Security Tips for Apartments

apartment securitySecure Your Apartment

We’d like to offer up some security tips for apartments as a follow-up to our recent article on apartment break-ins and our archive article on renting a safe apartment. A break-in can happen to anybody, but taking measures to stay safe and secure is a great way to reduce the chances.

FBI statistics say that a burglary in the U.S. happens once every 15.4 seconds. Unlike a robbery, a burglary is theft that happens without confrontation, usually when the victim is not home. Burglaries usually take place in the daytime when most apartment residents are at work or school. Apartment security experts say that the riskiest months for burglary of apartments are July and August; February generally finds apartment thieves idle and trying to stay warm. Your typical apartment thief is under 25 and looking for valuable targets of opportunity like cash, jewelry, laptops, and electronics. About 70% of these apartment security violations involve the use of force at a weak point to gain entry, often with simple household tools like hammers, screwdrivers or pry bars.

What Does an Apartment Security Risk Look Like?

Apartment burglars seek the following:

  • empty apartments
  • easy access
  • lots of cover
  • good escape routes

Does this sound like your apartment?

Up Your Apartment’s Security

As a tenant, you actually have a fair amount of influence on your apartment’s level of security.  In many states, you can request deadbolts, peepholes, security chains, and other security devices from your apartment’s landlord for a small charge. You should be aware of security risks like burned-out lightbulbs, overgrown shrubbery, and doors left propped open by lazy neighbors.

Apartment security experts also recommend:

  • Deadbolt your apartment’s door when you get home. Never leave an apartment’s door unlocked for friends or roommates.
  • Remember to lock your apartment’s windows when they’re closed, and use security latches when they are open. These latches should prevent windows from being opened more than six inches.
  • Can your front door stand up to a strong kick? Inspect the doorjamb and strike plate. If they are weak or built from subpar materials, ask your landlord to replace the wood and secure the door with three-inch wood screws that attach to the door frame stud.
  • Never put your unit number on your keys or keychain.
  • If you think it is appropriate, ask your landlord to rekey your apartment to prevent access by the apartment’s previous tenants.
  • Sliding doors are notoriously easy to compromise. Test your doors’ locks, always keep them locked, and use a stick in the sliding track to prevent it from being forced. Old sliding doors can often be jiggled right off the track and out of the frame.
  • Close your apartment’s blinds, especially if you’re on vacation.
  • Use your peephole to make sure you know your visitors.

Remember, to reduce your apartment security risk, you don’t have to turn your place into Fort Knox. You simply have to show a potential apartment thief that your unit is better-protected than the place down the street.

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