Part of a broader trend towards all-inclusive master planned developments, gated residential estates are an intensely private form of residential development with a degree of securitisation. Gated residential estates have been the topic of intense debate in urban planning and policy circles and the target of fierce criticism for potential exclusionary outcomes as fearful residents lock themselves away from the ills of wider urban society. Crime, a fear of crime and the need for security dominate discussions and understandings of gated residential developments in Australia without much empirical validation. This paper poses two key research questions: does fear of crime and need for increased security drive residents towards gated estates; and what are the lived experiences of security, gates and crime once residing within a gated estate? Based on in-depth research in Macquarie Links (one of Sydney's largest gated estates) this paper offers insights into the lived dimensions of gated estates. The paper explores the attractions and realities of security services and infrastructure, private control over the residential environment and the importance placed by the residents on the ability to protect the nature of their neighbourhood and to protect themselves from any 'unwanted' activities or groups. The discussion in this paper demonstrates that for the residents in the study, residing in a secure residential neighbourhood is less about the role and place of physical security and security services, and more to do with protection afforded by the private governance structure of the neighbourhood.