Disclaimer: This information is general in nature only. While Budget Direct has endeavoured to ensure the information we’ve relied on is accurate and current, we do not guarantee it. Budget Direct accepts no liability for this information.

Home invasions carry some very serious consequences and improving your home security can help to minimise any potential threat. Like any dangerous situation, you can keep yourself safe by understanding the risks and preparing your home ahead of time.

From 2018-2019 an estimated 2.4% of Australian households experienced a break-in with an additional 1.9% of Australians experiencing an attempted break-in. While this may not seem like much, it still pays to protect your home during a risky situation.

See more of Budget Direct’s home-safety guides.

Lock all your doors and windows

Keeping your windows and doors secure is the first step in improving your home security. This is especially important at night and throughout the day when you’re not at home.

Unlocked doors and windows are the ideal entryways for any unwelcome visitors and the security around these areas is a great place to start.

If you’re the type of person that regularly leaves without checking if the doors and windows are locked, put some routines in place to help stay on top of securing your home. You can start by:

  • Keeping all back doors and windows locked at all times – It’s important that you keep any doors and windows at the back of your home or garage locked. Sometimes these areas can be easily forgotten which does make them more susceptible to break-ins.
  • Installing locks on open windows and doors – At the very least, start by installing some locks so you can keep burglars at bay. Other things to consider are two-cylinder deadlocks for doors, key operated locks or patio bolts to all external sliding doors and security screens or key operated single-cylinder locks for windows.
  • Take another look – One good habit when driving away from your home is to set off the wrong way down your street, turn around after 100m, and take another look before driving away properly. You can check that the garage door went down, there are no obvious curtains open, and you’ve generally left your home looking secure.

And here’s a tip for first time renters; make sure to change the cylinder of your door lock when you move in. This will prevent anyone who previously lived in your apartment with a copy of the same key from breaking in.

Don't forget about the second floor

If you have a two-story home, then chances are that it may be easier for someone to gain access to your second floor. A lot of homeowners can neglect their upper-story windows and balconies when they start planning for home security.

Make sure to trim away any low hanging branches that could be used to gain access to your roof and replace the locks on your upper-story windows. Don’t wait until your home has been broken into to start taking steps to protect it.

You also need to think about how to limit any potential access to your property. You can start by locking any gates around the parameter of your home.

Then move garbage bins (or anything someone could climb on top of) from underneath your windows, and store everything away that could be used to break into your home like ladders, garden tools, metal bars etc.

Never leave a spare key outside

If you’ve ever been locked out of your own home, then you understand the motivation to have a spare key “hidden” outside. And if you go away, please don’t leave a spare key under the doormat or pot plant. These are some of the most obvious places to hide a key!

In case you are a person who either forgets their keys or likes to keep a key outside the home then there are other options. One of the best ones is to buy a wall mounted key safe and place it on the outside of your home. This type of safe requires a pin instead so you won’t need a key to open it.

Otherwise you can always leave a key with a family member, or trusted neighbour.

Don't leave valuables near the windows

By placing valuables near windows you’re more likely to draw attention from anyone who manages to get close enough to look inside your home.

Start by moving all valuables out of sight and especially away from the windows. Place valuables like computers, jewellery, phones, or game consoles in a secure home safe with a code and away from any prying eyes.

For extra security make sure your home safe is anchored to the floor or permanent shelving in your home.

Install a home security system

When it comes to choosing a security system, it’s important that it reflects both the needs of your home but also your neighbourhood.

Start by considering these questions:

  • Are you going to install the system yourself or get it professionally installed?
  • Do you know the upfront and monthly costs?
  • Is it compatible with a smart home?
  • And are you aware of any extras you should consider like smoke or carbon monoxide monitoring?

Alarm system

There are a wide variety of alarm systems and when choosing one you should make sure that it has visible signage and is properly programmed, installed, and maintained. When alarm systems are properly maintained they are one of the best ways to discourage potential burglars.

Security cameras

On top of this, security cameras and electronic doorbells with in-built cameras, can use footage captured to figure out how you were burgled. You can choose between security cameras that are part of a complete home security system or cameras that work on their own. Either way it’s recommended that you purchase a camera with a mobile app so that you can capture footage in real time.

Cutting up your rubbish

If you have made any expensive purchases (and have yet to throw out the packaging) cut these boxes into small pieces and hide them in your wheelie bin. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even drive oversized boxes to the rubbish tip yourself.

Add more lighting

Sensor lights are one of the oldest, and most proven means of securing your home.

These days, you can even buy sensor lights with inbuilt cameras, so if they catch motion, they’ll start recording. There can’t be many better sights than watching a terrified wannabe-burglar scrambling to escape as their cover is blown.

You can even place motion-activated lighting set to a timer in your front and back yards, along pathways and near your garage and any outdoor structures. Using a timer can also help to mimic when you would normally turn your lights on in the home.

Make your home look cared for

Uncollected mail and ungroomed lawns may signal to experienced thieves that occupants aren’t home.

If you do decide to leave town for more than a couple days, always arrange a trusted house-sitter, or for a neighbour to keep an eye on your property.

Home insurance

Even with all of these ways to improve your home security sometimes theft does still happen. Your final layer of protection should be a home and contents insurance in place, should the worst happen.

One of the easiest things you can do is take photos of your valuables from around the house. This can be proof of evidence for a home insurance claim (should you ever need to make one).

See more of Budget Direct’s home-safety guides