Apartment living has many benefits—but fear of crime is a real threat.
Apartments and other high-density housing areas require more policing, as they experience higher call volumes and crime rates.
It can be difficult to achieve true apartment security as you do not own the space. Therefore, you can’t add a complex home security system. There are many home security locks available, but renters cannot necessarily have the locks changed freely.
Despite these limitations, you can still be safe in your new apartment.
Primarily, you should do some research on crime statistics in the area. Try to avoid a ground-level apartment if you can. When you do move in, talk with your neighbors. Get to know them so that you can help keep an eye out for each other.
For seven of the most effective ways to keep your apartment as secure as possible, keep reading.
Increasing Apartment Security
Moving into a new apartment is stressful enough. Simply trying to get your affairs in order for a new living space can be very time-consuming.
Long gone are the days where we can leave the key under the mat and “probably be fine.” Even leaving the TV on or a fake dog barking alarm might not be enough to prevent a break-in.
There are more sophisticated criminals these days, and they may use advanced technology or other unique methods to gain access to your residence. Even if the building is secure, there are further steps you can take to ensure your own apartment does not become the next target.
What Can I Do?
While it may be intimidating, considering your home security options is very important. Apartments are extra-vulnerable to common crimes, including:
- Package Theft
To prevent an attack from a criminal, you have to think like one. With just a few easy additions, you can help deter these types of crimes from striking your residence.
There are also non-traditional means of apartment security one must consider. For example, keeping your in-home WiFi network secure can have many important benefits. This protects you from becoming targeted in a cyberattack where your personal information may be at risk.
Keep your network locked, and be careful with who you give the password out to.
Furthermore, avoid giving out too much information. If you live alone, be wary of mentioning this to delivery or ride-share drivers. They have access to your address and other information and could potentially use this against you.
Simply being aware of these tips can help you protect yourself.
While the thought of increasing your apartment’s physical security may seem like its own uphill battle—it doesn’t have to be. Check out these key changes you can make to ensure you have a secure apartment.
1. Increase Lighting
Increasing the lighting in and around your front door can have numerous benefits for apartment security.
Primarily, it can help your own peace of mind. Everyday tasks like unlocking your door or taking out the trash can be that much more anxiety-driving when the entryway is poorly lit.
This does not mean expensive lighting solutions, requiring wiring and holes in the wall. There are plenty of options for wireless lights that are still highly effective. These may include puck lights, string lights, lanterns, and many more.
Most are battery-powered and stick onto the wall, making a quick and easy solution for dim entryway lighting.
For hallways and outdoor spaces that exceed the confines of your apartment, try talking with your property manager. See if they would consider improving the lighting, and changing any bulbs that may be out.
Preventing tenant crimes is in their best interest, as well—so you may be surprised how accommodating they could be.
2. Invest in a Safe
When you leave the house, there is always a risk of someone breaking in.
While the actual risk levels vary on a variety of factors, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Think about it—if someone was to break into my home, how can I protect myself even if I’m not home?
In the safe, you can leave valuables that might otherwise be easy targets. Examples of these include:
- Vital documents (birth certificate, social security card, passport, etc)
- High-value items (jewelry, watches, computers, etc)
- Family heirlooms
Purchasing a safe is one of the best ways to minimize damage if someone was to break in. They can also help protect your valuables in the event of flooding or fires.
In addition to the traditional in-home safe models, there are also newer models designed for outside your front door.
Unfortunately, the phenomenon of package theft has become all too common in today’s world. With the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are ordering supplies and gifts online. This means more deliveries—and thus more opportunities for “porch pirates” to strike.
Some Boston residents have taken to installing secure delivery boxes and bags outside their homes. These come padlocked from the outside. Residents will provide delivery personnel with the passcode, and the bag is locked back up again after the package is dropped inside.
This practice helps to maintain a secure apartment, even when the tenant is not home to receive a delivery.
While these may not be viable options in all apartments, it’s something to take into account. There are a variety of safes on the market at different sizes and price points.
Be sure to carefully consider which option is best for you. For example, smaller safes may be attractive as they can be advantageous for easy transport. However, it’s also possible a home invader could steal the entire thing.
