The Ultimate Guide to Home Security for Apartments
A home burglary occurs every 26 seconds in the United States, with every burglary leading to an average dollar loss of $2,799. Many Americans fear a home break-in, as it can lead to regularly questioning the safety of their home.
It’s another issue for renters. Anyone renting an apartment already has one major concern: maintaining the condition of their apartment—while living there—to guarantee they receive their security deposit upon moving out. Moreover, they don’t have the sort of protection that homeowners have: They can’t make modifications as they wish, improving home security with updates as desired or needed.
Renter’s insurance can be a protection for the renter, old or young, but it’s a protection in the event of a robbery, fire, flood, etc. On top of that, you have to file a claim in the event of damage or robbery—and who knows how well your insurance company will pay in the event of theft?
Your best option is to be prepared and to take measures to guarantee your apartment is protected against a break-in. For some renters, that can involve installing another deadbolt lock on their door; for others, it might include placing a doorbell camera at the front door.
The ultimate form of apartment security involves an approach developed around preparation—you want to have your home secured before a thief considers breaking in. Here are the major things you need to consider before and after moving in.
Before You Move In
Look at your building’s maintenance.
Before you sign a lease on an apartment, consider how the building it is contained within is maintained. That includes landscaping, exterior painting, outdoor and indoor lighting, entrance ways, mailroom security, and more. For instance, do you need a key to get into the building? Do you need a separate key to access the mailroom? Is there sufficient lighting out by the trash bins for late-night and early-morning safety? What does the lighting look like in the hallways?
These are all important things to look for, helping you determine whether the surrounding property is safe enough to move into in the first place. Furthermore, look into safety statistics for the area, too. This will help you determine what crime statistics—violent assaults and robberies—look like to know whether moving in is a good idea.
Ask your landlord for a new front door lock.
You should always ask your landlord to update the locks of your apartment. Why? Because you never know if the last tenant made a copy of their key before leaving. If you’re looking to make a serious upgrade, consider asking them to install a deadbolt alongside the main lock. They act as an extra bit of security that will make breaking into your apartment much harder than a single old lock.
Inspect your windows.
How are the existing windows in your apartment? If the molding is worn out or the locks are broken/unaligned, immediately ask for them to be replaced. While your landlord is bound to be finicky about spending money on the property, you need to sell it as a form of financial security—for the two of you.
Also consider purchasing some other upgrades, such as a window contact alarm: a high-decibel device that will emit a piercing screech when activated by a window being opened. The noise alone is sure to cause a thief to go running.
Once You Move In
Get renter’s insurance.
As mentioned at the beginning, make sure you get renter’s insurance. It tends to be cheap when bundled with an existing auto insurance policy, and it’s well worth the extra cost. The policy will protect your possessions against burglary, water damage, fire, vandalism, someone being injured within your apartment, and more. While it won’t protect your apartment against a break-in, it will protect you after the fact.
Protect your windows.
One of the first ways that burglars scope out apartments is through their windows—it’s the literal embodiment of “window shopping.” If they’re not already installed, put some blinds, shades, or drapes over your windows.
This is a simple way to shut out intruders while improving your privacy, making sure that others cannot see what you’re doing or the items you have indoors. Don’t let others peep in on what you’re doing throughout the day or at night. Put up a blind and increase your privacy and personal security.
Secure your door.
Securing your front door is essential for anyone living in an apartment—it’s likely the only thing keeping people out of your apartment. Looking to change this? A door jammer does just that. Acting as a heavy, immovable doorstop by applying vertical force on the door, a door jammer will be easily installed and just as easily removed in the event of an emergency, allowing you to increase apartment security thanks to this small device.
Buy a home safe.
Looking to protect your most valuable items at all times? A home safe can do just that. Fireproof for up to two hours and featuring a dual dial lock, the Hollon 310D safe is a simple way to protect your most valuable possessions. Jewelry, family heirlooms, a firearm, your birth certificate, and your social security card: A home safe can protect your items against untrustworthy guests, robbers, and more.
Get a small spy camera.
Living in an apartment means most of your possessions are stored in a small space, making them easy to collect and steal with ease. Moreover, it leaves little space to wander around, meaning that a watchful eye can accurately capture any nefarious activities going on. A well-placed wireless security camera can improve your home security, whether you’re trying to watch over your home while you’re away, checking in on your cat while you’re at work, or wanting to capture footage of a robber if a break-in occurs.
Most modern cameras allow you to readily check in with your smartphone through an app, meaning you can capture footage and watch a livestream of captured footage at any time of day.
Purchase an apartment home security system.
