How to help keep your car safe at home

car parked in home driveway

Danny Baggs

Posted November 06, 2023

Did you know that most car theft occurs at home? Here are some top tips to help keep your car safe from theft in your garage or driveway.

Many drivers take precautions against car theft when they’re out and about at shopping centres, schools, car parks and other destinations. But drivers can overlook car safety at home, where it’s just as important.

“Most car thefts occur in or around private residences,” says Neighbourhood Watch Victoria CEO, Bambi Gordon. “That’s why it’s crucial to protect your car when it’s parked at home.”

Data from the Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) shows that residential locations such as houses, apartments and hotels were the locations where almost half of all vehicles were stolen in 2022, with a total of 7,456 thefts reported. Houses were the most common residential location for motor theft in 2022, with 3,285 vehicles stolen, followed by apartments, units and flats with 483 recorded thefts.

Where specific location data for the residential location was provided, driveways and carports were one of the most common specific locations vehicles were stolen from, (1,745 vehicles stolen in 2022). Front yards (465 thefts), multi dwelling carparks (513), garages (288), sheds (172) and backyards (119) were also commonly recorded theft locations.

Tips to help keep your car safe from theft at home

Lock your car

It may seem obvious, but locking your car is one of the most effective ways to prevent theft. Lock your car and take the keys with you whenever you leave your car – even for short stops like paying for fuel or picking up a food order, but even when you’re parked securely in your garage.

“Don’t forget to lock your back doors and windows,” warns Bambi. “Offenders mainly use these areas to enter cars.”


graphic how to minimise the risk of car theft

Here are some top tips on how to minimise the risk of car theft. Image: Getty


Remove valuables from your car

“Most thieves break into cars because they see something they want inside,” Bambi says. “By removing any valuables from display in your vehicle, you can reduce the likelihood of theft.”

Take phones, laptops, GPS devices, sunglasses, bags, sports equipment, clothes, money (even loose change) and any other valuables from your car with you when you leave. Don’t forget to remove phone chargers, power cables from cigarette lighter sockets, GPS holders/cradles and other evidence of technology, too. Remember to remove the suction mark left by any windscreen-mounted cradles. Paperwork should also be removed, as thieves may think they can lift your home address from the files.

“Don’t simply try to hide valuables in your boot or under your seat,” Bambi cautions. “You never know who is watching. If it’s valuable, take it with you.”


person closing traybed of Ford Ranger

Remove any valuables from your car, or keep them locked safely out of sight. Image: Supplied


Secure your garage

“Parking off the street in a locked garage – or, if you don’t have a garage, a carport or driveway – can help deter thieves,” Bambi says.

Make sure to keep your garage door closed and locked whenever you are not working in it. Garages are prime targets for Australian burglars, as they often contain easy-to-take valuables such as power tools, golf clubs, and bikes.

To help protect your garage, install the best type of garage door lock for your door type, and learn how to prevent garage break-ins.

Any access doors into your home or garage should also be secured. Deadbolts are widely considered the most effective type of lock, while key safes may increase your risk of being burgled. Consider installing security film on glass panes and accessible windows.


person remotely locking their garage door

Always keep your garage door closed and locked. Image: Getty


Maintain your home’s exterior to deter thieves

“Homes that look like nobody is home are more likely to be targeted by thieves,” Bambi says. “Regularly maintain your home to keep it looking occupied.”

This can be as simple as mowing your lawn, maintaining your fences, and trimming your shrubs and trees. You can also make use of your home’s blinds, shutters and curtains to prevent window snooping.

“Homes without a security system are three times more likely to be broken into than homes with one,” Bambi warns. A home security system like alarms, security cameras or smart home monitoring will warn would-be thieves away from your home. Installing a motion-sensor light or a timed floodlight over your front door, garage and other entry points is also a great burglar deterrent.

You can always take the free quiz How Safe Is My Place? to check up on your home’s security level and received tailored tips to increase your security.


RACV technician showing customer her new home security system

Homes without a security system are three times more likely to be broken into. Image: Supplied


Fit anti-theft devices to your vehicle

A trusted installer can provide advice on and fit anti-theft devices to your vehicle. These devices could include a steering wheel lock, an engine immobiliser, an ignition shield, a battery isolator, or a car alarm. Installing a GPS tracking device somewhere hidden in your vehicle can also help police track it down if stolen.

Number plate theft is also on the rise in Victoria, with 15,622 offences recorded in the year ending March 2023. Prevent number plate theft by fitting anti-theft screws to your number plates, which are available from most auto shops. You can also attend a Safe Plate event run by Neighbourhood Watch, where volunteers will fix anti-theft screws on your number plates for a gold coin donation.


person fitting anti-theft screws to their number plates

Fitting anti-theft screws to your number plates can prevent them from being stolen. Image: Getty


Keep records of your vehicle details

In the event of a theft, it helps to have all your vehicle’s relevant details on hand to give to police. Note down these vehicle details in a secure place:

  • Registration number and state registered
  • Vehicle make, model, year, colour, badge, body type, transmission (auto/manual)
  • Upholstery colour and other interior details
  • VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) – found on your registration certificate or insurance policy document
  • Engine number – found on the engine casing
  • Fitted accessories: anti-theft devices, radio or speakers, LPG tank, etc.
  • Insurance company. 


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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.