Home Security Tips for Your Apartment

If you live in an apartment, you might think that you don't need to take extra "home security" measures.

After all, home security is just for those who own homes, right? Wrong. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, apartments are 85 percent more likely to be burglarized than other housing.

This means that you should take the initiative as the tenant.

Now, you may think that just because we are a home security system review site that we would just recommend that you buy a home security system.

While we think a home security system is a good idea, there are things to consider while renting that we'll address at the end of this article. There are, however, many things that you can (and should) do as a renter to ensure apartment security and secure your valuables.

Get to know the neighborhood

If you're moving or considering a move, get to know the neighborhood a little. Walk around the streets at different times of day to see the activity level and types of activities that are happening nearby.

Do you feel safe while walking around? Go online and look at sites like StreetAdvisor and see what people are saying about your neighborhood.

You can also get crime stats from your local police department, just send a letter, or stop by the station.

Secure doors

About 30 percent of all burglars gain access to the property through an unlocked door or window, so make sure to lock all doors and windows before leaving. Beyond just locking your apartment, the goal of these next steps is to "harden the target" or make your apartment more difficult to enter.

The would-be burglar is likely to bypass your apartment if it requires too much effort. 

The first step when moving into an apartment is to rekey the locks or ensure from the landlord that they have been rekeyed.

This is a basic-level security practice that all apartment managers and landlords should follow and pay for, so don't be afraid to ask for it. If the landlord doesn't offer this service, don't hesitate to pay for it yourself.

It is inexpensive and will give you peace of mind knowing that there are no extra keys to your apartment in the hands of strangers. Be aware that most landlords will expect a copy of your new key.

Take a look at your hinges. If they are on the outside of your apartment, a thief might just bypass the lock or deadbolt altogether and take aim at them.

State Farm recommends installing set screws to secure the hinges.

To do this, you drill a small screw through the middle of the hinge to keep it in place. Check out some of their other suggestions for safer door hinges.

Secure windows

We already mentioned that you should at the very least lock your windows, but beyond that, there are a few things that you should do (especially if your apartment is on the first floor). 

A low-maintenance, low-cost way to beef up the security of your windows is to install a rod on the tracks of your sliding windows or sliding glass doors. You can simply go to your nearest home improvement store and buy wooden dowels (about 3/8" diameter) to fit into the track.

Paint the dowel to match your window frame and it will be virtually unnoticeable.

Avoid helping the intruder gain cover or hide. Avoid any tall plants or shrubbery near your windows, both inside and outside, if you can help it.

Be a good neighbor

This doesn't mean bringing casseroles to neighbors every week, but it does help to get to know them.

That way, if either of you sees anything suspicious, you'll know whom to contact.

Most burglaries happen during the day. Because of this, it helps to know your neighbors because even if you're not at home, they might be. If they were to see any unsavory activity at your apartment, they could easily report it.

Similarly, inform a trustworthy neighbor when you'll be away on vacation, so they can keep an eye on your place while you're away.

Renter's insurance

This isn't necessarily a security measure, but it is a good idea. Not only that, but it can also be a great value. Most renter's insurance policies not only cover burglaries, but also water damage, fire damage, and vandalism.

Apartment-friendly alarm system

Last, but not least, the security system. When considering home security system options for an apartment, you first have to make sure your landlord is on board. Second, you'll want to make sure you get a system that can move with you. This is especially important if you are not planning on being in the same apartment forever. This means looking for a wireless system from a company that allows you to move at no additional cost.

There are plenty of companies on our site that offer these services. Take a look at Protect America and Frontpoint to get started.