How to Assess Apartment Security: Stay-Safe Tips for Renters

As we enter prime moving season, many novice and veteran apartment hunters may be more focused on finding an affordable apartment than a safe apartment. There’s no need to worry, you can find both by checking for these safety features in any prospective rental.

Check out the neighborhood

My mom used to say, “You are the company that you keep.” The same applies to your neighborhood – you’re as safe as your apartment’s surroundings. So, what’s the best way to assess the safety of a potential neighborhood? Fortunately, there are plenty of websites and databases (crimereports.com is one) that will provide you with information about crime rates in your neighborhood and up-to-the day police reports.

Look around the lobby

The next step is to check out the main point of entry to the apartment building. This includes the building exterior, front doorways and the lobby.

When reviewing the building entry, make sure the front entrance is well lit and free of hidden walkways or dense foliage. Anything that can obstruct the entrance could be inviting to those with criminal minds.

Also, check to see how you gain entry to the building. The more steps it takes to enter a building, the harder it is for an outsider to penetrate. Buildings with a foyer between the exterior and interior entrances, for instance, provide an extra layer of security for apartment dwellers, especially if both doors require keys or pass codes to get in.

Once you’re inside the lobby, check to see if there’s a security desk or guard. If not, are there visible cameras in the lobby or signs alerting people to security systems within the building? These can help deter intruders.

Survey your space

Finally, you need to assess the safety of the apartment itself. Take note of the doors and locks. Wood doors are not as secure as steel doors (some wood doors are hollow, and easy to break through). You should also ask if you can change out the locks, or whether the landlord will be doing them on your behalf upon move-in. It’s an extra precaution to make sure that no one with an old key can gain access to your place.

In general, apartments that are above the first floor are safer than ground-floor or garden-level spaces, because it’s more difficult to gain access to windows and balconies. If you end up with a ground-level apartment, it’s better to have windows with security features that are hard for a potential burglar to access. This might include bars over the windows or glass blocks that let light in, but not peeping toms!

By keeping these tips and tricks in mind, you’ll be well on your way to finding an apartment that not only has all the amenities you’re looking for, but all the right safety features too.

Guest blogger Jen Roth is a content editor for The Allstate Blog, which helps people prepare for the unpredictability of life. Follow The Allstate Blog on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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