Even neighbors may pose risk that is not as likely for a homeowner. Most burglaries happen during the day and take less than 10 minutes to break in and get out. In the close quarters of an apartment building, a neighbor who is familiar with your schedule and any building security deficits may be a potential threat.
Often living in an apartment complex gives us a false sense of security, especially if you live in a “secured” building. Even if your building or complex has a security system, it’s still necessary keep your doors and windows locked.
Consult with your property manager before making any changes. You may need to pay out of pocket to increase your apartment security if the management doesn’t cover the work. Hopefully, your apartment door has a combination of a locking door knob and deadbolt. If not, adding a deadbolt, chain locks, or swing lock can make a big difference in security.
Consider asking the management to change the locks on your door before you move in. There is no telling how many duplicate keys exist, so changing your door lock and adding a deadbolt are smart requests as a new tenant.
2a. Secure Your Sliding Door
Whether your apartment is on the first floor or higher floor with a balcony, one of the easiest ways for burglars to break into your apartment is through a sliding door. Even when locked, these doors are fairly easy to breach. Use a bar in the door track to stop the door from fully opening (you can find these at home improvement stores). This is also a prime spot for motion detection lights and a security camera to illuminate and monitor any movement.
3. Install a Peephole
Your front door is the first line of defense between you and whoever is outside. A peephole is an affordable way to upgrade your security when you’re home. Seeing and identifying someone gives you peace of mind that you are opening your door to someone you know, keeping unknown strangers out. Since this involves drilling a hole in your door, again, consult your landlord or property manager first.
4. Cover Your Windows
Burglars may “window shop” before breaking in. Many people don’t have window covers installed when they first move in or forget to close them. Anyone walking by looking in sees what you’re moving in with.
- Cover your windows with blinds and curtains if they are not already installed; close them when you’re not home and in the evening.
- Make sure to angle horizontal blinds when closed so people can’t peek though gaps between the slats.
- Remember when it’s dark and your lights are on, you’re “on stage” in your apartment. Anyone outside can see everything inside.
- Keep plants in front of the windows trimmed if you’re on the first floor.
5. Secure Your Windows
Securing your windows should be a priority especially if you live on the first floor, but it’s always a security boost regardless of what floor you live on. Windows often come with their own locks, but depending on your window design, look into lockable window latches. These allow you to leave windows open for ventilation, but also locked in place to keep intruders out.
Often security alarm systems offer a window sensor option. These detect when someone tampers with the windows or the glass breaks – and then alerts you and/or the alarm monitoring company when it’s breached.
5. Don’t Display Valuables
Burglary is usually a crime of opportunity, so don’t provide people with temptation. As above, closing your curtains and not putting valuables in the window are great deterrents. Besides intruders, a lot of trustworthy people have access to your windows (repair services, maintenance, cleaning services), but it’s still not a good reason to leave your laptop or wallet out.
6. Don’t Buzz In Unknown People
For renters who live in a secured building, a typical tactic of criminals gaining access to the buildings is to ring every apartment unit until someone buzzes them in. They claim to be a locked out neighbor, a delivery service, a repair service, or some other innocuous person.
Ask for the person’s identification and who they are trying to reach; if you know your neighbors, you’ll be better able to tell if that person belongs in the building. If you have any doubt, give them the property manager’s phone number and don’t give them access to your building.
7. Install Security Cameras
Security cameras are considered a great deterrent to burglars; they will often re-consider the burglary once they see a security camera. While full security system cameras give you layers of security, you can find standalone cameras that work effectively. They will also send a video feed directly to your smartphone, so you can monitor your apartment from anywhere; other systems allow you to save these videos as well.
8. Avoid Dark Common Areas
Sometimes apartment buildings aren’t well-lit and create potentially unsafe spaces such as dark hallways, stairwells, storage areas, parking garages, or dark nooks where trash receptacles are kept. You may not know about these are areas until you’ve moved in. Be aware of these spaces and if possible, use them during daylight hours or take other routes. It’s worth documenting these areas with the landlord or manager and finding solutions to make these areas safer for all residents.
9. Meet Your Neighbors
Meeting your neighbors and creating good relationships with them is a valuable layer of security that no security company can provide you. Good neighbors can help each other and keep an eye on each other’s apartments and property. They can alert each other to nearby crime or suspicious activity. A good relationship can also provide you with someone to leave your spare key or take in your mail when you travel.
10. Consider a Security System
Many renters think their apartment security system doesn’t extend beyond locks on their doors. Home security has come a long way and there is a system that fits every need and situation. If you are unable to alter your apartment, there are wireless home security systems that use adhesives to affix sensors and video monitoring devices in place.
If you’re fortunate enough to have your property manager work with you and can make some alterations to your apartment (drill holes), consider installing a security system with an alarm monitoring service. This type of home security system is extremely effective in both homes and apartments. A monitored home security system records the criminal activity while alerting professional security officers regardless if you are home or not.
Security system bonus: installing a security system can give you a lower rate on your renters insurance.
Renters insurance tip: Renters insurance doesn’t protect your home from crime or cover all types of damage, but most policies protect and cover your loss due to burglary.
Apartment Awareness and Security
Despite our best efforts apartment break-ins can happen. The most important security tip is to be aware and observant of what’s going on around you: keeping an eye out for anything out-of-the-ordinary makes you notice when something is out-of-the-ordinary.
When you live in apartment building or complex, you can always request a no-obligation quote today or call us at 888-788-0813. We are here to help you make your keep you safe in your apartment and when you’re away.
67% of neighbors feel safer when they know their neighbors.
35% of neighbors who know each other say they’ve shared
crime and safety information with each other.