While you can’t install a wired security system, you do have other alarm options that are specially designed for apartment security. Consider a door stop alarm—an inexpensive, battery-powered device that is activated when a door is opened.
Introduce yourself to the neighbors.
Mr. Rogers was really on to something when he spent so much time getting to know his neighbors. Knowing your neighbors is like having intelligent security cameras all around your building.
When neighbors know each other, they’re more likely to keep an eye out for suspicious activity and warn others if they see anything fishy. Watch for people in your apartment complex who you think you might like to get to know. Strike up conversations with them in common areas.
If you’re too shy for face-to-face contact, you can also join social media groups on Facebook and Nextdoor in most complexes and neighborhoods to break the ice.
Keep an eye out for unexpected guests.
Depending on your lifestyle, you might be someone who regularly expects guests at your front door, whether they are delivery drivers or professionals related to your business, or you might be someone who never receives a guest and is put off by someone knocking on your door.
Whichever situation you’re in, there’s a lot to be said about the notion of “stranger danger.”
See someone through the peephole of your door you’re not expecting? Open your door slightly and hear that it’s a maintenance person who you never called for? Act with caution and do not let them into your home. If they’re a stranger who is persistent and will not leave, consider calling the police; if they’re an unexpected maintenance worker, tell them you will let them in once you talk to your landlord or HOA.
Better yet, consider installing a doorbell camera. This will allow you to see who is at your front door without having to approach it. You’ll also be able to communicate with them if your doorbell has a microphone, allowing you to determine whether they’re safe.
Install outdoor security lights.
Outdoor security lights are a simple way to increase your overall apartment security. Whether it’s out on your patio or above your front door, a well-placed outdoor light can decrease the likelihood of a thief targeting one of the entrances of your apartment. You’ll have to consult your landlord or HOA, depending on how the lights need to be installed, though. Anything requiring additional wiring should be done by a professional and approved by all interested parties. That way, you can protect both your apartment and your security deposit.
Use the illusion of security.
You don’t need to fill your place with security tools to protect it. As mentioned before, a robber can be scared off by the mere illusion of security—warning signs that tell them, instinctually, to not take a chance on your property.
Examples of these security illusions include the placement of a security camera sign on your property or effectively using indoor and outdoor lighting while you’re away from home. The former works by scaring off a criminal, (falsely) telling them they’ll be caught on camera if they approach your home. That threat alone can be enough to cause them to run away.
The latter is useful as it gives the illusion that someone is home when no one is. How does this work? Thieves are less likely to break into a property if someone is home, as it increases their chances of the robbery going wrong, potentially leading to their future arrest. You can either leave a light on inside and outside before you leave for the night, or you could install smart lighting—which would allow you to either set the lights on a timer or control them yourself.
Adopt a dog if it’s allowed.
If your landlord allows pets, consider adopting a dog. 65% of convicted robbers reported they would not attempt a theft at a property if a dog lived there, as their tendency to bark at intruders acts as an immediate scare. Best of all, they’ll provide you with comfort on those late, dark nights, so you’ll feel like you have a protector if you hear a bump in the night.
Keeping Your Apartment Safe
While all of the above tips need to be kept in mind, they can be summed up: Think like a burglar and act accordingly. First and foremost, a burglar is going to scope out your place for weak spots, including entranceways, windows, locks, and more. They’ll also look for potential hiding spots, such as areas where they can wait out while inspecting your home or to avoid the eye of bystanders.
Maybe they notice that the locks to your apartment are old and loose. They could see that you left your ground floor windows unlocked. If your front door has sidelights, they might notice that you don’t have a security system installed.
Whatever it is, there are key weaknesses they’ll be looking for. If you can identify these, you can act in defense. You can update the locks to your home, put up outdoor lighting, install a wireless security system, and more. Do what’s needed and protect your property.
By taking precautions and preparing your home, you're acting in self-defense. Not only can you protect your home against an attempted robbery, but, with the right home security tools and gadgets, you can prevent a robbery from targeting your home in the first place.
Unsure where to start on your home security journey? Visit The Home Security Superstore and find the home protection products you need.
How can I keep my apartment safe?
There is no one solution to improving apartment security. By employing numerous tactics, you can improve personal safety both before and after moving in.
Do I need renter’s insurance?
It’s recommended that any renter get insurance for their apartment. It can protect them and their possessions in the event of damage or theft.
What should I first improve in my apartment?
Improve both indoor and outdoor lighting, upgrade your front door and window locks, and consider getting a small in-home security camera.
ConnectVector / Shutterstock.com
Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com
Fusionstudio / Shutterstock.com
gpointstudio / Shutterstock.com