It’s so important to feel safe in your apartment – after all, it’s your home. But security in your home brings a unique set of challenges that homeowners might not have. Whether you live in a large apartment building with a security gate, or a small, garden-style complex, knowing how to secure your home when you are away is very crucial and we will share with you 17 tips to keeping your home safe when you are not around for less than $50.
Yes I mean $50, If you’re concerned about shelling out hundreds of dollars to keep your home safe, rest assured. So, we’ve come up with a few solutions to add security to your home and keep you and your family safe and sound. The easiest way to keep intruders out is to make them believe that the risk of breaking into your apartment is greater than the potential reward. If they think there’s a good chance they’ll get caught, they’ll probably move on to somewhere else.
Table of Contents
- 17 Tips to Secure Your Home When You are Away
- 1. Add locks
- 2. Store Away Your Important Belongings
- 3. Install a security system
- 4. Don’t write your apartment number on your key
- 5. Secure sliding doors
- 6. Window Locks
- 7. Window Alarms
- 8. Glass Break Alarms
- 9. Door Barricade
- 10. Motion Sensors
- 11. Motion Detectors
- 12. Surveillance
- 13. Upgrade Your Locks
- 14. Proper Lighting
- 15. Regular Maintenance
- 16. Get a Dog
- 17. Remove Shrubbery
17 Tips to Secure Your Home When You are Away
The best part is, each of these tips on how to secure your home when you are away will cost you less than $30. so let dive in:
1. Add locks
One straightforward way to secure your home when you are away is to add more locks to your front door. You probably have some combination of locks already – most likely a deadbolt and locking doorknob. If you’re looking for more advanced security in your home, you should consider adding new locks and upgrading your existing. Add a swing lock, use a portable lock or upgrade your existing deadbolt to a smart lock.
2. Store Away Your Important Belongings
It’s a good idea to keep portable electronics and loose money out of plain sight, especially if you live in a first-floor apartment. Installing blinds helps in this effort, as well. You can add a further layer of protection for your most essential belongings by getting a safe. There are plenty of freestanding safes on the market but talk with your landlord about bolting the safe to the wall or floor so that thieves can’t get away with it. If you can make it harder for an intruder to find what he or she is after, you can reduce the risk of these items being stolen. Invest in a safe or find better hiding spots for your valuables like hollowed-out books, false containers in the kitchen, or the back of the freezer.
3. Install a security system
Security systems are rarely associated with renters, but there’s really no reason they shouldn’t be. Apartment renters are just as much at risk for burglary as homeowners are. While you’ll most likely be prohibited from installing a wired security system, there are plenty of wireless systems on the market today that can be installed easily in your home. Plus, you can take it with you when you move out!
4. Don’t write your apartment number on your key
This is a small step that could ultimately make a huge difference in your safety. If you’ve ever lost a key, you’ve probably thought to yourself, “There are millions of keys out there. How would anyone possibly know which apartment this key is to.” The easiest way? Writing your apartment number on the key. This common practice can actually make it pretty easy for burglars to break in if you lose your key. If you absolutely must write your apartment or unit number down somewhere, consider saving it in your smartphone.
5. Secure sliding doors
Perhaps one of the easiest ways for a burglar to break into your home is through a sliding door. They’re very common and even when locked, are very easy to break. Place a bar in the track of the door to stop the door from opening from the outside could be an essential way to secure your home when you are away. You can either purchase a consumer tool to do this or use a sawed-off broomstick, which will likely work just as well.
You can also buy an extra lock that goes on the top of the door, adding another layer of protection. Not only will it keep burglars out, but it can help keep your kids in, too! We have a guide on how to Secure Glass Sliding Doors and Windows check it out.
6. Window Locks
Not every apartment will need to worry about the security of their windows. If there are no fire escapes and the unit is several stories off the ground, access to the window will be treacherous. But Home designs come in all types of styles, some of which even position front windows next to doors. Windows that face the street on the first few stories of an apartment complex can also be extremely vulnerable to exploitation and weaken your apartment security. If your windows are vulnerable, it is important to secure them.
A more standard type of window protection is window locks. There are a ton of different types, they include:
- The Window Wedge: This one is like a wedge doorstop that just slides into the window track and holds your window shut.
