Moving into a new apartment can be stressful. The floorboards creak as your neighbors walk around. The heating system moans as it warms up. A new residence is filled with unfamiliar sounds that may make you uncomfortable. You can feel safer in your new place by ramping up the security while on a budget. With the right tools and some common sense, you’ll be on your way to turning your new apartment into a safe haven.
1. Choose a Safe Location
The neighborhood you choose to live in is a huge factor in how safe you will feel and be. Investigate the crime statistics of the areas you are interested in. This information can be found online through neighborhood reviews, newspapers or by calling the town hall or police department. You can ask your real estate agent to send you in the right direction. However, realtors cannot legally commit housing discrimination, so they will be careful about what they tell you.
Walk through the neighborhood and look for key identifiers of dangerous areas, including barred doors and windows, gated businesses and a variety of stores that sell security equipment. Don’t rent in one of these neighborhoods. Live in the safest area you can afford.
2. Have Strong Doors and Locks
Once you’ve found a safe neighborhood within your budget, find an apartment that’s secure. All the exterior doors should have solid cores and have a deadbolt lock. If the apartment does not have these features, ask the landlord if he or she can change it before you move in. Purchase a dowel rod if your place has sliding glass doors. You can place the rod in the rail where the door slides. If burglars pick the lock, they still won’t be able to open the doors. Be sure the rod is long enough so that when the door opens, a person cannot slide through the opening. Locking the doors is one of the easiest, cheapest ways to secure your apartment. Keep them locked whether or not you are home.
Lock your windows when you are not using them or if you are not home. A dowel rod can also be used to secure sliding models. If you are on the first floor, be sure shrubs aren’t near the base of your windows. Burglars can hide in thick vegetation and slide unnoticed into your apartment.
3. Use the Buzzer
Most apartment buildings will have a vestibule that guests can access. However, the door to the building’s interior should be locked. Be sure your apartment has a buzzer that allows you to open the door for your guests. Instruct your visitors to call ahead of time so that you know they are coming. Never buzz in a stranger. Systems with intercoms are ideal because you can screen guests by speaking with them. If unexpected visitors buzz, ask for their name and purpose. Do not let them in if you feel uncomfortable.
4. Invest in Home Security
While securing your apartment with deadbolts and dowel rods is effective, installing home security systemsis an even better way to protect your property. Security packages include motion sensors, cameras and glass break sensors. The alarm will sound when any of these sensors are tripped. Use the video feed as evidence to help catch the culprit if your apartment is ever burglarized. Install home security right away when you move in so that your first night in the new place is peaceful.
5. Hide Your Valuables
Keep your expensive possessions away from windows. Burglary is a crime of opportunity. Potential thieves are more likely to target your apartment if they can see your giant TV through the window. Arrange your furniture so that the stereo, TV, game systems and more are out of sight.
Store your precious items in smart locations so that burglars don’t find them if they manage to get past your locks. Sock drawers are incredibly obvious, so opt for a more creative hiding spot. For example, store money and pricey jewelry in a fake potted plant or inside of a picture frame (between the photo and cardboard backing). Don’t forget where you’ve hidden the items in case you need that extra cash. You can spend money on inconspicuous safes. Some designs make the box look like a wall vent or book.