Keeping Your Stuff and Yourself Safe When You Live in an Apartment

Photo credit: flickr.com

Photo credit: flickr.com

As a homeowner, your home security is totally up to you. You can install security systems, put up flood and motion detecting lights, set up video surveillance, anything you want! You can do as much or as little as feels comfortable. When you live in an apartment, though…not so much.

Apartment dwellers, you can’t rip out their windows and install security glass. You can’t wire in alarms or change the lighting (much). You definitely can’t set up video surveillance in the hallway. It can often feel like you are totally at the mercy of your landlord’s whims. In some ways, you are. But just because you can’t put in any complicated monitoring systems or alarms doesn’t mean you can’t still take steps to keep yourself and your stuff as safe as possible!

Hiding Your Stuff

Nobody is going to put their valuables into a box that says “Valuable stuff! Hands off!” There are, however, some places to which thieves and intruders will gravitate toward more than others. Thieves and intruders are naturally going to check your drawers, closet shelves and under your bed. Luckily there are lots of different ways to hide valuable stuff both in and out of your apartment. We’ve compiled a list of them here. We are also big fans of using empty peanut butter jars, the inside of box spring mattresses, and pet toys (those catnip toys with the velcro strips are great).

Reinforce Your Windows

You probably know that putting plastic up on your windows in the winter helps keep your apartment warm. Did you know, though, that there is film you can put up that will keep your windows intact if someone tries to break through them? It’s called “shatter resistant film” and you can find it at your local supply store. This is a must have for any ground floor or fire escape adjacent windows. Plus, you can install it yourself, so you don’t have to worry about spending money on hiring someone to do it for you.

It’s also a good idea to use dowelings in your windows for some extra reinforcement. Those things look like they’ll break if you sneeze on them but they are incredibly strong!

Booby Trap Your Door

Well, okay, not really. You don’t want to totally “Home Alone” the place, you’ll just wind up injuring yourself after a long night out.

Hopefully your door has one of those security locks (the deadbolts that can only be accessed from inside of the apartment). If not, don’t panic and don’t count on a chain lock to keep an intruder out. Instead, use a wooden wedge or doorstop. Yep, kick one of those under your front door while it’s closed and nobody is going to be able to slip in unannounced. If you’ve ever tried to pull a door closed over one of those things without realizing it was there, you know how strong they can be. There are other portable door stops you can use, too, but the simple rubber or wooden ones are our favorites.

Monitor for Other Hazards

Your apartment probably came with smoke detectors already installed. It’s also important to have a working carbon monoxide detector on site. These are not the only ways to prevent gas leaks or fires though. In a blog post called “Winter Woes 2: Home is Where the Heat Is” for ADT home security in Atlanta, there is a great list of all of the ways you can accidentally set fire to your home.

The methods most likely to apply to apartment dwellers are space heaters and extension cords that aren’t properly secured and out of the way. In other words, yes the outlet is here and you want to put the thing there, but don’t just run the cord across the floor and cover it with a rug. Run it around the edge of the room and secure it with a solid cord cover.

Basically: when you live in apartment you have to find good but non-permanent ways to keep your stuff safe. After all, keeping your stuff safe won’t make you feel better about losing your entire security deposit or getting evicted!