Security is a concern that touches everyone no matter where they choose to live, but those living in an apartment have concerns that differ distinctly from people residing in single-family homes or condos. In an apartment, you are surrounded by other tenants and share common spaces, including a lobby, entertainment rooms, and garage. Because of these shared spaces, there is more foot traffic — and more reasons to be cautious. Apartment dwellers also face unique limitations. For instance, you may not have the option of adding a furry friend to your lease agreement — which can be a major deterrent for burglars and serve as an informal alarm system. How can apartment-dwellers ensure their safety and that of their neighbors? Here are a handful of safety tips to improve your security and peace of mind.

1. Join the Apartment Community

For better or worse, you're surrounded by other tenants when you live in an apartment. Get to know the people next door, especially if you share the same walls, foyer, or floor. This could help you in two ways: you'll be more familiar with your neighbors and their visitors, and your neighbors can help keep an eye on your apartment. You could also consider setting up an apartment watch group with all of your immediate neighbors. This way, everyone can coordinate efforts to keep each other safe.

2. Set Up a Security System

Depending on your lease or building rules, you may not have the rights to install intricate alarm systems. However, this doesn't mean you can't take precautions with wireless cameras or other security tools. Many of today’s security features require minimal installation but still offer the same level of protection. For instance, a wireless security system paired with a smartphone app could help you watch your property wherever you are. Using smart sensors or smart locks could also add an extra layer of home security — and both of these options can be conveniently monitored on your smartphone. The benefits extend into the financial realm as well: Installing and using a good security system could save you money on your renter's insurance policy.

3. Be Careful Who You Let In

The high volume of foot traffic in an apartment building affords burglars extra opportunities to enter your home, because there’s a chance they can masquerade as a worker or delivery person to gain easy access to apartment units. If your building has a security guard or front desk receptionist, inform them of any visitors you may be expecting. This decreases the chances of any strangers casually making their way to your front door. Be cautious of builders, contractors, or utility workers you've hired until you’ve seen their credentials or spoken with their company to verify their identities.

4. Upgrade Your Locks

If you are moving into a new apartment, consider changing the locks (if your lease or building rules allow it). This adds an extra level of protection, especially if any prior residents still have keys to your place. If you have lived in your apartment for quite some time, consider upgrading your existing locks to something more secure, or even a smart lock. Alarmingly, a vast majority of apartment and home break-ins happen because of unsecured doors and windows. Always lock your doors, whether you're home or not, and leave an extra key with someone you trust in case you are ever locked out or need someone to check on your place. Keep your windows locked and secured, especially if they're large enough to climb through or if you live on the ground floor.

5. Don't Give Burglars an Opportunity

Most burglars look for easy prey when they're targeting a residence. They’re attracted to regular routines and long absences, which allow them to get in and out as quickly as possible without causing a disturbance. To prevent your apartment from being an easy mark, don't advertise your comings and goings — even online. Close your blinds and windows when you're not home, and set up timers for automatic lights to turn on at certain hours. If you plan on being out of town, remember to put a hold on your mail — a buildup of mail outside your door or in your mailbox is a clear sign to burglars that you’re not home.

6. Protect Your Valuables

If someone happens to break into your home, you can limit access to your most prized possessions by investing in a burglary safe. A burglary safe offers you a secure place to keep spare cash, jewelry, credit cards, or other valuables that burglars might want to steal. Most burglars won't want to waste time trying to break into a safe when they don’t have minutes to spare. Additionally, you could take measures to prevent a burglar’s impact if they happen to gain access to your apartment. Plant a fake stash of cash, hide your valuables, and keep your safe hidden (or even bolted to the floor) for added security. Feeling secure in your apartment is all about being cautious and implementing simple security measures. Investing in a home safe is one of those precautions, and it could help keep your valuables out of a thief's hands. Talk to our safe experts at Western Safe today about the best type of home safe for your apartment.