- Sliding Window Lock: This one works for sliding windows. It clamps into place in the track and keeps the window from opening. From the inside, it’s easy to remove. So your window is still easily used when you want to open it.
- Burglabar – This one actually sticks to the glass on your window. It’s basically a little hinge that falls into place when you close your window automatically locking it. It’s an interesting idea, for sure, but doesn’t seem as strong as the Sliding Window Lock.
There are numerous other window locks you can buy. Some even require a key to unlock which is very important in securing your home when away..
Window locks should be in good working order and protect against common bypass methods.
7. Window Alarms
Consider getting a window alarm, these work just like the door and window alarms that you get from the security company, except that you don’t have to pay for monitoring, and the siren is built right into the sensor. One of the four sensors that come in the kit also has the keypad to arm or disarm the system. So when you’re home during the day and want to open your door or windows, just disarm the system and you’re free to open your windows.
These are really easy to use and install. All you need to do is attach one side to your window (or door) and the other side to the frame and when your door or window opens, the siren goes off. If you got a ring alarm here is How to Secure Your Ring Doorbell from Being Hacked.
8. Glass Break Alarms
So what if an intruder decides to just break your window?
There are options to keep them out still, like bars on the window, or shatterproof film that makes it really hard to break the glass in your windows. The only problem with these is that in an apartment complex, you don’t always have the flexibility to make these kinds of semi-permanent changes. If your management allows it, then I highly recommend the film. But if not, we can always go the alarm route.
Doberman vibration alarm, this ultra-slim alarm sticks right to your window and will detect vibrations. If someone tries to break your window, or even open it while the alarm is set, it will let you and your neighbors know. But when you want to open your window, just flip the switch to off.
This cost just less than $30
9. Door Barricade
No matter what type of house you live in, you’re going to have a door, and that door is usually the most likely entry point for an intruder. Strengthening an existing front door is a very effective and subtle way to improve home security. Your front door plays a huge role in your security, as it is often the last boundary between the outside world and your property. A tremendous amount of security can be added to this indispensable part of your security with just a few screws. It is that easy, and then there is always more you can do after that.
If you don’t have a deadbolt lock, your door will be extremely easy to breakthrough. But even with a deadbolt, an intruder can pretty easily use a bump key and unlock it, or just kick it in. That’s why I really like door barricades. A door barricade is a device that physically holds the door closed. The best ones are actually bolted down, but this one is pretty inexpensive and doesn’t require any bolting, which is perfect for an apartment where you’re not allowed to drill holes in the floor.
Other Things to Check on Your Door Includes;
Hinges: If your door hinges are on the outside of your apartment, a thief could take aim at those. You probably can’t replace the door, but State Farm suggests using setscrews to secure the hinges. You simply drill the screw through the middle of the hinge. They have a couple of additional suggestions, too.
Strike Plates: Take a look at the strike plate on your door locks. This is the metal plate on your door frame. If you’re renting, chances are, it’s old and worn and probably not that secure, to begin with. Consider replacing the screws with longer ones to secure it better. Ensure that the strike plate is properly installed with screws that are at least ¾ inches long. This measure ensures that the bolt can’t easily be forced out of the door jamb.
10. Motion Sensors
Most wireless security systems have options for sensors and surveillance. Sensors are generally on the less-expensive end and surveillance and security cameras can be slightly more expensive. Motion sensors are easy to install over a window or door. The sensor makes a loud noise when someone tries to open your door or window, this can scare away an intruder or notify a neighbor who can call the police. Some motion sensors like Seanme Motion Sensor Alarm cost less than $40 on amazon and are easy to install.
The main reason to have an alarm in this day and age is so that it can contact the relevant parties to thwart a criminal. You might also want to receive alarm trigger notifications to your smartphone, as your response time could, in some cases, be faster than a private security company or even the police.
11. Motion Detectors
Motion detectors differ from sensors because they detect movement rather than touch. Many people choose to pair their motion detectors with security lights that turn on when someone approaches. Lights can scare an intruder into thinking someone is home or tip off a neighbor who can call for help. These motion detectors usually come with a base or wireless console that you can connect to your Wi-Fi network. Motion sensors and detectors are a great first line to secure your home when you are away and a cost-effective way to prevent break-ins since they can potentially trick an intruder into thinking someone’s at home.
