Housing Advice

Apartment Security

In our experience, locking the door for college students seems to be a problem sometimes.  We’ve heard many stories when we were in college of students getting their possessions stolen simply because they or their roommates had left the door open or unlocked.  This is why we decided to give you some tips to make sure that it doesn’t happen to you.

Gauge the safety of the area you live in.  You can check local police logs to see where crime is occurring in your area.  If you notice someone has been robbed only one block over from your apartment, you will want to be especially careful.  In an article we read at My First Apartment, they suggest using websites like Everyblock which will also help you to gauge the relative safety of your neighborhood.   They also advise you to be aware of suspicious people who may be casing your apartment, and to consider your risk tolerance.  This means that if you know you live in an area that is a little sketchy, you understand that there will be risks.

Make sure your apartment and your building has working locks.  You want to make sure that the locks to your apartment and to the building work before you start moving in your things.  Be sure to examine the locks to ensure that nothing seems to be broken.  Then you’ll want to lock yourself out (with someone still inside who can let you in), and try to break in (without damaging anything).  You want to make sure that you can’t break into your apartment.  If you notice anything, or you find it to be really easy to get in, you’ll want to let your landlord know immediately.

If you don’t have a deadbolt, ask your landlord to install one.  In another article we read at My First Apartment advises that this is the most important piece of security for an apartment.  Deadbolts are much more difficult to pass, as they require a significant amount of force to be opened.

Don’t let people into your apartment or your building who you don’t know.  You should not open the door for anyone you don’t know.  Before you open the door, it is important to ask who it is.  You should also beware not to let anyone into your building who you don’t know.  If someone approaches you looking to get into your apartment building because they “locked themselves out” and you don’t know them, you shouldn’t let them in.

Be sure to store important and expensive valuables out of sight and in not-so-obvious places.  In one of the articles we read, they suggest that you make sure that you store things out of sight so that if someone were to break into your home, that they may not be able to find all of your jewelry in one obvious spot.  You may also want to be sure that no one can see the giant flat screen sitting in your living room.  Especially if you have a first floor apartment, you’ll want to make sure that you draw the blinds so that no one can see in and that you may have added security on your windows and doors (i.e. bars or extra security locks).

Talk with your roommate(s) beforehand about security.  Although it sounds a little strange, you want to know beforehand if your roommate never locks the door.  Sit down together and discuss how the security for your place should be handled.  Can you leave the door unlocked if you just ran outside for 5 minutes?  Can you leave the door unlocked when you’re home?  Whose responsibility is it to make sure the door is locked at night?  You’ll also want to talk about the aforementioned items we’ve listed here and develop a strategy as to how you and your roommate(s) can prevent your pad from becoming an easy and obvious target.

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