The Best Home Security For Apartments

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Home security isn't just for private homes. Apartment dwellers also have lots of options to make their homes safer and more secure. While nothing is a guarantee, a few easy changes can go a long way toward deterring crime in your apartment.

Secure Doors

Doors need to open to let you get in and out of your apartment, leaving you with the challenge of making sure no unwanted guests can also enter your home. Here are some simple ideas for securing your apartment doors:

  • Doors made of solid metal or wood are the best choices. If you don't feel your door is adequate, ask your landlord if he or she would consider replacing it with something more substantial.
  • Every exterior door in your apartment should have a deadbolt lock in addition to a high quality doorknob lock.
  • Experts suggest a deadbolt with a one-inch minimum throw and a strike plate with three-inch minimum screws. Be sure the screws penetrate well into your doorframe. Installing more than one deadbolt will provide an additional deterrent. Most criminals will choose the door that looks the easiest for a break-in.
  • Glass in or near your door, while decorative, decreases your overall security because it is so easily broken. If your door has some glass, be sure it sits high enough (or your lock sits low enough) that no one could reach through the area and unlock your door. You may want to install metal bars or a grating over a large glass panel.
  • If your apartment has sliding patio or balcony doors, install a charley bar to prevent break-ins.
  • Your front door should have a wide-angle peephole so you can see who is outside before opening the door. A video surveillance system is an even better option.
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Window Security Options

Windows bring in sunlight, moonlight and fresh air; however, they are another area of vulnerability when it comes to apartment security. You can make your windows safer by installing:

  • Anti-lift hardware that doesn't allow windows to be lifted out
  • Blocking devices that keep windows from being opened more than six inches
  • Metal bars or gates.

Before installing bars, be sure to check the fire safety laws in your neighborhood, as window bars are illegal in some areas. Some window bars come equipped with a door you can open from the inside so you'll still be able to get out in an emergency.

Deterring Burglary with Sound: Exploring Alarm Systems

People have used alarm systems to protect their homes long before the discovery of electricity, and natural alarms are still very effective. One of the oldest and most reliable natural alarms is a barking dog. If your dog likes to bark when anyone comes near your home, that is enough to discourage many would-be prowlers.

Electronic alarm systems are another good way to protect your apartment. Not all alarm systems are equal, however. If you decide to invest in an electronic alarm, be sure to choose a system with:

  • A reputable, major company that you can trust
  • Both a silent alarm that notifies the police and an audible one to scare off burglars
  • Warning stickers you can put on every window and door.

If an alarm system isn't within your budget, just putting up alarm stickers can be enough to deter some crime. You may be able to buy convincing alarm stickers online or at your local hardware store.

Staying Safe in Your Apartment

Even with all the right anti-crime hardware in place, your apartment security still depends on you to a large degree. Here are some tips to help you stay safe and secure in your apartment:

  • Be sure your apartment intercom system is working and never buzz anyone in unless you are sure they belong in the building.
  • Before opening your door, always check to be sure you know who is out there. If you aren't positive the person ringing your bell is safe, don't open the door, and if the person refuses to leave, call the police.
  • Don't put your full name on the apartment nameplate.
  • If you walk into your apartment and it appears to be tampered with, don't stay and check things out. Leave right away and call the police.
  • Leave some lights on in your apartment when you are away. You may even want to have a radio or television playing. A timer is a great way to have lights and sound turn on and off at seemingly random intervals while you are out.
  • Lock your door and turn on any alarms whenever you leave the apartment, even if only for a short while. These devices are only effective if you use them.
  • Never leave a spare key outside your apartment.
  • Request identification from service technicians who come to your door.
  • Stop your mail delivery when you are on vacation.
  • Get to know your neighbors so you can look out for them and they for you.

Your Secure Future

With a few security additions and some good safety habits, your apartment can be a safe and enjoyable place for you and your family.

Last Updated: August 23, 2011
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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