I can only imagine a few things worse than waking up in the morning and discovering the unexpected – you've been robbed! You may feel violated, and then angry…and then confused. You might think, "Who would do this, and how did it slip right under my nose?"
If this has ever happened to you, don't feel bad; it can happen to anyone – at any time. According to the FBI's most recent property crime report, nearly 8 million homes reported property crime offenses in the U.S. in 2016 alone, and that includes neighborhoods where the crime rate is very low.
A co-worker has rented since college and hasn't had an issue with her safety or experienced a burglary. She is always careful to lock the front and patio door before going to bed. But, she said she did slip up recently. She was exhausted and fell asleep on the couch and forgot to lock the door! Luckily, she woke up in the middle of the night to get water and noticed the door was unlocked. Since she’d never lived alone before now, she felt scared and anxious – and immediately locked the door. She couldn't believe she had put herself at risk like that, especially because she considers herself very cautious and aware of her surroundings.
After my co-worker’s personal safety lapse, she began to wonder what additional security measures she can take at her apartment complex. She doesn’t technically own the place, so what can she do besides lock her door? She did some digging and found there are security measures one can implement in and outside of one’s apartment to help ensure safety – and we wanted to share them with all the fellow renters!
1. Get to know your neighbors and landlord.
Being familiar with your surroundings is very important. By knowing who your neighbors are and what they look like, you'll be able to identify someone who shouldn't be near your property.
2. Add extra locks to your doors and windows.
Always secure all points of entry into your home when you arrive, and before you leave. If you are not comfortable with the current locks on your door, install additional hardware on your doors and windows after receiving permission from your landlord. If you have a sliding door, keep a solid bar in place that will prevent the door from opening.
3. Install an apartment-friendly security system.
When I think of a security system, I only consider those active in single family homes, not apartments. But there are security systems made specifically for apartments! These cameras and motion detectors do not require drilling holes, so your security deposit will be safe. Like most security systems, you can control them on your smart phone or computer to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior.
4. Practice intercom security.
If your apartment has an intercom system, be cautious if you get a buzz, and weren't expecting company. Experts say it's better to leave your name off the intercom system because then, burglars won't have as much information to work with. Never buzz someone in without talking to them first. If you don't know them – don't allow them to enter the building!
5. Use a security checklist before signing the lease.
Write up a checklist and go through the apartment to make sure it's up to your standards. Be sure all the locks and windows are functioning properly. If you have a storage unit outside or connected to the unit, make sure it's secure and ask your landlord if they will provide a new lock for you. Also confirm that the landlord has changed the locks since the previous tenants. For an official checklist you can print off, use this one provided by the National Crime Prevention Council.
6. Don't leave anything exposed on your property.
If you have a porch and a patio, do not leave any valuables outside. This provides easy access to burglars, who can quickly take the valuable and run. We suggest also shutting blinds on your windows while you're away – you don't want to expose valuables you have inside your home, either!
7. Purchase renter's insurance.
Help ensure your items are protected with renters insurance from Teachers Credit Union! If you do have the misfortune of experiencing a burglary in your apartment, a renter's insurance policy can cover possessions that were stolen after paying a deductible.
TCU Insurance Agency is proud to be an independent insurance agency in communities across Indiana and Michigan. We serve dozens of communities. Our goal is to bring you knowledge, experience and resources to help you select the correct insurance for your individual and business needs. We offer many lines of coverage, including home/renters, auto, business, life and health insurance.
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