Apartments sometimes lack basic security features, and it may seem like there’s nothing you can do about it because you don’t own the place. However, with a handful of tricks like researching the neighborhood, checking the windows, investing in a safe, purchasing renters insurance, and even installing a home security system, you can feel safe in your rental.
Apartment Security Tips
There are a variety of measures you can take to increase your apartment protection both before and after you move into your place.
Before You Move In
Here’s what to do when selecting an apartment complex to live in:
- Research crime: Research crime in the neighborhoods you’re interested in by checking statistics online as well as talking to residents.
- Check out the maintenance: You can learn a lot about the apartment’s safety level by keeping an eye out for indicators that the landlord isn’t worried about upkeep like burnt-out lightbulbs, peeling paint, and broken fences. It’s a good idea to bring these issues up with the landlord if you notice them and see how they respond.
- Examine the entrances: Entrances should be secure to keep potential burglars out. Top-notch security features include key codes, chain locks, peepholes, and cameras.
- Investigate the lighting: Good lighting can deter intruders from breaking in. You don’t want to live in a place that has dark parking lots, garages, hallways, or stairwells. It’s best to investigate these areas at night before moving in, but bring a friend with you as a safety precaution.
- Observe the windows: Make sure that the windows have secure, sturdy locks that aren’t visible from the outside. If a burglar can easily see a lock, they could smash the window to reach it.
- Look for emergency exits: As much as you want to keep intruders out, you want to make sure you can get out in case of an emergency like a fire. Consider the apartment’s fire escape plan and see if there are carbon monoxide and smoke detectors installed.
After You Move In
Now that you’ve moved in, you need to take steps to guarantee that your apartment isn’t attractive to burglars.
- Get to know your neighbors: Friendly neighbors look out for each other and share any suspicious activity either in person or over Facebook groups dedicated to the complex or neighborhood.
- Improve your locks: If your apartment doesn’t have a deadbolt, you need to get one. Additional door features like a chain can also keep your apartment secure.
- Keep your windows covered: Shutting your windows after dark and whenever you aren’t home is a good practice. Angle your blinds horizontally so that people can’t see between the slats.
- Get a safe: It’s critical that you keep your valuables out of sight. If the worst should happen and a burglar enters your apartment, you don’t want items like jewelry, heirlooms, and firearms readily available. Burglars try to get in and out, so they are less likely to spend time hunting down valuables if they aren’t easily visible.
- Purchase renters insurance: If an accident happens, you’ll be happy you invested in renters insurance. It won’t cover all damages, but it will usually cover replacement costs if items like electronics, furniture, and other personal property are stolen or damaged.
- Install a security system: A security system can be the best line of defense against burglary. You might think that you have no options, but there are companies out there whose systems you can tailor to your apartment.
Best Apartment Security Systems
Your apartment security system should have easy DIY installation with peel and stick being ideal, short contract or no contract requirements, and wireless equipment. Keep reading to learn about the companies that offer this.
1. ADT: Best Overall
ADT’s wireless security system, available through Blue by ADT, is ideal for apartment dwellers because if you decide to move, you can take it with you. Installation is easy enough for you to do yourself, and it doesn’t involve making any marks on your walls that could jeopardize your security deposit.
The standard package has four door/window sensors, two motion sensors, one smartphone hub, one yard sign, and four window stickers. You can purchase cameras and additional sensors a la carte. While the contract is for 36 months, you can take the equipment with you when you leave and set it up in your new apartment. The activation fee is $99.99, and the monthly cost is $28.30.
Pros & Cons
✔ Offers a six-month, money-back guarantee
✔ Has the largest national network of professional monitoring centers
✔ Gives customers access to a range of smart home devices
✘ Requires customers to enter into a three-year contract
✘ Mobile app access isn’t available with a basic package
Learn more: ADT Home Security Review
2. SimpliSafe: Best for Easy Installation
SimpliSafe was one of the first home security companies to offer DIY installation with no contract requirements. Its system is both easy to install and portable, allowing you to take the system with you if you move. Because the company doesn’t require a contract, you can cancel your service at any time with no fee.
The standard package for apartments comes with a base station and keypad ($185), door/window sensors ($14.99 each), motion sensors ($29.99 each), and glass break sensors ($34.99 each). The customer service representative we spoke to recommended purchasing your items a la carte to save money if the standard kit doesn’t fit your needs. The Standard Monitoring Plan is $14.99 per month, and Interactive Monitoring Plan is $24.99 per month.
Pros & Cons
✔ Has a three-year warranty
✔ Is easy to transport the security system if you move
✔ Has a long-lasting battery
✘ Doesn’t offer many home automation capabilities
✘ Uses third parties for professional installation
Learn more: SimpliSafe Home Security Review
3. Frontpoint: Best Smartphone Integration
Frontpoint offers the same convenient packages for apartment security as it does for home security. The wireless system is easy to install and uninstall with its peel-and-stick format, and it doesn’t require a contract.
The standard kit recommended for apartment dwellers comes with two door/window sensors, one motion sensor, one indoor camera, and one control panel for $99 total. Additional equipment can be purchased a la carte. Two professional monitoring packages are available, with the Interactive Plan costing $44 per month and Ultimate Plan costing $49 per month.
Pros & Cons
✔ Doesn’t require a contract
✔ Has crash and smash protection to prevent intruders from disabling the system
✔ Has a 30-day, money-back guarantee
✘ Outsources professional monitoring
✘ Has limited customer service hours
Learn more: Frontpoint Home Security Review
4. Abode: Best for Customization
Abode offers advanced technology, optional professional monitoring, and no long-term commitment. Abode is compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa, allowing you to automate your apartment.
The recommended security kits for apartments are the Iota packages. The Iota Kit Middle has the All-in-One Gateway, three door/window sensors, one keypad, and one key fob. The Iota Kit Elite comes with all of those features plus a motion sensor and another door/window sensor.
The Iota Kit Middle is $379, and the Iota Kit Elite is $445. Standard monitoring, which is self-monitoring, is $0.20 per day, and Pro monitoring, which has professional monitoring and cellular connectivity, is $0.66 per day.
Pros & Cons
✔ The All-in-One Gateway has a built-in motion sensor
✔ Can connect up to 160 devices
✔ Has a one-year warranty
✘ Has a cancellation fee
✘ 4G cellular backup is only available with the Pro Plan
Learn more: Abode Home Security Review
Frequently Asked Questions
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our home security recommendations with a detailed rating methodology that we use to objectively score each provider. Our research includes analyzing product specifications, reviewing service and plan information, speaking with customer service representatives, and analyzing customer reviews. We then score the provider against our review standards for system options, special features, installation options, connectivity and smart-home automation features, pricing, contract terms, warranty, usability, availability of a trial period, and trustworthiness to arrive at a final score out of 100.
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