Smart Strategies to Help You Avoid an Apartment Burglary
You may not own your home. But, you still want to feel safe in it.
So, what can you as a renter do to make your place more secure? Quite a bit actually. With little more investment than a few minutes of your time, in most cases, these tips may help you reduce the risk of an apartment burglary:
Meet your neighbors: One of the most efficient — and potentially enjoyable — ways to protect yourself: Meet your neighbors in your building or neighborhood. Get to know them so that you — and they — can recognize when strangers are lurking about. When you trust them, let neighbors know if you are going out of town; they can watch for unexpected activity. If there’s interest, you could also organize a neighborhood or apartment building watch group. You might even make new friends!
Lock doors and windows: Easy, right? Also effective. Even if you’re just stepping out for a moment, or down the hall to a neighboring apartment, always lock your door when you leave. Lock the door that leads out to your balcony, too. Secure windows, especially on the ground floor, and even those you think are out of reach. Block sliding windows and back doors with a bar or broomstick. And, if you live on the ground floor, don’t tempt burglars by leaving your windows or blinds open during the day.
Test hardware: Do all the locks, latches and lights that are supposed to work actually work? This applies to the doors and windows in your unit, as well as the ones in the building as a whole. Do motion-sensitive lights work when you walk by? Are basement or entry light bulbs burned out? Does every door have a functioning deadbolt? Notify your landlord or property manager promptly if not.
Ask for new locks: Even working locks and deadbolts won’t provide much protection if lost or never-returned keys are out there. If you can’t get your landlord to provide new ones, you might get permission to replace the locks yourself. Locks by standard brands can also be rekeyed by a locksmith, or with kits available from a hardware store.
Use the peephole: Don’t open your door without first taking a look. If the peephole has been painted over or there’s not enough light on the other side to show you who’s there, talk to your landlord or property manager about fixing the problem.
Don’t buzz in strangers: If you live in a secure building, don’t let in people you don’t recognize, or buzz in people you don’t expect.
Look around: Are doors, windows or other entry points hidden by bushes or other obstructions? You may not be able to remove them, but you may be able to reduce the risk, such as trimming back bushes so they’re difficult to hide behind. Recessed entries may need better lighting, blind corners a mirror and dark alleys a motion-sensing light.
Store your valuables in a safe: Even if it can’t be bolted to the wall, a heavy safe can help protect your most valuable possessions from burglars just looking for grab-and-run opportunities. If your landlord allows you to attach it securely to the wall or floor, your safe becomes even safer.
Set up a home monitoring system: Modern technology offers a wide range of options for home security, even if you can’t spring for a professionally installed, professionally monitored system. Instead, install your own web cams or create your own system of door, window and motion sensors, all of which can be monitored and controlled from your smartphone. The signage for a security system may deter a break-in, too.
Know what’s going on: See if your neighborhood or city posts crime statistics. These can alert you to recurrent problems that might call for extra preventative effort.
You already have fewer chores and greater flexibility than a homeowner. Staying secure in your apartment makes renting all the more enjoyable. If an incident does occur, be sure to call 911 for help with an emergency.