When you rent an apartment that you aren’t extremely familiar with, you’ll want to pay attention to the security of the building, as well as the security of your individual apartment.
Obviously, buildings with indoor hallways, keyed or keypad entry only, or gated parking lots are the most secure. As a renter, there are a few ways to make sure that you protect your apartment from burglaries and theft. Below are some of the easiest things you can do to secure your apartment doors effectively.
Install Specialized and Sturdy Locks
Try to choose the most secured apartment door lock to prevent kick-ins.
A wide range of deadbolt locks and dead-locks are available that make it much more difficult for burglars to force their way into your rented property. Deadbolt locks can be added to most types of exterior doors, except for sliding doors.
The most secure deadbolt locks are made from solid metal and have no exposed screws. If your apartment door already has an inferior deadbolt, you can request a replacement, or replace yourself with their permission.
Dead-locks make doors even more secure.
This type of lock does not have a key on the outside, and it makes it extremely difficult to enter a premise without using a huge amount of force or finding a way to destroy the lock instead.
Add A Strike Box
A strike box toughens up your entry and deters intruders by replacing existing strike plates with a structure that includes a metal pocket, over-sized plates, and a solid connection into the wall stud behind the doorjamb with 3-inch screws.
To accommodate this addition, you’ll need to enlarge both the hole in the jamb and the cover plate recess, so will want your landlord’s permission.
Lighting at Public Entries
Motion lights, or just adequate lighting at all of your entry doors is highly recommended if any of your entryways are publicly accessible. Lighting is almost always included by apartment managers at the front door, but occasionally patio doors are neglected.
Your role will be to keep those lightbulbs changed, and use the lighting appropriately. Assuming you have a power source, invest in your own lighting if your landlord does not want to install the lighting you believe you need to keep safe.
A very common method that even the best way to secure an apartment door is circumvented is by breaking a window or glass that is next to the door.
You can use the appropriate locks for door around window glass, but you can also protect the glass itself. This is most often done with metal bars that are tight enough to prevent arm access, so the glass cannot be broken to the point where a criminal can reach into the home and unlock the door.
However, security bars on windows are not always effective, nor are they always desired due to their appearance.
The best way to secure a door by strengthening windows is to use window security film.
This plastic can be applied like window tint and keeps the glass from shattering even when there is a puncture. It keeps the door secure from both sides.
Secure Your Sliding Glass Door
A common target by thieves, sliding glass doors require additional security measures beyond the fairly flimsy lock that is usually included. The cheapest measure is to wedge a pipe or sturdy piece of wood in the bottom track.
There are also installed options available on the market that you raise and lower into place.
Hardware and door stores also carry simple, inexpensive lock systems that function as a latch, sliding down into place at eye level or at the top of the door.
If you secure one single thing in your apartment, it should be using one or two of these additional locking mechanisms on your sliders.
Although nearly all apartment buildings have peepholes, they are only effective when someone is home.
However, now there are digital peephole viewers which include not just a peephole, but a door camera, doorbell, indoor viewer, and intercom. This is an even better option, depending on your budget.
They allow you to see who’s at the front of your apartment door on your smartphone, so you don’t even have to stand up and approach the door to know who wants to visit your home. They also can be set to record activity which is vital in a criminal investigation.
Signage alerting someone approaching that a camera is in use is a major deterrent. A thief can choose any door in the hallway, he’ll be less likely to choose yours if it is obvious a camera is in use.
Verify your Landlord Re-Keyed the Lock
If you’re working with a professional property management company, chances are they will have re-keyed the locks automatically. However some single owners have been known to cut this corner. Be sure you ask the landlord, and visually verify if the lock portion of the doorknob appears to be new. Re-keying kits matching most lock brands can be found at hardware stores and home-improvement centers and work on both entrance and dead-bolt locks. They also allow up to six locks to be re-keyed for the same key.
Securing the door of your rental property should be one of your main priorities to protect your home. If it is easy to enter your apartment, you could end up paying a heavy price. Try the methods above to burglar-proof your apartment door.