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Home Security for Apartments:  8 Tips for Renters

19 Feb 2019

Renting an apartment presents a unique challenge when it comes to home security. On the one hand, you benefit from having fewer points of entry, and if you're several floors up, burglars are unlikely to scale the building to gain access to your windows.

Still, there are some important things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones when you are renting.

Research the Neighborhood

When considering an apartment to rent — it’s no different than buying a home — you will want to start by researching the area thoroughly.

Check online to see the local crime statistics for that area. Numerous online resources can provide that crime data to you including: https://www.crimereports.com or https://www.areavibes.com.

Visit the Area

Get your feet on the ground and explore potential neighborhoods as if you live there.

If the apartment you’re considering is in a building with other tenants, try to speak with them about the area and what it’s like to live there.

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Take note of what other kinds of buildings and businesses are adjacent to your home and the amount of noise pollution they produce. Visit at different times of the day, at different days of the week. Browse nearby shops or sit down at a couple restaurants.  Some areas may seem quiet and peaceful during daylight but are much different at night.

It's also important to take note of the type of street where the apartment is located. Is it a busy city street with a lot of pedestrian and vehicular traffic or is it a quiet residential street? There are certainly busy areas that are perfectly safe, but it’s a good idea to be aware.

If at any point you feel uncomfortable walking around, especially at night, you may want to re-evaluate whether this location is a good place to live.

Check Access Points

While you may like the idea of a first-floor apartment for the sake of convenience, ground-floor apartments are much more likely targets for burglaries due to how easy it is to gain entry. Be mindful of all access points to the building before committing to anything.

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You will want to make sure that any doors and windows that are at accessible at the street level are sturdy and feature robust locking mechanisms. If they do not, ask the landlord to remedy this issue before signing a lease. If they refuse, then move on - it’s probably a bad sign about the type of help you are going to get while you live there.

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Additionally, take notice of the apartment building’s entry and exit points and their security. Many apartment buildings require a code to access the main entrance, providing some protection against strangers entering your building.

Some buildings have multiple layers of locking doors, access control, or even security guards on watch 24/7. The more "filters" there are between the apartment lobby and the residential units above, the safer you'll be.

Apartment Security After Moving In

Well, you found it. And have moved into your new place. There are important precautions you can take while you live there to help keep you and your family safe.

Renter's Insurance

If you are renting, it is essential to make sure that you get renter’s insurance to protect your belongings. While renter’s insurance is not a requirement like homeowners’ insurance when you have a mortgage, the protection it provides vastly outweighs the cost.

You can purchase a renter’s insurance policy relatively inexpensively and it provides a layer of protection should your apartment be a target of burglary or vandalism.

Security System

If your apartment does not come with an up-to-date security system such as key fob or card-reader access, we recommend that you purchase one for your individual unit. Today, you can find cost-effective security systems designed for cozy living spaces that are easy to set up.

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Many security cameras today are Wi-Fi enabled, and you can control them right from your smartphone. Installing a wireless apartment security system is easy and should not concern the landlord at all unless being able to drill into the walls is important to you.

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The best places to set up security cameras in your apartment are at the main access points, so usually the front door and maybe one for a balcony or window if you’re near the ground floor. Many wireless cameras will eat up your bandwidth so make sure you have a decent internet plan that can handle all of the extra video streaming going on.

Check Exterior Lighting

Vandals most often choose apartments that are poorly lit to increase the likelihood of them escaping unnoticed. Check around your apartment building to see what kind of lighting is installed.

Are the back alleys appropriately lit with motion-sensing floodlights? Are all lights working correctly? If not, contact your landlord right away to get it fixed.

New Door Locks

A good landlord will make sure that the locks are replaced or re-keyed before renting to a new tenant. If your landlord does not provide this service and you want to do it yourself, ask for approval first before contacting your nearest locksmith. (In fact, this is an important question to ask before renting the unit.)

You can also bolster your security by installing a sturdy deadbolt on your doors if they don’t already have them. Be sure to check with your landlord to make sure that you are cleared to install these as some property management companies may have strict requirements regarding add-ons.

master lock dual cylinder deadbolt

Get to Know Your Neighbors

Getting to know the other renters next to you can be beneficial for many reasons. Having a good relationship with your neighbors usually means that they will keep an eye on things for you when you are away and report any suspicious activity. And you’ll be able to do the same for them.

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Apartment living offers you the chance to try out different neighborhood in a city. While security varies from building to building, there are some important steps you can take to find the right building in the right neighborhood.

Whether you are moving into an apartment on your own or with the whole family, doing your research is critical. And it doesn’t take much time between asking a few questions, walking the area, and understanding potential vulnerabilities for the building and your particular unit.

Your safety should be a priority so you can truly make your apartment a comfortable home.

The Ultimate Home Security Guide

A comprehensive list of steps you can take to protect your home and your loved ones.

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