31 June 2021 | See disclaimer

We’ve compiled all of Australia’s latest home burglary statistics currently available, and surveyed Australians to see how they would handle a burglary situation.

Quick stats

  • Australia has the 7th highest rate of burglaries in the world
  • 4.3% of Australian households experienced at least 1 break-in (or attempted break-in) during the last 12 months
  • 70.8% of break-ins result in the theft of belongings
  • In 11.8% of break-ins, the victim experiences a confrontation with the perpetrator

We all keep the risks of home invasions and burglary in the back of our minds. Whether it’s double-checking the garage door has closed or worrying if a door is locked when we’re away from home – there is very little escape from the thought of a home burglary.

But just how high is the risk? And how does Australia compare to the rest of the world when it comes to home burglaries? We’ve combined the latest industry data, as well as our own survey data from over 1,000 people, to find out just how home burglaries are affecting Australia.

  1. Australian home burglary statistics
    1. 1.1 Home break-in statistics across Australia
    2. 1.2 Consequences of break-ins
    3. 1.3 Items stolen during break-ins
    4. 1.4 Historical data for unlawful entry with intent
  2. Australian burglaries vs global rates
  3. Home burglary survey results
    1. 3.1 How do you protect your home against theft?
    2. 3.2 If your home was burgled, which items would you expect to be taken?
    3. 3.3 Is there a Neighbourhood Watch program in your area?
    4. 3.4 Would you install a home security system to reduce your home insurance premium?
    5. 3.5 Have you ever had packages or parcels stolen from outside your home?
    6. 3.6 Are you more concerned about home burglary in your suburb compared to 12 months ago?
  4. Ways to decrease your risks of theft at home

1. Australian home burglary statistics

Data available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics[1] has been used to reflect on Australian home burglary rates for the 12 month period from April 2020 to April 2021.

1.1 Home break-in statistics across Australia

In 2015 Australia had the 5th highest rate of burglaries in the world. The four countries with higher rates of burglary than Australia in 2015 were all located in Europe and had much smaller populations[2].

  % of households affected Number of households affected
Break-ins 2.4% 238,100
Attempted break-ins 1.9% 185,800

4.3% of Australian households experienced either a break-in, or attempted break-in during the last 12 months. That equates to over 400,000 break-in events nationally in a single year.

1.2 Consequences of break-ins

In the last 12 months, over 70% of break-ins saw the perpetrator steal property from the victim. In 11.8% of cases, there was also a confrontation between the victim and the perpetrator.

1.3 Items stolen during break-ins

In 24.8% of break-ins, personal items (such as jewellery, clothing or handbags) are stolen. The next most likely items to be stolen include wallets, purses, cash, and tools.

1.4 Historical data for unlawful entry with intent

Data on reported crimes shows that in recent years, cases of unlawful entry (with intent) into private dwellings has decreased significantly. From 2011 to 2018, the amount of cases reported each year has dropped by 18.7%.

2. Australian burglaries vs global statistics

Australia might have had over 400,000 break-in events over the last 12 months, but how do we compare to global rates?

10 highest burglary rates globally

According to Knoema’s[2] data (from 2018), Australia had the 7th highest rate of burglaries in the world. New Zealand had the highest rate, with 1,354 cases per 100,000 people.

3. Home burglary survey results

3.1 How do you protect your home against theft?*

State
Age
Gender
  Lock doors and windows Gates/fences around the property Not leaving a spare key outside Security screens on doors/windows Leaving lights on Dogs or other guard animals Security cameras Security alarm system
NSW 85.7% 54.0% 54.6% 50.3% 37.2% 33.2% 31.1% 32.0%
Vic 86.8% 55.6% 60.9% 47.0% 34.6% 26.7% 34.6% 27.4%
Qld 92.0% 67.5% 64.5% 67.5% 37.5% 38.5% 32.5% 16.0%
WA 95.2% 66.7% 51.2% 63.1% 44.0% 31.0% 27.4% 33.3%
SA 90.3% 65.3% 62.5% 52.8% 34.7% 38.9% 37.5% 30.6%
Tas 100.0% 52.2% 60.9% 43.5% 43.5% 34.8% 26.1% 21.7%
Aus 88.9% 59.3% 58.6% 54.1% 37.6% 32.5% 32.2% 27.0%
  Lock doors and windows Gates/fences around the property Not leaving a spare key outside Security screens on doors/windows Leaving lights on Dogs or other guard animals Security cameras Security alarm system
18-24 81.5% 49.6% 53.8% 37.8% 36.1% 42.9% 35.3% 21.8%
25-34 87.4% 55.4% 56.6% 52.6% 37.7% 30.9% 44.0% 27.4%
35-44 87.0% 59.9% 50.3% 52.5% 40.7% 37.9% 42.9% 27.7%
45-54 94.2% 60.5% 61.0% 57.0% 34.9% 35.5% 27.9% 25.0%
55-64 89.5% 70.6% 64.7% 58.2% 39.9% 32.0% 28.8% 30.7%
65+ 91.3% 58.3% 63.6% 60.7% 36.4% 21.4% 17.5% 28.2%
Aus 88.9% 59.3% 58.6% 54.1% 37.6% 32.5% 32.2% 27.0%
  Lock doors and windows Gates/fences around the property Not leaving a spare key outside Security screens on doors/windows Leaving lights on Dogs or other guard animals Security cameras Security alarm system
Female 91.6% 61.9% 63.1% 55.5% 39.8% 35.7% 28.9% 24.8%
Male 86.1% 56.6% 54.1% 52.7% 35.2% 29.3% 35.9% 29.3%
Total 88.9% 59.3% 58.6% 54.1% 37.6% 32.5% 32.2% 27.0%

