As a renter, your security concerns are unique. Living in close proximity to other tenants, as well as the high volume of foot traffic in your complex, means your apartment may have an increased risk of intrusion and burglary. This guide offers tips to consider when choosing an apartment, and suggestions for keeping the place safe after you've signed the lease.
When moving to a new residence, it is important to consider security. Follow these guidelines to help protect yourself and your family.
Research Local Crime
When you think you've found your dream apartment, check local crime data in its vicinity. Make sure you know about any troubling activities in the area before committing to a lease. Talk to the local police and your future landlord and neighbours to get an honest picture of what life will be like in your new place. Websites likeCrimeReports.com, CrimeMapping.com, and SpotCrime.com can give you a good idea of the local crime history in almost any community.
Robbers and intruders prefer to sneak around in poorly-lit or dark areas. Therefore, when considering an apartment, check the entrances, hallways, walkways, parking areas, elevators, stairways, mail areas, and laundry rooms to make sure they have enough lighting at night. The fewer places an offender has to hide, the safer you'll be.
Observe General Upkeep
Take in the general look and feel of your new place. Broken windows, cracked drywall, or water stains could show a lack of concern from the landlord. Check to see if the lawn and landscaping are well-kept. If the landlord can't take care of basic maintenance, he or she probably isn't concerned with general security.
Check Apartment Entrances
When looking at apartments, consider the security of the building. Many times, an outside entry door will require a key, pass code, or buzz-in to access the hallways and doors of the actual apartments. This way, residents control who can approach their apartment door, reducing loitering, break-ins, and solicitors.
Invest in Good Blinds
Good blinds may prevent robbers from looking inside your home and being tempted by all the valuables they see. Install blinds that completely block the view from outside, and make sure to close them when you go out. That way, you'll keep wandering eyes from scanning your valuables and reduce your risk of break-ins.
Use a Safe
A safe can be a last line of defence to protect your most valuable and irreplaceable possessions. Items such as jewelry, cash, firearms, and sensitive documents can be locked away in a fireproof case. Safes come in all sizes and range in price from under $100 to thousands of dollars. Find a safe that fits your budget and needs, and talk to your landlord about bolting it to a floor or wall, so a burglar can't pick it up and take it. While a safe can't guarantee the absolute protection of your property, it can be effective at hiding items from thieves who are just looking to grab valuables in plain sight and escape quickly.
Get Renters Insurance
Renters insurance will protect the value of your possessions in case they are stolen or destroyed by a disaster. Your landlord may have an insurance policy, but those generally only cover the building you live in, not your personal belongings. Many insurance companies offer policies specifically for renters that run about $20 a month and cover all your property at the full replacement cost. Renters insurance can also protect you in case of a liability lawsuit where you are deemed responsible for the damage of another tenant's property. You may think you don't own very much, but consider the cost of replacing everything you own in the event of a theft, fire, or severe weather. If you wouldn't be able to recover from the loss, then renters insurance is a good option.