3. Install Additional Locks
One of the most important ways to improve apartment security is by increasing the strength of your locks. While it may not be possible to have the locks changed in a rental space, there are other options to help promote a secure apartment.
If you are unable to drill into the wall to add more locks, there are portable lock options available. These are relatively inexpensive ways of securing apartment spaces.
They are very secure, yet they are not too cumbersome. These locks can be put on and taken off with ease.
Plus, these are great for use when traveling as well. Portable locks can add another layer of security to hotel rooms or temporary rentals.
If you are serious about a full upgrade to your door locks, try talking with your property manager or landlord. See if they would be willing to upgrade the lock. There are many different grades of locks, and together you could identify which is best for your apartment.
If it’s allowed, you may be able to go one step further. See if you can upgrade to commercial-strength locks which are more durable than most residential models. If they do not agree to have the locks changed, you could offer to pay for it out of your own pocket to see if that would sway them.
Regardless of your lock situation, be sure to always remind yourself to lock the door on the way out. It sounds simple, but this can go overlooked. Even the most secure apartment lock is useless if left unlocked.
4. Cover Windows
Installing curtains and blinds should be one of the first steps upon move-in to improving apartment security.
If passersby see valuables through the window and do not see anyone home, they might strike as a crime of opportunity.
While it sounds minor, simply keeping your windows covered at night or when you aren’t home can have major effects. This is especially important for those on the ground floor.
You could even go one step further and invest in a window sensor that detects when the glass has been broken.
5. Install a Portable Security System
With today’s technology, there are many portable home security systems available on the market at various price points. These can be game-changers in keeping a secure apartment. You can usually find these online or at most home improvement stores.
If you do not want a full alarm system, there are also portable security camera options at most of these same retailers.
These systems are portable and do not require wiring or drilling into the wall. They simply stick on where you want them to go and come off with ease.
Most of today’s models also connect to an app on your phone for ultimate convenience. This way, you can check in whenever you want. Plus, many of these models will provide a mobile notification whenever sound or motion is detected.
If you were looking for one of the classic doorbell security systems that are all the rage, you may be disappointed to learn they require hard installation. This is usually not an option for apartment security.
However, there are third-party companies that make renter-friendly accessories for these products. They produce a bracket that attaches to by hugging the door frame—thus, no power tools required. It holds the doorbell device in place without the need for screws or sticky strips.
Some newer alarm system models do not need to be drilled into the wall, either. Plus, as these models are geared for apartment security, many of them do not carry service contracts. This makes it optimal for temporary renters to still maintain a secure apartment.
Even if you ultimately decide not to install a home security system, try to find security system stickers. Placing these on doors and windows can help deter criminals from targeting your apartment.
6. Additional Sliding Door Security
Sliding doors are one of the weakest points of an apartment. This is especially true for ground-floor apartments, where the threat of break-ins is very real.
Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to improve sliding door security.
One easy example is to simply add a bar to the track of the sliding door. This way, it cannot open from the outside. You can do this yourself, or purchase a device to help keep a secure apartment.
7. Talk to Your Neighbors
While these technological devices can make or break your apartment security, one of the most important steps to keeping a secure apartment is to talk to your neighbors.
Primarily, you can get a feel for the type of people they are. If you catch red flags right off the bat, you can be sure to avoid extended contact with them.
On the flip side, if you find you can get along easily with your neighbors they can serve as one of your greatest allies.
Let them know if you will be out of town. This way, they can keep an extra-strong eye out for any unusual activity. Plus, they can ensure mail, newspapers, and other items do not pile up at your door. This basically announces to anyone passing by that you are not home and invites a break-in.
They can help keep an eye out for you, and you for them. A strong relationship with your neighbors can go a long way in apartment security.
Putting Plans Into Action
While these tips are helpful, it is important to always remain vigilant. Just one of these tips on its own might not be 100 percent successful, but putting them in place in conjunction can change the game for your apartment security.
Before moving into a new apartment, do your research. Check out local crime statistics in the area, and ask the property management what they do to help protect their tenants.
For more information on how you can promote a secure apartment for yourself, or to request a quote on home security systems, contact an expert today.