If you’re somewhat tech-savvy, you may want to install a security camera. It is unlikely that you will be able to place security cameras all around the perimeter of your unit, but there are still ways to use surveillance equipment for improved home security. In some cases, you can use a fake camera as a decoy which cost less than $20, as just the sight of the device can scare off potential intruders. A true security camera, however, gives you recorded evidence in case anything goes missing in your apartment. Place cameras to monitor entrances and valuables.
There are basic security cameras and Wi-Fi-enabled devices that you can access from your smartphone. If you spend a lot of time away from home, you may want to opt for the Wi-Fi-enabled camera that you can control from the office or on the go. This guide will show you where to install security cameras in your home.
13. Upgrade Your Locks
Every apartment comes with a standard set of locks; usually a knob lock or lever-handle lock, and a deadbolt. If you want more peace of mind, you may want to upgrade your locks. For more security, you can use a double-cylinder deadbolt or a mortise lock which combines a sprung latch, deadbolt and lever handle.
Different types of apartment layouts can have specific threats they are likely to face, but kicking attacks are often the most common form of forced entry. So when you are looking for a door lock to improve your apartment security, it is best to look into how much force a deadbolt can withstand. The benefit of home complex security is that living so close to your neighbors increases the chance of third-party intervention, so if forced entry takes too long or is too loud, it is likely to garner some attention.
Digital locks and smart locks are also great options for apartment renters, especially if you have multiple roommates. You can avoid lockouts and miscommunication by installing a keyless entry lock or a remote-entry lock you can access from your cell phone. Do your research and compare the different types of locks to learn more about your options. Locks should use solid metal construction to prevent the success of bludgeoning attacks. A lock that prevents lock bumping will also offer pick resistance.
14. Proper Lighting
Lights in and around the property can be used in several ways for home security. One such use is for exposure. Exterior lighting is a great way to show everyone around the building what is going on. It helps to make any suspicious activity more obvious to other residents and pedestrians. Criminals love to hide behind cover and in shadows. Items like motion sensor lights are usually recommended to secure your home when you are away because they draw the eye with their sudden illumination, but chances are they are not a good fit for your apartment security. Chances are the foot traffic for your building is relatively sporadic, in terms of the times of day people are coming and going, so motion-activated lights are likely to create security fatigue and provide temporary darkness between the lights cycling off and on again.
Turn regular lights into motion sensor lights by switching to motion-sensing light bulbs or by screwing a motion detection adapter in between a regular bulb and socket. Outdoors, they’ll put a spotlight on anyone scoping out your property, and the visibility alone might be enough to keep would-be intruders on their way. You can also look into battery-powered pathway lights or lanterns. You can choose to have the on all the time, or if you’re trying to conserve energy, for them to come on with motion activation.
Interior lighting will be a much more important factor. Interior lighting for your apartment unit can discourage criminals by making it seem as though someone is home.
15. Regular Maintenance
One of the biggest threats to your apartment security is having the current safety measures in place breaking down due to natural wear and tear. Nothing lasts forever, but that does not mean that you cannot extend the lifespan of your apartment security devices. Also, these things deteriorate before they stop working outright. When your apartment security is not functioning at its highest capacity your protection cannot be relied upon, but you might also be placing yourself at unnecessary risk.
16. Get a Dog
A dog is similar to an alarm system in that they’ll alert you to someone trying to get in. They’ll also deter intruders who are just looking for an easy job. Criminals want to avoid attention. When people look, they notice and some will remember. That increases their chances of being caught. So, when a dog starts barking, they are likely to decide it’s a good time to be elsewhere.
17. Remove Shrubbery
If you’ve got shrubbery below, next to or partially covering your windows, you should remove it. That shrubbery provides a perfect place for break-in artists to hide while they are checking to see if your windows are unlocked. Removing it increases the risk for the criminal. There’s nothing wrong with having shrubs; it’s just how they are placed. Transplant those shrubs to a spot between the windows, so that it doesn’t make a good hiding place. Then you can put flowers or something else low to the ground under the windows