Moving into your own apartment is really exciting, but along with the amazing feeling of having your own space, you might also feel a little worried about how you can keep yourself and your valuables in your new excavations. When you rent an apartment, landlords are typically responsible for securing the building itself, but the contents of your apartment are your sole responsibility.
Tenants seeking apartment protection have different needs than homeowners. Your rental agreement may limit the equipment you can install, and you may not want to pay big bucks for a permanent system that you cannot take with you when you leave. You also have to deal with various dangers, such as passing guests or irresponsible neighbors giving access to your building.
The good news is that there are options available. Whether you are looking for a security security camera, a complete alarm system for apartment renters or just some ideas on how to keep your property safe, this guide will help you find what you are looking for to make your apartment more secure.
What to consider when buying a security system for your apartment
If you are considering investing in a security system for your apartment, there are a few important things you need to consider ordering to find the best solution for your situation.
Do you want to do the project?
Paying for the installation of an alarm system can be prohibitively expensive, especially if you do not intend to stay long. Your lease can also limit you from bringing in external companies to perform work.
This may mean that self-installation of a system is your best and only option. Self-installed systems are also more common when you buy safety equipment yourself instead of using equipment from a security company.
If you are installing the system, you will want to find one that is easy to get started. Fortunately, many systems come with step-by-step instructions, video guides, and customer support over the phone. Read this information – and check previous customer reviews – to make sure you can handle the necessary installation steps before you buy.
Who will own the equipment?
You have two options when installing a security system: You can buy the equipment or you can “borrow” it from a security company. When you buy the equipment, you can choose to buy a self-monitoring system that sends alerts to you if something goes wrong or can buy a system for DIY, but third-party monitoring is included. When you “borrow” the equipment, it is typically borrowed from a security company that provides third-party monitoring for an additional monthly fee.
The downside of borrowing is that you can not just take it with you when you move as it does not belong to you. You may have to pay a fee to move it – otherwise you may not be allowed to move it at all. If you move outside the area in which the security company operates, this can be a big problem – especially if you have to sign a multi-year monitoring agreement in return for the use of the equipment.
To avoid these problems, it makes a lot of sense to buy a system that you can take with you anywhere.
Do you need a wired or wireless system?
Some security systems are wired, which usually means cutting holes in your walls. You may not be allowed to do this in your apartment, which means this is a no-go for you. Hard-wired systems also only work where they are installed – they are not very portable. This means that you can not take them with you when you move, if you are allowed to install them at all.
On top of these problems, hardwired systems are often considered less reliable because burglars could deactivate the system by cutting wires. When it comes to apartment security, we definitely recommend researching a wireless system for all of the above reasons. See our selection for the best wireless security systems.
How big system do you actually need?
Apartments often have fewer front doors and windows than houses, and they may have smaller square footage to protect. When you have less space and fewer access points, your alarm system can be smaller and simpler, while still providing comprehensive protection.
Different companies include different equipment with basic and upgraded systems, so find out what comes with the packages you are considering. If you need a door alarm, multiple window alarms that detect broken glass, and a few different security cameras, look for a package that contains most or all of these devices. You will not end up paying for things you do not need while missing out on the essentials of your space.
Other ways you can make your apartment more secure
Installing a security system is one way to deter or catch thieves, but it is not the only way to make your apartment more secure. Consider one or more of the following ways you can help make your rental more secure.
Install an upgraded lock
The standard lock on the door of your apartment may not be very secure, so you may want to upgrade it or add an extra lock. It may also be a good idea to change your lock if you are not 100% sure that the landlord changed it before you moved in. Otherwise, old tenants could still have access and no one wants it.
If you are interested in upgrading, a smart lock may be worth the investment. Smart locks allow you to use your mobile device to unlock your door and see who is coming in and out of your room.
If you are interested in adding an extra lock, a swing lock is a good option. Swing locks have metal arms that attach to the door frame and swing over a stick on the door surface. They look like chain locks in hotels, but much stronger. Using a swing lock allows you to crack your door to see who is on the other side, while making it difficult for uninvited guests to force the door open.
Just make sure you know your rental regulations regarding changing locks or adding new ones. Your landlord may require access to the apartment, so be prepared to provide an extra key.
Invest in security cameras in apartments
Security cameras are one of the best ways to deter potential intruders, so you may want to consider one or more for your apartment. You can also be warned about someone not belonging and catch criminals on video to make it easy for police to find them. You do not have to pony up for a complete security system in this case – just a few stand-alone cameras will go a long way in making your apartment more secure.
There are different kinds of security cameras, including motion-activated and night-vision cameras. Shop around to find one that meets your needs that you can easily monitor using downloadable apps.
Attach your sliding doors
Sliding doors provide an easy access point, as locks on these doors can be easily opened. Simple safety bars can prevent uninvited guests from accessing your room through your sliding doors if you live on the ground floor.
Suspend supplies while you are away
Interrupting deliveries when you are not at home ensures that packages do not sit outside the door. These packages can be tempting to thieves (often called ‘porch pirates’), and when they pile up, they are a sure signal that you are not home.
Some criminals also use the rose by “delivering packages” to gain access. If you suspend deliveries, let your neighbors know that no one should approach so they can act if someone suspicious hangs around.
Buy renters insurance coverage
Tenant insurance does not keep criminals out of your apartment, but it can provide the funds you need to replace lost or damaged property. Unless you can afford to replace everything you own, it is a good idea to purchase a comprehensive rental policy with replacement coverage.
How to choose a safe apartment
No matter what steps you take, unfortunately, you are still in danger if you have chosen an apartment in an area with high crime. Choosing an apartment in a safe neighborhood is the best way to protect yourself and your belongings. Before signing a lease or buying a unit, try the following steps to make sure you land in a neighborhood with low crime.
Examine the neighborhood
Find out the crime rate in any neighborhood where you are considering renting. You can write to the police station and ask, reach out to neighborhood groups or use apps that provide security ratings. We have gathered the best security apps in the neighborhood to make the process easier.
You can also get an idea of how safe the neighborhood is by going for a walk and looking around. Are there bars on the windows of each building? Are properties well maintained? Do you see a lot of waste? Poorly maintained spaces, barred windows and graffiti are important indicators that the neighborhood is not the safest place to live.
Look for an enclosed building or an apartment with security
Fenced buildings or buildings with a doorman restrict access, and as a result, they can greatly reduce the chances of crime. Building security is also a deterrent to potential criminals, and security guards can hopefully stop thieves before they have access to your home.
Visit at night to assess the lighting and evaluate its safety
A well-lit apartment building is much less inviting to criminals than a place with dark rooms. Visit at night to see lighting in the surrounding neighborhood, the parking garage and the halls of the apartment building. If the pitches are shady, the risk of falling victim to night crime increases.
Talk to current residents
Make conversations with your neighbors both before and after you move in. Current residents can tell you if there has been a burglary or if the building in general is a safe place.
Once you have moved in, talk to your neighbors about when you are away or out of town so they can keep an eye on any suspicious activity.
Being proactive can help you protect yourself from harm
By carefully examining your apartment before you move in, upgrading your security equipment and installing basic apartment security, you can make your home as safe as possible, even when you rent. To continue researching, check out the rest of our apartment security guides.
This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.
Officer Banta is the official security expert in the field of home security. As a member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before giving his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.