Home Security - Protecting your home from break and enter

It can be heartbreaking and costly to find your home has been the target of a break and enter. 

Most break and enter offences are not planned in advance. This means that there are some easy tips you can follow to make your home less attractive and reduce your likelihood of becoming a victim.

Understanding the motives of home burglars will also go a long way to ensuring you are not a target.

Profile of a home burglar

Home burglars are usually not shy. They will not hesitate to walk into your home if the door is open. More concerning is that many of them don't care if you're pottering around somewhere else in the house – while they help themselves.

According to statistics compiled by the NRMA, in NSW, more than 30% of home burglaries happen when someone is home.

In 16% of home burglaries reported to the police, burglars entered through an open door.

They are also not keen on other people's dogs. According to research in the ACT, burglars prefer not to encounter dogs in the houses they are breaking into; in fact 75% of burglars questioned in an ACT survey in 1999 said the presence of a dog 'puts them off' breaking into a house.

Burglars are generally not collectors. They want things which are easily carried and sold – laptops, cash, mobile phones, credit cards, jewellery, handbags, wallets, household electricals, power tools, prescription drugs, bikes and clothing, especially brand labels and leather jackets.

Here are some quick and easy ways to protect your home from potential break and enter offenders:

Basic Security

  • Make locking external doors and windows a habit, even when you are at home or out in the yard.
  • Ensure any doors or windows left open for ventilation have the necessary security devices fitted.
  • Install security sensor lights and fit appropriate locks especially to those doors or windows hidden from public view.

Take a look around

  • Objectively view your premises and conduct a basic security survey. Identify vulnerable areas and increase security where necessary.
  • Make sure tools and ladders are kept in a secure place – offenders often use garden equipment and wheelie bins to break into premises.
  • Make sure shrubs are pruned low enough to see over or free of branches up to head height. If you can see out, neighbours can keep an eye on your place.

Out of sight - out of mind

  • Place items such as cash, wallets, laptops and mobile phones out of sight, as these can be easily targeted and quick to remove and dispose of by offenders
  • Car owners should ensure their vehicle is always locked and secured, even at home, with any valuables such as GPS, cash, laptops and cameras placed out of sight.

Know your valuables

  • Take an inventory of all items of value including electrical goods, recording their brand, colour, model and serial number.
  • Photograph your valuables and size jewellery against a ruler or matchbox to assist in determining size.
  • To deter thieves, engrave or mark your property with a code made up of your initials, your date of birth as six digits and N for NSW, or your licence number. Police can record this code on their computer system to assist in property recovery.

Light up

  • If you are going away, timed lights, or leaving the radio on gives an impression someone is home.
  • If you hear suspicious noises at night, switch on interior and exterior lights.

Download a detailed home security fact sheet 

How secure is your home? Download a checklist.

Watch this short video from the NSW Police to learn more about the simple steps you can follow to improve the security of your home:

Building or renovating? Watch this short video for safe home design tips: