Home Security for Apartment Renters: What You Need to Know
Burglary is one of the most common threats facing your home and property, whether you live in a house or an apartment. In fact, while it may seem like an apartment complex would be a tight-knit community where everyone knows their neighbors, the opposite is often true, and those who rent are as much as 85% more likely to be victims of burglary than those who own their own homes.
Given that the greater KC area is home to a large number of renters—about 35% of the population—it makes sense for renters and prospective renters to understand the challenges they face when it comes to protecting their homes from burglary. After all, just because you rent doesn’t make your apartment or townhouse any less your home, and with new apartment complexes being built all over the region, the number of renters in Kansas City is just going to keep growing.
Protecting an apartment or townhouse from burglary and home invasion presents different challenges than protecting a single-family home, and it’s important for landlords, renters, and prospective renters to understand the ways that preventative measures and home security systems can help keep renters and their belongings safe.
Research the Property, Neighborhood, and Crime Stats
Burglaries are seldom spur-of-the-moment crimes. They tend to be heavily planned and researched, and their targets are chosen based on a number of factors ranging from occupancy to convenience, visibility and accessibility, and what the burglars think they can get out of the deal. By looking at a prospective rental property through the eyes of a would-be burglar, you can help to gauge the likelihood that your potential new home will become a target.
Walk the property that you’re thinking of renting, and keep an eye out for possible entry points and blind spots that potential thieves might use. Talk to neighbors, and ask them about any problems they may have encountered, as well as the response from law enforcement and/or the landlord or management company in the event of dangerous or suspicious activity. You can even find crime statistics on city and county websites that will help give you a bird’s-eye view of the level of crime in a given area, though keep in mind that population density and the prevalence of minor infractions like traffic stops can often make crime stats look worse than they actually are, so take care, but also take whatever you find with a grain of salt.
When the Property Manager Just Isn’t Helpful
The property manager or landlord should help you not just in the event of a burglary, but also when it comes to exploring options available to help prevent one. They can offer guidelines on residential alarm systems and security cameras, and lots more. But not all landlords are as helpful as you might like. For example, while locks should always be changed before a new renter moves in, not every landlord does their due diligence in this regard, so you may have to take matters into your own hands if your landlord just isn’t providing the help you need. It’s also a good idea to take out renter’s insurance for added protection.
Securing Windows and Doors in Your Apartment
Securing your apartment may be simpler than it sounds. After all, apartment burglary isn’t exactly The Italian Job, so no one is going to be cutting through the floor to steal your flat-screen TV. In fact, one of the best ways to help keep your apartment secure is to install locks on your doors and windows—if they don’t have them already—and then use them. Around 30% of burglars get into a home through an unlocked door or window, without having to break in at all. So just keeping your doors and windows locked can help keep your apartment safe. And when you’re securing doors and windows, don’t forget often-overlooked entry points such as patio doors, which are frequently left unlocked and make extremely tempting targets for would-be burglars.
Securing Property Outside the Apartment
Even apartments are more than just four walls. If you have stuff that you store outside the apartment—whether in common areas, storage closets, or on the patio or balcony—it’s important to take steps to help keep those objects safe, as well. Self-storage units may be a good, high-security solution for objects that you want to keep around but don’t have a secure place to store.
It’s also a good idea to come up with a safe space for any deliveries that you might be receiving so that they don’t spend all day sitting outside your door. And if you got a garage as part of the deal, make sure that the landlord changes the garage door code before you move in.
Adding Home Security Cameras and Alarms
When we think of residential alarm systems and security cameras, we often picture big, stand-alone family homes, but the fact is that there are lots of modern home security systems that are perfect for renters. Because many systems—especially wireless home security systems—are scalable and transportable, meaning that you can take them with you if you move, you can choose a system that fits your apartment, townhouse, or other rental and bring it with you when you head to a new place.
You can even get a home security system that communicates directly with your smartphone, such as those available from Interlogix, giving you updates and control from the palm of your hand. More than just a home security system, Interlogix UltraSync SmartHome products offer security and home automation options that can fit a home of any size, whether you’re securing an apartment or something much bigger. One thing to keep in mind when choosing a residential alarm system—whether for an apartment or a house—is the option of 24/7 monitoring, which can keep an eye on your home even when you’re not in it and ensure that help is on the way as quickly as possible in the event of a break in or other disturbance.
Conclusion: Apartment Renters Have Home Security Options
Ultimately, just because you’re renting instead of buying, it doesn’t mean that you have to settle for less when it comes to home security. There are plenty of smart, affordable, scalable options available to renters, including residential alarm systems, security cameras, 24/7 monitoring, and more. So help keep your home and family safe, whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, by talking with A-TEC Residential Security in Kansas City about what home security systems are right for you. For more information on how residential security can be scaled for rental properties, contact A-TEC Security today.