*Participants were able to select all options that apply. Therefore, percentages add up to greater than 100%.

Australians tend to simply rely on basic, low-maintenance strategies for preventing home burglaries. Only 32% of participants indicated they have security cameras, while 27% have alarm systems.

Younger groups (such as those from 18 to 44) were far more likely to have security cameras installed than those aged 45 or above.

3.2 If your home was burgled, which items would you expect to be taken?**

State
Age
Gender
  Money, purse, or wallet Personal items (such as jewellery) Mobile phone or smartphone Computer equipment Personal electronic or audio/visual equipment Tools Bicycles/sporting equipment Alcohol or food
NSW 73.8% 60.7% 49.7% 51.5% 33.2% 18.0% 7.9% 5.2%
Vic 67.3% 59.0% 54.9% 48.1% 35.7% 21.8% 7.5% 5.6%
Qld 79.0% 54.5% 55.5% 52.5% 29.5% 14.5% 9.5% 5.0%
WA 76.2% 54.8% 63.1% 46.4% 28.6% 14.3% 8.3% 8.3%
SA 69.4% 54.2% 59.7% 54.2% 31.9% 18.1% 9.7% 2.8%
Tas 87.0% 69.6% 60.9% 47.8% 26.1% 8.7% 0.0% 0.0%
Aus 73.1% 57.8% 54.4% 50.5% 32.8% 17.5% 8.3% 5.7%
  Money, purse, or wallet Personal items (such as jewellery) Mobile phone or smartphone Computer equipment Personal electronic or audio/visual equipment Tools Bicycles/sporting equipment Alcohol or food
18-24 79.0% 58.0% 50.4% 48.7% 34.5% 17.6% 6.7% 5.0%
25-34 73.7% 56.0% 55.4% 48.6% 32.6% 18.9% 10.9% 4.0%
35-44 70.6% 54.2% 61.6% 46.3% 39.0% 13.0% 10.2% 5.1%
45-54 70.3% 57.0% 55.2% 47.7% 33.7% 19.8% 11.6% 4.7%
55-64 79.1% 61.4% 52.3% 48.4% 28.8% 18.3% 5.9% 5.9%
65+ 68.9% 60.2% 50.5% 60.7% 29.1% 17.5% 4.4% 8.7%
Aus 73.1% 57.8% 54.4% 50.5% 32.8% 17.5% 8.3% 5.7%
  Money, purse, or wallet Personal items (such as jewellery) Mobile phone or smartphone Computer equipment Personal electronic or audio/visual equipment Tools Bicycles/sporting equipment Alcohol or food
Female 76.2% 63.9% 50.4% 48.6% 32.4% 16.4% 7.8% 4.3%
Male 69.7% 51.4% 58.6% 52.5% 33.4% 18.4% 8.8% 7.2%
Total 73.1% 57.8% 54.4% 50.5% 32.8% 17.5% 8.3% 5.7%

**Participants were able to select their 3 most likely targets of theft. Therefore, percentages add up to greater than 100%.

Data from the ABS showed that tools were the 3rd-most stolen category items, yet most Australians consider them far less likely to be taken. This might indicate that people won’t properly protect them – potentially leaving expensive tools unlocked and accessible in the backyard.

3.3 Is there a Neighbourhood Watch program in your area?

State
Gender
Age
  Unsure No Yes
NSW 36.6% 45.7% 45.7%
Vic 46.2% 33.5% 20.3%
Qld 44.0% 28.5% 27.5%
WA 50.0% 28.5% 27.5%
SA 44.4% 27.8% 27.8%
Tas 47.8% 34.8% 17.4%
Aus 43.0% 35.4% 21.6%
  Unsure No Yes
18-24 42.9% 32.8% 24.4%
25-34 41.1% 33.1% 25.7%
35-44 40.7% 42.4% 16.9%
45-54 44.2% 36.0% 19.8%
55-64 58.2% 22.9% 19.0%
65+ 34.5% 41.7% 23.8%
Total 43.0% 35.4% 21.6%
  Unsure No Yes
Female 48.0% 32.6% 19.3%
Male 37.7% 38.5% 23.8%
Total 43.0% 35.4% 21.6%

Overall, roughly 22% of Australians can confirm that they know about the Neighbourhood Watch program in their area. That leaves a staggering 78% either unaware or knowing their area doesn’t have a local neighbourhood support system.

