Your apartment is your home – a place where you should feel safe. Unfortunately, in just a few minutes a burglar can take away that sense of security, along with your belongings. The good news is that burglaries were at a record low according to the most recent Crime in Hawaii report, which covers 2015. The bad news is that they still occurred at a rate of 475.7 burglaries per 100,000 residents.
Here are four ways to reduce the risk of burglary without spending a lot of money.
- Secure your sliding glass doors. Many apartments come with sliding glass doors that do little to keep determined burglars out. Even if you’re careful about keeping your sliding door locked, criminals know how to get it open, sometimes just by giving it a good jiggle. Stopping them can be as easy as placing a wood dowel in the bottom track, where the door moves when it opens. Alternatively, you can buy a security bar designed for sliding doors or talk to your landlord about installing a second, more secure lock on your door. You can also consider using an alarm with motion detection around the door – prices range significantly, but some are very inexpensive.
- Keep the right things visible. You want the common areas outside your apartment to be well lit. If an exterior bulb goes out, notify your landlord and makes sure it’s replaced immediately. Looking in, you do not want your expensive belongings to be visible. You may want to show off your flat screen television and new gaming system to your friends, but don’t show these things off to burglars. Use window coverings to deter unwanted attention from a criminal.
- Get to know your neighbors. Despite living in close proximity, apartment dwellers often don’t take the time to get to know their neighbors. This is a lost opportunity. You and your neighbors share an interest in keeping your community safe. By getting to know each other, you’ll increase your chances of recognizing when something isn’t right. You want your neighbors to check in or call for help if there’s a problem, and you should do the same for them. If you don’t know your neighbors, take a moment to introduce yourself and exchange contact information.
- Be smart about vacations. Your apartment is especially vulnerable when you’re away, so don’t broadcast the fact. Avoid posting about upcoming or current vacations on social media – wait until after you get back to post those amazing photos. An overflowing mailbox is another sign that you’re away. Arrange for someone to pick up your mail and collect any fliers from your door. (This is another good reason to get to know your neighbors.)
While you can minimize your risk of burglary, you can never eliminate it. That’s why you need renters insurance. Typically, a renters insurance policy provides coverage for theft, as well as fire and liability claims. Most policies have very affordable monthly premiums, and some landlords even require tenants to buy coverage. Ask your independent agent for more information.