5 DIY Home Security Tips for Renters
Roughly 1.4 million homes were broken into in the US in 2017, according to the FBI. If you’re a renter, home security isn’t something to compromise on, especially if your property manager may not have your security covered. Renters who aren’t on a strict budget may still be unable to alter their apartments with a home security system. This is where a DIY security system works best. Protect yourself and your property from burglary and theft with these simple, cost-effective DIY security measures.
1. Check Out Your Neighborhood and Property
If you’re still looking for a place to rent or you already have a place, it pays to do a security check of your own. Save yourself time and potentially difficult situations by learning more about your neighborhood.
Take the time to visit your local police station and ask about crimes that happen in the area. Are there certain types of crimes more prevalent than others? What about frequency of crimes? Getting your answers directly from a reliable source helps you avoid making biased assumptions about the area or complex where you live, and can better inform your decision if you’re still in the market.
Next, inspect the rental property itself. Talk to your property manager about what security measures they already have in place (and let them know if anything is missing, like lighting for walkways and parking lots). Then, make a list of what you need beyond what’s already in place. The list may be extensive if the property offers little more than a lock on the door.
2. Invest in a Renter-Friendly DIY Security System
Many home security companies have noticed the growing number of renters and property owners looking for simple and impermanent security systems, and they now provide home security systems that are renter-friendly.
DIY kits eliminate the need for professional installation costs, making them great for budget-conscious renters. They also allow you to purchase only the sensors that you need. Small-apartment dwellers can purchase a single door sensor instead of investing in a home-sized kit. Finally, DIY kits give extra security without needing to cut or hammer into walls.
For example, a turnkey DIY home security kit consists of a home security hub and a range of adhesive-mounted sensors and cameras that connect wirelessly.
3. Use Smart Lighting
Smart light bulbs are a cheap and convenient addition to a home security package for renters. These gadgets connect with your smartphone and feature a host of options, including scheduling—turning off automatically when you leave for work to save energy and money over time.
Many of the newest smart light bulbs can even learn your routines and automatically turn on according to your usual schedule when you’re away from home. This setup makes your apartment or house look occupied from the street, which may deter potential criminals when you’re traveling. Finally, consider installing a motion-activated outdoor light to deter any would-be thieves.
4. Focus on Entry Points
Your front door is the first line of defense, especially for an apartment, and affordable upgrades can significantly enhance your safety. Talk to your landlord about installing a deadbolt on your existing door, and always keep track of any spare keys.
If your apartment or rental property is older, inspect your strike plate and hinges. Strike plates easily come loose after a few years (or decades) of slammed doors. The plate can be reinforced with longer screws to make it harder for an intruder to kick down, and most hinges can be secured with set screws. These simple modifications cost little, and make it significantly more difficult to break in.
5. Install a Peephole or Smart Doorbell
Installing a peephole on your front door adds a layer of security for you and your family. A simple door viewer has been common for decades, and for good reason; knowing who’s on the other side of the door before you open it can prevent easy access to someone with criminal intent.
In some unusual cases, burglars will dismantle a traditional door viewer to take a look inside of your apartment. If this leaves you unsettled, consider investing in a smart doorbell with a security camera. You’ll get all the benefits of a door viewer without giving anyone a vantage point to check whether you’re home.
Keeping Your Apartment Secure
Your apartment’s security features are only as good as their users. Keeping your doors and windows locked, your security system armed, and your smart lighting on schedule helps deter crimes of opportunity.
Consistency is key, so set alerts on your phone or computer to remind you about your security protocols. By carefully following these tips, you can keep your family and your belongings safe from a worst-case scenario and still stay within your budget.