The Apartment Security Guide for Renters

The Apartment Security Guide for Renters

As a renter, your options for adding security are limited. But you might be surprised at the number of easy security measures you can implement, even in a large apartment building or complex. We’ve put together a guide to help you understand what apartment security issues you should consider before signing a lease, plus things you can do after you move in to give yourself top-notch apartment security.

Before Moving In

1. Research Local Crime

Your realtor says it, and it’s true: it’s all about location. (And we’re talking about more than how close your new apartment is to your favorite taco place.) Before you decide on a place to call home, it’s essential to research the area’s crime rates and talk to residents. Check online sites like SpotCrime to see what’s been happening in the area crime-wise, and talk to neighbors, police, and local business owners to find out more about the neighborhood before you sign on the dotted line.

2. Check the Lighting

Apartment buildings and complexes often have dark, unsecure nooks and crannies, making them perfect for people who want to sneak around (those people are called “shady” for a reason). It’s important to know that you’re safe in those areas. Look at hallways, parking areas, storage rooms, waste management areas, stairwells, laundry rooms, mail rooms, and other common areas for good lighting and security cameras. If possible, bring a friend along and check it out at night for a clearer idea of how well everything is lit and to find out if the area has any motion sensor lights.

3. Note the General Upkeep

Little things like burnt-out light bulbs, peeling paint, or leaky faucets might seem like easily fixable annoyances, but they can also be telltale signs of a less-than-attentive landlord. The last thing you want is to have a major security issue—like a broken lock or window—and have to wait weeks to get it fixed. You can start evaluating the safety of your apartment as soon as you arrive at the building or complex by looking for signs of poor maintenance like broken fences, overgrown landscaping, and peeling paint.

4. Check the Entrances

The first lines of defense in a renter’s security are the entrances, both to your own apartment and to your building or complex. Check all entrances for secure locks and additional safety measures like peepholes, chain locks, key codes, cameras, and remote unlocking. Ask management how often keys and key codes are changed. You don’t want to run the risk of a past tenant having access to your apartment.

5. Check the Windows

If doors are your first line of defense, windows are your second. Check windows for sturdy, easy-to-use locks, especially if you’re on the ground floor. Make sure windows are secure from the outside, and try to think like a burglar: could you get into your apartment through a window? Also keep an eye out for any windows with door locks close by, as intruders can easily smash a window to reach in and open a lock.

6. Consider the Emergency Exits

As important as it is to secure your apartment against theft, security is also about making sure you can get out in case of an emergency. Look for posted fire escape plans, and if you’re close to ground level, check that your windows can open easily. Check for working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure any fire escape ladders are stored correctly so that burglars can’t reach them from the ground.

After Moving In

1. Upgrade Your Door Locks

Hopefully your apartment will already be equipped with a deadbolt, but if not, be sure to install one when you move in. Ask your landlord to change the regular locks on your door as well. You never know how many duplicate keys might be out there, and you want to be sure you’re the only one who has access to your apartment. Installing additional door locks, like chain locks or a door reinforcement lock, are another way to make sure your apartment stays secure while you’re in it.

2. Get a Door Security Bar

Door jammers are great security solutions for apartment dwellers. Most are easy to install and remove, with zero damage to doors. Plus, they don’t have the vulnerabilities of regular locks, like lock bumping, picking, or duplicate keys floating around. For sliding doors on your balcony, patio door jammers are perfect for adding extra protection, and you can also get a jammer for your front door that acts like a heavy-duty doorstop. Many door jammers are portable as well, so you can take them with you when you travel or move for extra peace of mind.

3. Cover Your Windows

It’s creepy to think about, but many intruders “shop around” for good pickings before they decide on a place to burglarize. The best way to keep your place off the top of their list is to hide the goods by covering those windows with blinds. Keep your blinds shut when you aren’t home and anytime after dark. Remember, when your lights are on at night and your blinds are open, it’s like you’re performing on a […]

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