Renters often neglect home security because they figure it’s the landlord’s job or that they can’t make changes to the property. Yet renters are at a higher risk of burglary, especially if they live in a building that has 9 units or less.
Fortunately, there are many things renters can do to safeguard themselves, their loved ones, and their possessions. And the security measures don’t have to be permanent either. Try implementing some of these tips today so you can start sleeping better at night:
1. Secure the doors
Start with the doors. Since doors are the most common point of entry, you’ll want to make them extra secure.
First, ask your landlord to have the keys to the front door changed, just in case there are any duplicates floating around from previous tenants. And if your front door doesn’t have a deadbolt, ask the landlord to install one. If they refuse, do it yourself or consult a lawyer about potential premises liabilities.
For an added layer of security, get a door jammer. These portable devices are placed under the door frame and tightened against the floor so that any force against the door is redirected to the ground, making it nearly impossible to break through.
For sliding doors (to an outside patio, for example), get a simple rod or bar to place in the door track when the door is closed. This will prevent intruders from sliding the doors open, even if they get past the lock.
And finally, consider installing a portable door stop alarm. These are little wedges that you place under a door so that when someone opens it, a sensor alarm alerts you and scares away intruders.
2. Secure the windows
The next most common point of entry is the windows. To secure them, get some window locks. There are several different kinds, but you can find some for less than $10 online.
Another thing to consider is getting some window alarms. They set off an alert whenever a window is opened. Most use a magnet system that detects when the window panel is pulled away from the window frame.
If you want to go the extra mile, you could even get a glass break alarm. These use sound or shock sensors to alert you if your window has been shattered.
And lastly, it’s always best to cover your windows with blinds or curtains when you can—especially at night when you don’t get any sunlight anyway. Burglars often look through windows to see what’s inside a house before making a break-in. So if you can keep them closed, do it.
And if you have horizontal blinds, you can even just angle them upward without closing them all the way to make it harder for outsiders to peer through.
3. Install ample lighting
Next, make sure your apartment is well lit. Install outdoor pathway lights or lanterns if you can. This will deter intruders since they prefer to sneak in the dark to avoid being seen.
You might also invest in motion sensor lights that turn on when they detect movement. Or automated light switches that you can program to turn on and off while you’re away to give the appearance of someone being home. All of these act as good deterrents.
4. Set up security cameras
You may think you can’t install security cameras when you’re renting, but that’s not true. These days, you can buy portable security cameras that you can install yourself with adhesives. These DIY setups are ideal for renters who want a hassle-free way to monitor the inside or outside of their apartment.
Stream the security feed straight to your smartphone and automatically record any instances of movement so you can check on it later. You can even get an integrated smart doorbell that comes with a camera built-in. That way, you can check who’s at the door without opening it whenever someone rings or knocks.
5. Get to know your neighbors
One of the easiest ways to secure your apartment is by getting to know your neighbors. Neighbors who know each other look out for each other and alert one another of any suspicious activity.
When you’re out of town, you can have your neighbors keep an eye on your home for you. You don’t even have to know them well. All it takes is introducing yourself and being friendly. And if you live in a big neighborhood or you’re shy, you can connect with neighbors online through a platform like Nextdoor.
6. Buy a safe
No matter how many safety measures you implement, there’s always a chance an intruder could break into your apartment somehow. In that case, you still want to have last lines of defense. So buy a safe where you can keep your most valuable possessions, like important documents, cash, jewelry, or firearms.
Safes come in all sizes. You can get a small one for as little as $30 or a bigger one that holds more for hundreds and even thousands. Whatever you do, try to choose a safe that’s also fireproof. That way, your valuables will be protected from potential fire damage as well.
7. Get renter’s insurance
Finally, get some renter’s insurance. This will protect you financially in case you lose any of your possessions to a burglary, fire, or another unexpected event.
Plus, renter’s insurance is typically pretty inexpensive. We’re talking around $10 per month on average. So there’s really no reason not to get it. It’s a wise investment.
Ultimately, you should feel safe in your own home. So try implementing some of the safeguards above to improve your sense of security. Start with just one or two and then gradually fortify your apartment until it’s as secure as can be!