It’s no wonder many renters are concerned about safety: Renters are more likely to be victims of burglary than homeowners. Apartment complexes are often susceptible to burglary and car break ins. But there are some steps you can take to avoid crime-prone complexes and protect yourself, your family, and your possessions.
When you’re considering various apartment complexes, remember to look for safety features and red flags for lax security.
Do Your Research
Before submitting an application, research the local crime rates. Good resources include local police, the landlord, neighbors, and web sites such as CrimeReport and CrimeMapping. Also, preview the neighborhood and look for telltale signs like graffiti, high traffic, overgrown lawns, and lack of basic maintenance and upkeep. Remember to visit at night too and take note of the lighting and signs of frequent loitering.
Is the Landlord Keeping Up with Basic Maintenance?
Security is part of a landlord’s job, and you can tell a lot about the quality of the landlord by the general condition of the property. Keep an eye out for red flags such as:
- Broken windows
- Water stains
- Cracked drywall
- Damaged siding
- Overgrown landscaping
- Weak, defective window locks
Take Note of the Lighting
Shadows and dark areas make it easier for criminals to operate undetected. A poorly lit building is more vulnerable. When you’re touring apartment complexes, remember to take note of the lighting in parking lots, entry ways, stair wells, and hallways; perhaps also visit at night.
Look for Security Features
An outside entry door with a buzz-in, key, or pass codes allows tenants to control who gains entry to the building. Peepholes in apartment doors are also a good sign.
Also, it’s safer not to apply for ground level units as they are much easier to gain access to than apartments on the upper floors of the building.
So, you’ve found a place you like that seems secure. After you move in, some security measures to consider include:
- Change the door locks: Ask for brand new locks instead of old locks recycled from other units. Former tenants may still have keys.
- Ask to have a peephole installed
- Get more locks: Invest in a deadbolt and chain lock.
- Install blinds that completely obscure the view into your unit and remember to close them in the evenings.
- Invest in a safe for your most valuable possessions and ask your landlord if you can bolt it to the floor or a wall.
- Secure sliding doors: Some balcony doors with weak locks lift easily out of their tracks. Place a pole on the inside track or insert a secondary locking mechanism.
- Ask to have tall bushes near your windows removed or cut back.
- Look into renter’s insurance to cover your personal belongings.
With many of these steps, remember that you’ll probably have to ask the landlord for permission.
Vigilant residents are a great defense against crime. Get to know your landlord and neighbors. Share information about recent break-ins, suspicious activity, and smart security measures. Let a trusted neighbor know when you’re away on vacation.
Sometimes preventing a break in is a matter of slowing down a potential intruder and making it harder and less comfortable for him to operate. Too much light, strong locks, and difficult access points may discourage burglars and convince them to look for an easier target.
If you’re interested in other real estate related topics or want to train to become a real estate agent, visit 360training.com. You’ll find interactive, self-paced courses that are accessible online. Learning new things has never been so easy.