When you go to get a new apartment, do you know what to do to ensure that you and those who will live with you will be kept entirely safe and secure? Do you know what to look for in the apartment and in the surrounding area before choosing a new place to live? Or do you know what to do after you’ve chosen your apartment to maintain security on your property? Living in an apartment is different from living in a house you own, because you have less power to control the property. Additionally, there are a lot more people who live close by or who visit your neighbors and who might be prone to breaking and entering your apartment. To protect you from an undesirable apartment break-in, here are some suggestions we offer at Oakland Multi-Tech Locksmith to help you choose your apartment and keep it secure.
Check Crime Rates in the Oakland Area
First things first – before you sign any new lease, check the crime rate in the area! Check it from an outside third party source, but also ask the apartment manager or landlord about any criminal activity in the apartment complex. Ask the residents, check websites like spotcrime.com and crimereports.com, and even talk to the police to see what criminal activity is like.
Check Lighting Around the Complex
Lighting is another essential that many new apartment renters forget to think about. When you go to look at a new apartment, you go during the day, right? But what about at night? Is the complex well lit? Or is it left in the dark, presenting a risk to you if you ever come back to your apartment after the sun sets? Ask about lighting, and test it out yourself. Every place in the complex should be well lit so that if you have to go get your laundry at 11pm, if you visit a friend after dark, or whatever you do past nightfall, you’re protected by the light.
Inspect The Security of All the Entrances
Every entrance to the apartment complex should be optimally secure. Is the apartment re-keyed when a new renter comes in? Is your door lock an electronic lock that can be reprogrammed with a new code? If not, will they let you re-key the locks? You definitely want to have brand new locks put on there, because in many cases not all keys were returned (or extra copies of keys were made and given out) by previous tenants, and you don’t want to risk that someone else can gain easy access to your apartment. Can you install an additional lock on the front entrance like a chain lock, and is there one on the back door? Dead bolts and chain locks are both excellent because they add a great amount of additional security. Dead bolts are hard to break into, and chain locks allow you to communicate with a visitor without letting them inside. Is the whole complex open but only the apartments themselves secure? Be wary of any complex that does not have an additional layer of protection besides just your apartment door. The best ones will have at least enclosed hallways that are only accessible to tenants and/or a gate that only tenants can enter through.
Maintenance and General Appearance
Is the apartment complex well-maintained? Ask yourself that question (and current residents) before signing a lease. If there are any broken windows, signs of water damage or flooding, or signs of a lack of care about the appearance and functionality of the apartment. The concern you should have is, are they going to take care of you as a resident? And if they aren’t going to take care of the tenants needs for maintenance, are they really going to take care of the apartment’s security?
Window Locks and Closures
Don’t leave your window open ever when you leave your apartment. Additionally, don’t leave it open when you’re asleep. Make sure that whenever you’re not home and awake, your windows are locked and secure. If there are no window locks or if the window locks aren’t in great condition, ask to have them replaced before you move in. This is especially true if you are going to live on the ground level, because ground level windows are the easiest entrances for intruders to access.
Fire escapes are a great way to get out in case of a fire or other emergency. However, they can also allow an intruder easy access to your apartment back door or window. Make sure the ladder to the fire escape is stored off of the ground at all times so that others cannot come into your apartment that way.
What You Can Do Once You’ve Moved In
Once you’ve already taken care of all of the above security measures, there is still yet more you can do to ensure that your apartment is safe and protected. If you couldn’t get a good lock installed on your sliding back door, you can block it with an inside bar lock or even a pole or sturdy piece of wood along the track. You should also put good blinds on all windows and glass doors to completely block views from the outside. If you have a lot of valuables in the apartment, invest in a safe to put them in, and see if you can get it bolted to the wall or floor. You can also purchase wireless security devices that you can take with you when you move to your next place, like cameras and motion sensors and lights. Lastly, make sure that you get renter’s insurance. This should not be a “maybe I’ll consider it” but a “definitely yes”, because this will protect you and your property. You shouldn’t simply trust your landlord to take care of your apartment security for you. Take matters into your own hands and do whatever you can to ensure that you and your property are kept safe.