarm system or the use of smart-home technology to secure your home. Modern alarm and CCTV solutions have apps available to control your security system from your smartphone.

The How Safe is My Place app is a useful way of determining how safe your home is from burglary and what you can do to improve overall security. The augmented reality app was developed by Neighbourhood Watch and RACV to help people assess how safe they are, identify risks and deter thieves.

What is a smart lock and how secure is it?

Dean Burgess, National Business Manager at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions, says there is increasing interest in smart locks, which allow you to access your home without the need for a key.

“The easiest way to deal with the problem of losing keys is to dispense with a key altogether,” he says. “A smart lock allows you to securely lock and unlock your door using your smartphone rather than a key.”

Burgess says a smart lock is just as secure as a traditional lock and will notify you of any activity at the door, plus you get data about when household members are entering or leaving the home via the app.

If you’re interested in smart home devises, make sure you do your homework to safeguard against digital attacks. Find out what security protocols the manufacturer has in place to protect your network and personal information. 

Tradesperson fitting key safe

It's important to get a key safe securely installed in a discreet place to minimise the risk of theft. Image: Getty

How can I find a qualified professional locksmith?

All locksmiths with RACV Trades are accredited, licensed, and committed to meeting high-quality industry standards.

Like electricians and plumbers, a locksmith does a four-year apprenticeship, gaining a Certificate III of Locksmithing through a combination of on-the-job training and TAFE study.

Locksmiths do more than cutting keys and repairing mechanical locks. Modern locksmiths use the latest technology to install, maintain and repair mechanical and electronic security systems. They can also work on electronic access control, CCTV and alarm systems. 


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