7 Inexpensive, DIY Security Tips for Apartment Renters
Whether you live in a large apartment building with a security gate, or a small, garden-style complex, personal security is a major concern. Your landlord will make sure there’s a certain level of security. But there are some DIY security tips you can use to protect your valuables and personal items and make sure your apartment is as safe as possible. If you’re concerned about shelling out hundreds of dollars to keep your apartment safe, rest assured. Here are some simple, inexpensive ways to protect yourself and your home.
Hot Tip: DIY = Do It Yourself
Get an Affordable Security System
The name of the game here is saving money, so we’re not talking about the traditional alarm systems that require installation, activation and monthly maintenance fees. With wireless alarm systems, you can decide which components you want to buy and set-up a system that works for you.
SEE ALSO: Setting up a secure wireless network
The great news is since you’re in an apartment instead of a house, you’ll need less components, which means bigger savings. Some security systems are sold as as a set and include a console and devices that you can sync to work together. Since you don’t have as many rooms to worry about and may not need all the bells and whistles, let’s look at a couple of the individual security components.
Most wireless security systems have options for sensors and surveillance. Sensors are generally on the less-expensive end and surveillance and security cameras can be slightly more expensive. Motion sensors are easy to install over a window or door. The sensor makes a loud noise when someone tries to open your door or window, this can scare away an intruder or notify a neighbor who can call the police. Some motion sensors cost less than $20 and are easy to install. Be sure to check with your landlord before installing a motion sensor, especially if installation requires drilling holes.
Motion detectors differ from sensors because they detect movement rather than touch. Many people choose to pair their motion detectors with security lights that turn on when someone approaches. Lights can scare an intruder into thinking someone is home or tip off a neighbor who can call for help. (Since your current lights may not be able to pair with motion detectors, check with your landlord for his or her recommendations).Other motion detectors make a sound or send an alert via Wi-Fi. These motion detectors usually come with a base or wireless console that you can connect to your Wi-Fi network. Motion sensors and detectors are a great first line of defense and a cost-effective way to prevent break-ins, since they can potentially trick an intruder into thinking someone’s at home.
If you’re somewhat tech-savvy, you may want to install a security camera. In some cases, you can use a fake camera as a decoy, as just the sight of the device can scare off potential intruders. A true security camera, however, gives you recorded evidence in case anything goes missing in your apartment.
There are basic security cameras and Wi-Fi-enabled devices that you can access from your smartphone. If you spend a lot of time away from home, you may want to opt for the Wi-Fi-enabled camera that you can control from the office or on the go.
Upgrade Your Locks
Every apartment comes with a standard set of locks; usually a knob lock or lever-handle lock, and a deadbolt. If you want more peace of mind, you may want to upgrade your locks. For more security, you can use a double-cylinder deadbolt or a mortise lock which combines a sprung latch, deadbolt and lever handle.
Digital locks and smart locks are also great options for apartment renters, especially if you have multiple roommates. You can avoid lockouts and miscommunication by installing a keyless entry lock or a remote-entry lock you can access from your cell phone. Do your research and compare the different types of locks to learn more about your options. Again, check with your landlord before you change your locks!
Note: No matter how strong your locks are, make sure you use them; According to one survey, 30 percent of burglars entered a home through an unlocked window or door.
Protect Your Valuables
Most burglars are after jewelry, cash, credit cards and electronics, or easy items they can pawn or sell. When it comes to breaking into a house or apartment, an intruder wants to be as speedy as possible to avoid being caught or spotted. He or she will generally head for the master bedroom first, since that’s where more people keep their valuables.
If you can make it harder for an intruder to find what he or she is after, you can reduce the risk of these items being stolen. Invest in a safe (that’s heavy enough so it can’t be carried out simply) or find better hiding spots for your valuables like hollowed out books, false containers in the kitchen, or the back of the freezer.
Make Them Think Someone’s Home
The majority of break-ins occur between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when people are at school or work. If you can make it seem like your apartment is occupied, it will look much less attractive to a potential intruder. We mentioned motion detectors and sensors, but you can also try other means like timed lights, leaving the TV or radio on, or leaving your computer on. This may drive up your energy bill so plan accordingly, but these little actions can trick an unwanted visitor into thinking someone’s at home.
See Also: Vacation Security Tips
In an apartment complex, you have neighbors in close proximity, why not work together to report suspicious activity? “Good neighbors should look out for each other,” according to Chris McGoey, the Crime Doctor “Get to know your neighbors on each side of your apartment and the three directly across from you. Invite them into your apartment, communicate often, and establish trust.”
Of course, you may want to be wary and listen to your gut if you notice any red flags about your neighbors, but whenever possible, watch out for them so they will do the same for you.
You can use one or several of these DIY security tips to keep your home and your valuables safe. With a little bit of planning, you can protect your apartment from potential threats and give yourself peace of mind. These security measures can prevent break-ins without breaking the bank.