Important Security Tips Every Apartment Dweller Needs to Know

Important Security Tips Every Apartment Dweller Needs to Know

This story is part of Home TipsCNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

Burglary is often crimes of opportunity, in which thieves try to find the fastest or easiest houses to target. The protection of apartments can be quite different from securing homeswell.

They usually have fewer potential entry points, but foot traffic right outside the door can make it easier for would-be burglars to get in and out without drawing attention to themselves. This means you have to deal with a unique set of challenges to maintain your safety.

Fortunately, there are several practical tips to keep your apartment safe from burglaries. Best of all, in many cases these suggestions are inexpensive and easy to do. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Choose your apartment carefully

If you haven’t moved into your apartment yet, the first step to a safer unit is choosing the right one. Corner apartments on the ground floor is the most likely to be hacked as they have two sides of exposure. If you’re off ground level and you have neighbors on either side, that means you mostly only have to worry about two access points: your front door and possibly a window if you have a fire escape.

2. Think like a burglar

One of the simplest ways to stop crimes of opportunity is to remove the opportunity. Keep your valuables hidden, away from windows, where they can entice thieves to target your location. While you may not be able to hide your TV, you can keep your blinds down when you’re away from home during the day, when burglars are more likely to strike.

You can also use books and safes to store valuables such as jewellery. That way, if the unfortunate happens and someone do enter, they will struggle to find items worth their time.

3. Install a security system

One of the best deterrents for thieves is a home security system. With one of these, you get door/window sensors, motion detectors and lots of other security equipment that can alert you to intruders. If you have professional monitoring, your system will even contact the authorities on your behalf.

security camera on a shelf

Many DIY home security starter kits will be enough to cover a small apartment.

David Priest/CNET

DIY home security systems comes with all the equipment you need while providing scalability should you need more equipment in the future. We’ve compiled a list of the best security systems specifically for renters. These devices are best for smaller spaces like apartments and when you don’t want to drill into walls or door frames. You can find some of the best available here.

And when choosing a home security system, make sure you find one that offers cellular and battery backupin case of internet or power failure.

4. Invest in a security camera

If cost is a concern, even a single security device—such as a security camera under $30 — can give your apartment that extra bit of security without the price tag associated with many full-fledged home security alternatives. For some would-be burglars, the mere presence of a home security camera in the window may be enough to prevent them from choosing your home.

Wireless video doorbells can also be useful as a minor deterrent and some companies even sell peephole cameras — a particularly useful design for many apartments.

Looking for the best camera on a budget? Start by reading our guide on the best cheap home security cameras of the year. We also have recommendations for the best indoors, outdoors and battery powered security cameras. However, before you install, read about the worst places to put a security camera.

And if security cameras aren’t your thing, you can also get a smart lock for extra security.

Wyze security camera

Smart cams are getting cheaper by the year. This means you can see your apartment while you’re out for the price of a meal for two.


5. Use the buddy system

If you can, try to befriend someone who lives in the same apartment complex. Alternatively, if you have a friend or family member nearby, they will work too. You can work together to check each other’s apartments when the other is away to ensure the apartment is safe. And if they’re your immediate neighbor, they can even keep an ear out for unusual activity during the day or when you’re out of town.

6. Secure your windows

When would-be burglars enter an apartment, they look for an easy way of entry. Often the window may be the first place they test for a vulnerability. You can create another barrier of security by adding window locks.

If your landlord is opposed to you adding locks to your windows, there are many non-permanent and affordable solutions that accomplish the same thing. Window locks also double as safety measures to prevent pets or young children from opening windows they shouldn’t when you’re not paying attention.

7. Check your renter’s insurance

Along with implementing these tips, make sure you have renters insurance. Many apartments now require this before you can move in. However, if yours doesn’t, buying a policy is easy and often surprisingly cheap. You can even bundle it with your current insurance provider if you have a car policy.

Renter’s insurance can cover items that are stolen from your apartment. When choosing a policy, pay close attention to the personal property section. This includes which items the provider covers and the benefit amount. If you have valuables that exceed the benefit, make sure you increase coverage or ask your insurance company if there is another policy to supplement it.

Check out these other tips and gadgets to keep your home safe:

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