The risks and benefits

Many people underestimate the security risk that lost keys pose. It's surprising how many break-ins occur because a thief came into possession of someone's keys.

It's quite common for people to keep car and house keys in their handbag or briefcase along with documentation that shows a home address, such as a drivers licence or utility bill. This is all that a thief needs to locate your home, access it quickly and easily and be able to steal even more items from you. Even if you have home and contents insurance, replacing stolen or damaged goods can be time-consuming, stressful and still cost you money.

Replacing house keys or installing new locks can be very expensive (see table below). The cost of replacing car keys varies on model and make of car but can be hundreds of dollars, especially for cars with electronic key access. In addition to the cost, simply arranging new copies for each family member and swapping old for new keys can also complex, stressful and time-consuming.

How Secure Sentinel helps

Secure Sentinel members receive specially coded key-tags to keep on their key rings. This tag displays the Secure Sentinel contact telephone number and a unique code. Should anyone find your keys, they simply need to contact Secure Sentinel.

This helps protect the member's privacy and can help prevent thieves from being able to work out which home or car the keys provide access to.

Practical key safety tips

While no amount of protection can stop thieves from trying, there are some very simple steps that you can take to keep your keys safe:

  • Keep your keys securely with you at all times. Avoid leaving them lying around at work or when out as they can easily be forgotten.

  • Never store any personal details such as your name or address with your keys. This is simply telling a thief where they need to go to rob you. It's not a good idea to leave your phone number on keys either. An identity thief could easily contact you and pretend to be from a service provider and needing to verify your address.

  • Avoid leaving your keys lying around your house, rather keep your keys  out of sight such as on key chains within a cupboard. Don't leave spare keys in obvious places such as under doormats or in flower pots near your front door.

  • It is useful to leave spare sets of keys with trusted family and friends but be careful who you give spare keys to. Many break-ins occur when too many people have access to keys. If you are ever concerned about your friends having access to your home simply ask them to return the keys.

  • Never give all of your keys to people that may need access to your house from time to time (e.g. a tradesperson).