When you think you’ve found your dream apartment, check local crime data in its vicinity regarding apartment security. 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 neighbors to get an honest picture of what life will be like in your new place. Websites like CrimeReports.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 apartment security, check the entrances, hallways, walkways, parking areas, elevators, stairways, mail areas, and laundry rooms to make sure they have enough lighting at night. If not, talk to your landlord about getting more lights installed or consider installing your own motion sensor lights around the entrances of your unit. 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.
Try the Peephole
A peephole can keep you and your family safe by allowing you to see who’s at your door before you open it. If your door does not have a peephole, inquire about having one installed before you move in. When a questionable character is at your door, a peephole will help you and your children avoid any compromising situations. Installing a smart doorbell camera is another option, depending on the type of apartment complex you live in. Smart doorbells allow you to see who is visiting your apartment through your smartphone, so you don’t even need to get up if you discover it’s a solicitor.
Get New Door Locks
Replacing your locks reduces the risk of unwanted persons being able to access your new place. Many landlords say they’ve replaced the locks, but sometimes apartment managers will just rotate the old locks between apartments, and extra keys are not always returned. When you move into new housing, you never know how many keys have gone missing or how many previous tenants may still have keys. Ask your landlord about having your locks replaced with brand new locks, not redistributed old ones. Don’t risk somebody being able to return to your apartment with an old key.
Examine Window Locks
Good window locks keep intruders from gaining easy access to your residence. This is especially true for windows on the ground level, but all windows should be properly checked—you’d be surprised how determined burglars can be. Treat all windows as potential entry points, and make sure all window locks are working properly and cannot be manipulated from the outside.
Note Fire Escapes
In apartment complexes, exterior fire escapes can be lifesavers during an emergency, but their access to windows and balconies can also attract burglars. If your apartment has a fire escape, make sure it is stored properly off the ground, so intruders can’t reach your apartment.