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5 ways to make your apartment more secure
Safety tips for apartment, house and condo renters
When you think about someone breaking into your apartment, you probably think about it happening at night. You’re not alone — most people think the same thing. The truth is that of the 4,500 break-ins that happen every day, most take place in broad daylight. This is because thieves would much rather let themselves into your apartment and shop from your belongings when you’re at work. So, how do you make your apartment more secure? You don’t need to spend a fortune on hiring professional security services. Some simple precautions can really help.
5 Tips for making your apartment secure
1. Double-check your doors and windows
The majority of break-ins happen because the burglar finds an unlocked window or door. If yours are all securely locked, they’ll likely move on and try to find an easier target. The more time they have to spend trying to break-in, the more likely they are to get caught, so simply keeping access points locked really helps.
This means it’s pretty important that you have locks that actually work well. If your door lock feels a little flimsy, update it with a good deadbolt. Replacement deadbolts can cost as little as $5 or you can get smart locks for as much as $200+. (Feel a little daunted about swapping out a lock? No problem. Here’s a guide to help you get started.) Get approval from your landlord before installing locks that require you to drill a new hole in the door or necessitate new keys. Likely you will have to supply your landlord with a copy of the new keys.
2. Don’t leave valuables out in the open
One of the main reasons a burglar tries to break in is because they actually see something they want out in the open. If they can just grab and go, their chances of getting caught are pretty low. Typically, they’re looking for items that are high value and easy to haul away, such as:
While keeping things out of sight might seem like a simple fix, the trick is to do it every time you leave your home. Put your jewelry and watches away in your dresser or a jewelry box. Keep your laptop or tablet in a case or slide it under the bed. Tuck away headphones (Beats, AirPods, etc).
If you have trouble remembering, try putting a reminder on your door. Another option is to buy blinds or curtains (of course, then you have to remember to close them!)
3. Get to know your neighbors
Building a community can really help increase the safety and security of your home and belongings. If you build a relationship with your neighbors, they’ll probably notice if someone unusual is trying to get into your apartment while you’re at work. And if you’re going away on vacation or out of town, you can ask them to keep an extra eye on your place while you’re gone.
If you want to be even more proactive and discourage prowlers from even trying to get in, consider launching a neighborhood watch program. A neighborhood watch program is a group of people living in the same area who want to make their neighborhood safer by working together and in conjunction with local law enforcement to reduce crime and improve their quality of life.
4. Install an apartment security system or video doorbell
Even if you’re not a wiring genius, you can set up a wireless alarm system without spending a fortune. A number of new security systems have come on the market, including many that can connect to your phone.
For as little as $0.50/day, a system like SimpliSafe protects your entire apartment and monitors every door, window and room. These types of system sync with your smartphone and monitor remotely as you deem fit, as well as notify you and the security system company as soon as one of their monitors is tripped.
If you don’t want to go all out on an in-home security system, video doorbells are a great way to monitor your door and keep an eye on who’s coming and going. With Ring doorbells, not only can you see who’s at your door, but you can also set it up to get notifications when there’s movement in its field of vision.
As an added bonus, there are options with two-way voice communication, so you can talk to whoever is at your door as well as see them!$99.99 on amazon
5. Buy a safe
If all else fails and someone does break-in, having your most valuable items stashed away in a safe is your last line of defense — and it’s a pretty good one. Safes are nearly impossible to break into without a key or the code and they tend to be extremely heavy. Both of these factors discourage theft.
If you have expensive watches or jewelry, like to have some cash on hand, or have papers with your personal information on them (like a social security number), consider putting them into a safe. Safes can range from relatively cheap to relatively expensive, from $20 up to hundreds of dollars. SentrySafe X031 Security Safe was voted the best safe by Antitheft Boss in 2020 for Apartment rentals.
Don’t forget to store sentimental items to your safe, too. Some of these items are irreplaceable and may feel more valuable to you than watches and jewelry.
“Place your valuables and personal documents in a safe — even if you have a home security system, a home safe can provide an added layer of security against burglars, as well as protecting your valuables from maintenance people, housekeepers or another visitor.” — Sadie Cornelius for Safe Smart Living
Don’t forget renters insurance
In the end, you can’t 100% prevent a break-in. That’s why you have renters insurance. Renters insurance covers personal property theft (after your deductible), and it’s so important that many landlords and apartment complexes require you to have it. Rates typically average less than $16/mo. Check out our article on Cheapest Rent Insurance to learn more.
Apartment safety begins with the place you pick
One of the best ways to ensure your apartment is more secure begins with your selection of the unit in the first place. Next time you move, research the following for every location you’re considering:
- Local crime (rates, types, locations) on sites like CrimeReports, AreaVibes and Facebook Groups
- Incidents in that specific apartment complex or building
- Lights in the area — You don’t want to get home late one night and be in total darkness!
If you take these few things into consideration when looking for the perfect place to move and follow the tips above to make your apartment more secure, you should be able to feel much safer in your home!
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