Why should you care about apartment security? Apartments are burglarized 85% more than other homes, according to the National Crime Prevention Council.
Check local crime data with police, neighbors and sites like CrimeReports.com, SpotCrime.com and CrimeMapping.com.
Do all walkways and entrances have enough lighting? Robbers love to sneak around in the dark.
Does the complex outer entrance require a key or pass code?
Fire escapes can save lives, but if not properly stored off the ground, they'll attract intruders.
Make sure you get brand new locks. Landlords often say they replaced locks when they just rotated the old ones. Don't risk someone keeping a key to your home. Broken windows, cracked drywall or water stains can also mean your landlord isn't as concerned about security as they should be.
Insist on having a peephole so you and your children can avoid opening the door to invaders.
Consider adding a deadbolt and chain to your doors.
Thieves love sliding glass and balcony doors. Nudge the door off track and their entry is virtually untraceable. A simple inside bar lock or a pole on the track can prevent this.
You also need window locks on any floor to keep out the determined and resourceful.
Install good blinds and close them when you're away - keep prying eyes off your valuables.
Having a safe can't guarantee absolute protection. Yet it keeps thieves from easily grabbing and escaping with your valuables.
If you couldn't replace everything in case of disaster or robbery, you also need renter's insurance.
Engrave your driver's license on TV's and other electronics. Videotape everything and leave a list of make, model and serial numbers with friends outside the home or in a safe deposit box. Keep photocopies of your wallet contents there too.
In the past, these systems weren't renter-friendly. Now they're 100% wireless and you can take them with you.
Most installations seem easy to do yourself, yet if you consult a trained security professional, you'll see why this can make a huge difference in your safety.
Signage and window decals showing your security company are a great idea. Why? It's a strong theft deterrent.
No one confronts you, but it leaves you feeling vulnerable and violated. Most burglars are young males looking for items to quickly convert to cash for drugs and their lifestyle.
They'll strike night or day when no one appears at home.
Yet burglars will simply bypass your apartment if it looks like too much effort, risk or requires more skill and tools than they possess.
When renting an apartment, don't let your landlord dictate your safety. Work with them, but take your safety into your own hands and take steps to keep it that way.