Renting an apartment is every young person’s first step toward independent living. What many high school and college kids leave behind in their search for freedom, however, is the safety and security of a family home, as well as the knowledge of what it takes to make their new apartments a haven of secure living.
With this spring’s crop of new graduates in mind, we’re going to give you some basic information on how and why to keep your new rental home, and its precious contents, safe from thieving hands.
Why Worry About Security?
Why should you even bother with security measures and systems in your apartment? Well, first of all, it now contains most, if not all, of your worldly possessions. Your life is within those four walls. Secondly, facts and figures don’t lie—rental properties, especially apartments, are the most targeted for break in and property theft. Here are some facts from the National Crime Prevention Center that just might take a bite out of your resistance.
- Thieves prefer apartments 85% more than they do any other form of housing.
- Property crimes (theft, vandalism) occur at a rate of one every 3.5 seconds.
- In 2011, the FBI reported that burglary victims suffered $4.8 billion in losses nationwide. The average loss amount per person was over $2000.
- 73% of all burglaries are of residential properties.
- The number of burglaries rose almost 1% from 2010 to 2011.
Convinced you need to do something to beef up your apartment’s security measures? Good! Read on.
5 Affordable Ways to Secure Your New Apartment
Home security for your apartment can cover a wide range of costs, time, and management, depending on your needs and your means. From a few DIY fixes to full-blown Wi-Fi home security systems you control and monitor from your smartphone, home security for the apartment dweller is as simple or as complex as you want to make it.
Still, most young renters don’t have a lot of spare cash (or time). Try these inexpensive measures:
- First things first—use the locks your apartment already has—especially deadbolt locks. If your doors don’t have deadbolt locks, ask your landlord to install them or to give you permission to do so. Regular locks don’t prevent break-ins like deadbolts do. Don’t forget your windows!
- For added window security, place rods in the window tracks. You can find wooden rods in various widths at craft stores like Michaels. Measure the empty part of the window track when the window is closed. Go to Home Depot or a similar store and have the nice folks in the lumber department cut it down to size. Keep these rods in the window track whenever the window is closed (and keep your windows closed when you’re away!).
- Purchase a digital timer for your lights and appliances that make your apartment appear inhabited while you are away (this one on Amazon is only about $20). Many apartment burglaries occur because the burglar has been monitoring the occupant’s habits. Thieves can take advantage of changes or deviations in your normal routine. When you have to break routine—out of town, working late, illness or injury—having lights and television or stereo on timer devices can make it appear as though all is status quo in your humble abode.
- Get a small fireproof safe. Not only will your most precious items be safe from theft, but if you invest in a fire-proof model, you’ll never have to worry about losing important papers, photos, and other documents to your neighbor’s bad cooking experiences. Western Safe Company sells safes of all sizes and for any budget. Get the best safe for your budget—it’s much better than no safe at all!
- Protect yourself, as well as your goods. Pick up a can of pepper spray (or even a taser) and keep it with you at all times. There are small keychain-friendly options also. This is an inexpensive way to protect yourself—and not just at home, either! Don’t forget to check the expiration date on your pepper spray—it does go bad.
Your new home need not be Fort Knox, but taking a few precautions and arming yourself with a little knowledge can go a long way. Stay safe—and don’t forget to study!