3.4 Would you install a home security system to reduce your home insurance premium?

State
Age
Gender
  Yes No
NSW 71.3% 28.7%
Vic 78.6% 21.4%
Qld 73.5% 26.5%
WA 79.8% 20.2%
SA 69.4% 30.6%
Tas 69.6% 30.4%
Aus 74.2% 25.8%
  Yes No
18-24 72.3% 27.7%
25-34 84.0% 16.0%
35-44 82.5% 17.5%
45-54 73.8% 26.2%
55-64 69.3% 30.7%
65+ 63.6% 36.4%
Aus 74.2% 25.8%
  Yes No
Female 72.7% 27.3%
Male 75.6% 24.4%
Total 74.2% 25.8%

Australians seem quite open to the idea of having a security system installed to save on their insurance premiums. In particular, participants aged between 25 and 44 were highly in favour, with over 80% opting to increase their security in exchange for cheaper premiums. On the other hand, less than 64% of Australians aged over 65 would add security systems to their property for insurance purposes.

3.5 Have you ever had packages or parcels stolen from outside your home (such as parcels left by a courier at your front door)?

State
Age
Gender
  Yes No
NSW 12.5% 87.5%
Vic 12.0% 88.0%
Qld 7.5% 92.5%
WA 15.5% 84.5%
SA 22.2% 77.8%
Tas 8.7% 91.3%
Aus 12.4% 87.6%
  Yes No
18-24 17.6% 82.4%
25-34 23.4% 76.6%
35-44 16.4% 83.6%
45-54 7.6% 92.4%
55-64 6.5% 93.5%
65+ 4.9% 95.1%
Aus 12.4% 87.6%
  Yes No
Female 10.7% 89.3%
Male 13.9% 86.1%
Total 12.4% 87.6%

Over 12% of Australians have had a parcel or package stolen from their property. This figure rises as high as 22% in South Australia. However, Queenslanders only reported a 7.5% rate of having packages stolen.

Possibly owing to online buying behaviours, younger demographics (such as those from 18 to 34) were more likely to have had packages stolen than older groups.

3.6 Are you more concerned about home burglary in your suburb compared to 12 months ago?

State
Age
Gender
  More concered Unchanged Less concerned
NSW 21.6% 65.5% 12.8%
Vic 24.8% 64.7% 10.5%
Qld 31.5% 64.0% 4.5%
WA 21.4% 64.3% 14.3%
SA 29.2% 59.7% 11.1%
Tas 17.4% 69.6% 13.0%
Aus 24.7% 65.0% 10.4%
  More concered Unchanged Less concerned
18-24 26.1% 58.0% 16.0%
25-34 34.9% 49.7% 15.4%
35-44 31.1% 54.8% 14.1%
45-54 22.7% 67.4% 9.9%
55-64 15.0% 80.4% 4.6%
65+ 18.4% 77.2% 4.4%
Total 24.7% 65.0% 10.4%
  More concerned Unchanged Less concerned
Female 25.0% 66.0% 9.0%
Male 24.4% 63.9% 11.7%
Total 24.7% 65.0% 10.4%

Most Australians feel unchanged about the risks of home burglary. The highest rates of feeling more concerned were within those aged 25-34 – a common age for first home buyers. Queenslanders were also more concerned about home burglary than any other state or territory.

4. Ways to decrease your risks of theft at home

Increase Security

A report from the Australian Institute of Criminology[3] suggested that crime rates decreased due to the increase in home security systems. Not only will they help collect evidence if a crime does occur, they’ll often scare potential criminals away from your property.

Be involved in the community

It’s worth finding out if there’s a Neighbourhood Watch program in your area. Otherwise, getting to know your neighbours can often help. If they notice anything suspicious at your property, there’s a chance they can help prevent a burglary from occurring.

Don’t allow window-shoppers

Whether it’s door-to-door salespeople, cleaners, or other unknown persons, don’t allow strangers a glimpse inside your home. Criminals can quickly learn the layout of your property and catch sight of potential possessions to steal.

Disclaimer: This survey was conducted by Pure Profile on behalf of Budget Direct in May 2021. The survey was conducted online with a total sample size of 1,002, weighted and representative of all Australian adults (aged 18+) with driver’s licences. All other data on this website is the latest available from the named sources in this article, and was obtained in June 2021. Auto & General Services Pty Ltd does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the data and accepts no liability whatsoever arising from or connected in any way to the use or reliance upon this data.

References

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2021. Crime Victimisation, Australia
[2] Knoema. 2018. Burglary rate.
[3] Australian Institute of Criminology. 2020. Explaining the property crime drop: The offender perspective.