When you think of home security, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  Most people just associate security systems with homeownership, but renters need to safeguard their belongings, too.  They may not consider it important to have a security system, especially if they live on an upper floor, but apartments may actually be more vulnerable to burglaries than single-family homes.  Consider these alarming (no pun intended) facts about apartment break-ins:

  • According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, apartments are more likely to be burglarized than single-family homes.  Burglary rates are nearly twice as high in rental units.
  • About 70% of apartment burglaries involve forced entry at a weak point using simple tools, such as hammers and screwdrivers.
  • ApartmentSearch.com reports that apartment burglaries follow a pattern similar to home invasions:  They typically take place during the day, and the culprits usually look for apartments that are easy to get into, have plenty of cover, and are located along an escape route.

Here are a few apartment safety tips people may not think of:

1.  Research the Neighborhood

Before choosing an apartment, get to know the neighborhood.  While it’s not uncommon for people to drive around the area to check things out, you can take your investigation a step further.  Find out about local crime statistics by contacting the police department or using an app such as Safe Neighborhood.  StreetAdvisor shows you a community’s overall rating.  According to Lifehacker, the DMV advises prospective renters on how to vet the neighborhood.

Walk around the neighborhood you’re considering.  Pay close attention to the upkeep.  Are the lawns well maintained?   If not, this could be a red flag sign.  Is graffiti prevalent on fences and buildings?  This too is indicative of high crime areas.  Also, heed your gut feeling.  Do you feel safe?  Take the time to interview neighbors for their views on crime in the area.

Check with the local Neighborhood Watch group, if available.

Additionally, visit the apartment at different times of the day to see how busy the street is.  Stop by at night to make sure the area is safe and well-lit.

2.  Safety Measures You May Not Have Thought Of

Apartment-dwellers are generally advised to purchase renters’ insurance and to keep windows and doors securely locked.  But they can take additional steps to protect themselves and their belongings.  Here are some safety tips you may not have thought of:

  • Install reinforcements to limit movement of sliding patio doors on decks and balconies.
  • Ask if your landlord can install a peephole to help you recognize when an “unsavory character” is at your door.
  • Purchase a fireproof safe to keep your most valuable items– jewelry, sensitive documents, cash– locked up and out of sight.  See if your landlord will allow you to bolt it down so a thief can’t haul it away.
  • Put up blinds that make it impossible for a curious culprit to peek inside your home.  Just remember to keep them closed when you’re away.
  • Replace the locks in case any former tenants haven’t returned their keys.  Apartment managers sometimes rotate locks between apartments rather than installing brand-new locks.

3.  Renters Can Install Monitored Security Systems, Too

You don’t have to be at the mercy of your landlord when it comes to security.  You can purchase a home security package that provides comprehensive protection with cameras, motion sensors, and motion-sensored lights, all of which are likely to discourage a would-be intruder.  Renters are generally advised not to invest in a wired system.  These are usually impractical for apartments.  Plus, tenants have to leave them behind when they move out.  Fortunately, there are wireless options on the market that are a good fit for most rental units.

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It’s a good idea to talk to your landlord before taking any major steps to safeguard your apartment, especially if installation requires significant changes to the property.  A home security company may require your landlord’s seal of approval before sending you the equipment or arriving at your home to set it up.

Are you interested in installing a monitored home security system in your apartment? Contact Protect America for a free quote.