How to Keep Your Apartment Safe This Holiday Season
While Santa would never face charges for breaking and entering while scurrying down the chimney, there are legit dangers lurking during the holiday season. And those dangers could very well be right where you live.
So that you can focus on holiday cheer and also remain protected and safe this holiday season, we've got some tips to help keep your apartment and belongings secure.
Risky situations related to the holiday season aren't limited to tempting criminals with packaged gifts left in front of doors. "Holiday mishaps that can cause issues for a renter and a rental property include fire hazards," says Lynn Edmondson, Regional Manager of Wendover Management, a full-service property management company.
- Avoid using more than three strings of lights on one extension cord because you don't want to overload the circuits
- Try flameless candles as an alternative to the real deal
- Be sure to properly water natural decorations to proactively nix the chance of holiday lights sparking into a blaze
Prime time for crime
Planning on being out of town for Christmas? If you'll be away for three days or more, then there's a pretty good chance that anyone with intent to steal could realize that no one's home and come knocking.
Do what you can to not be vulnerable to package theft, break-ins and loss. Make sure you keep windows and doors securely locked, and that gifts under your Christmas tree are out of view from anyone passing by who might be looking for an easy mark.
Scouting for loot
Gifts left at your door for back-to-back days in a row are a pretty obvious sign to a would-be-package snatcher that there's no one home.
If you're expecting deliveries from UPS, FedEx or Amazon, you might consider arranging for those packages to arrive elsewhere in your absence. If you've ordered online, you have the power to decide where the packages end up. Be strategic and have deliveries sent to a friend, the rental office of your apartment building or your workplace.
Here are a few ideas to help keep your packages safe:
- Amazon has lockers around the country where you can have packages delivered. You get an email alert that your order is ready for pickup. You've got three days to retrieve the package before it gets returned to Amazon.
- Make friends with your neighbors. Notify them that you'll be away for the holidays. Ask if they could check for any deliveries and hold the packages for you.
- Make sure all entryways and hallways are well lit so you can see if any intruders are lurking and to dissuade anyone with criminal intent from getting too close.
Keep your apartment safe
If your community has a visible security presence where you live, that's a powerful antidote to holiday crime. A key fob to enter the gate of your rental community or to park in the garage is also a good deterrent from unwelcome intruders.
However, as a tenant, you can take additional steps to stay safe and keep your apartment protected. If you're renting an individual townhouse, apartment unit or a single-family home, there are plenty of choices for security systems through third parties, according to Wendover Management. “Remember to always speak with your landlord prior to making any changes to the home you are renting," says Edmondson.
Place a security sticker from a company such as ADT on the door or window of your apartment. This is helpful if you have an exterior apartment door that someone can easily walk up to without the hindrance of a security gate or entry code required.
Install a DIY system with a visible HD camera directed at a walkway, your front door or driveway. Since it's connected directly to an app on your phone, you'll be pinged if there's someone approaching your door and you'll be able to see in real time if someone is trying to swipe something.
Lynn Edmondson has one last piece of advice for apartment dwellers: “Be aware that not everyone has the best intentions. Ensure that you take steps to protect yourself and your home. Enjoy the holidays!"