We all like to feel safe and secure in our homes whether it’s in the daylight or during the evening hours when we are curled up in bed, we get a lot of peace of mind knowing that we have done everything we can to keep our apartment secure. Even when we are out and about and the apartment is unattended it’s important to keep your security measures up high, and make sure that no intruders can grant themselves easy access to your belongings and personal affects.
The purpose of today’s post is to begin looking at ways that you can secure your apartment, including what to look out for before you decide to rent or a specific place.
If you are looking to rent a new apartment or invest in one then you will want to carry out a few security checks before you sign on the dotted line. Please don’t just be tempted by the look of the apartment and the price, it’s all well and good living in a lush apartment but if you are going to be terrorised by constant break-ins then your life is going to be a living hell.
Here are some tips to think about before you move in:
Firstly, you will want to research the local area and because the Internet is a magical place to find this kind of information you aren’t going to be too far away from finding out whether it’s a quiet and relatively low crime-rated area, or a hot-spot for murders, drug trafficking and burglaries. Checking local crime data online is the best way to go, and websites such as CrimeReports.com and CrimeMapping.com are useful resources to show you the history of the community that you are about to move into.
One things thieves love is darkly lit area where they cannot be seen or identified so just have a scan of you street to see if the lighting is sufficient. As you are moving into an apartment you will also want to take a look at lighting in hallways, elevators, parking areas, stairways laundry room and walkways. It may sound like a massive job at hand to check all these out but if your apartment block had good lighting that is regularly checked and maintained then this will give you some peace of mind.
Our final tip before moving into an apartment it to look closely at the area, and the general upkeep of your apartment block. Sometimes talking to neighbours will also give you a good idea on what you can expect living here. If you have elderly neighbors to your right and a nice couple to your left, and the apartment and general area is clean and well maintained then these are good signs.
On the other hand if you can see cracked walls, smashed windows then you should be worried. You could also be moving next to a noisy or disruptive neighbor who is up all night, or you could be moving next to a drug addict. All these pose real-life problems so it’s worth doing some research first.
Now we move onto some practical tips in order to keep your apartment safe, and a lot of these won’t cost money and won’t take much time from your day to do.
You are moving into an apartment someone has moved out of, you have no idea for their reason on leaving or what type of person they were, neither do you know how many people had a key to the apartment that hasn’t been handed back to the landlord.
The first port of call when you move into a new apartment is to get new locks installed so the only person that has access is yourself. If you are renting then your landlord may do this for you, and if you have purchased an apartment then you have free-will to do this for yourself. Each external door should have new locks (Usually there is just the front door).
Most apartment doors come with these peep holes built in anyway, but older apartments may require a new door. These peepholes will keep you and your family safe because you can see who has knocked the door before the need to open it to them. If you have any doubts about the person standing the other side of the door then you have no need to open the door and putting your family in a compromising position.
I’m not talking about a bank style safe, a small safe that you can store jewellery, cash, documents and any other personal effects that you want to protect is all that’s needed here. A safe can be purchased for under $100 and if you can agree with your landlord about bolting it to the floor, or a wall then you can guarantee that in the event of someone coming in, they are going to have trouble cracking it or removing it from the apartment. It certainly makes it much harder than just leaving your cash out on a table, or your jewellery lying on a dressing table.
Blinds are great because they stop nosey people from being able to look inside your apartment, more so if you are living on a ground-floor apartment and happen to be next to a busy street where people are constantly walking by. Blinds can look elegant and modern but they also block the view from the outside so would-be burglars can’t scan the contents of your apartment.
If you don’t have blinds then now is definitely the time to invest in some good ones for each of your windows.
There is quite a jaw-dropping stat that was launched a year ago that said that those who rent an apartment are 85% more likely to be prone to a home invasion compared to those that own their own home. This is because security companies are happy to sell to homeowners but less so to renters because of the loop holes regarding getting the systems installed in apartments and agreements by landlords.
However thanks to advancements in technology a lot of security systems don’t need to be installed which means no wires, no technicians, just a wireless system that you can take with you when you decide to move. Therefore renters now have an option to protect their apartment with a wireless system from a range of top suppliers.
One thing a lot of renters and buyers forget is to get their place and the content within the apartment insured. A lot of insurance companies will offer competitively priced insurance policies that are paid each month, and then in the event of any home invasion and stolen possessions they will compensate you with a cash return for the price of the items that were stolen.
Having insurance like this just gives you that peace of mind that you know you are protected whatever happens.
These are really handy devices and so cheap to buy from a local store. The plug essentially plugs into your main plug socket and works as a timing device, you will be able to program when you want the plug to be active from and when you want the electricity cutting to it.
What this enables you to do is plug a lamp or other light source into it, and then hey presto at a specific time chosen by you the light will come on and then turn off when you have programmed it to.
This is an ideal deterrent to any burglars because even when you are out the apartment the lights will come on and go off making it look like your apartment is occupied. Any would-be thieves would know nothing other than you being at home.
Sliding doors have long been a problem for people because they are notoriously easier to manipulate and can be compromised easily, especially the older models of sliding doors which can even be pushed off track and removed completely.
If you happen to have sliding doors make sure that you bolster them up by either using a secondary locking mechanism or by putting a bar lock on the track so it cannot be opened from the outside.
Usually most apartments won’t have a sliding door in them but if your apartment has a balcony then the chances are you may want to take this particular tip into account when you come to analyse your apartment’s security measures.
Firstly, you must make absolute sure that the set of keys you carry with you doesn’t have your apartment number on. That is literally as bad as having a set of car keys on you with your car registration number on them, you are going to be asking for trouble if you do this.
Secondly, when you get home put your keys in a safe place where they cannot be seen by anyone. In fact, why not build or buy a cheap wooden key holder that you can place on the wall? You can store all your keys in this which will also help your organisational skills, meaning you will never lose where you placed your keys again.
Above all, never get home and leave your apartment door unlocked for friends or visitors to come strolling in because on one occasion it may not be a friend that pops their head around the door. Make sure you deadbolt the door when you get back to give yourself some peace of mind that no one can get into the apartment after you, unless you specifically let them in.
This is another major issue that you may want to check as many apartment blocks, especially older ones are not very secure when it comes to who can walk in and out of them. If your apartment has a key coded entry system where only tenants can gain entry to the apartment block then you are going to feel much safer living in your apartment knowing that random people off the streets can’t just go roaming around the stairwells and walkways.
If your apartment block doesn’t have a buzzer system, key coded entry system or any other security measure in place then it may be worth taking time to speak to your landlord about these concerns to see if he will address them and make the apartment building a safer place for his tenants. By making this one change it can cut down crime rates and make people feel much safer in the area that they live in.
These are out top 10 tips on how to protect your apartment and what to look out for in renting or purchasing an apartment, if you follow these handy tips in our guide then you will be able to lead a much safer life knowing that you have done everything in your power to keep yourself, your family and your possessions as safe as possible from burglars that are looking to exploit apartments and family homes just like yours.
So what are you waiting for? Get that door dead bolted and begin making your apartment a fortress today, you will thank us for it one day.