After you’ve moved into your first apartment, aside from furnishing your new pad, one of the most important things you should think about is how to secure your personal belongings. And I’m not just talking about locking your doors and windows before you leave.
According to the FBI, a burglary occurs approximately every 15 seconds in the U.S. but only 13 percent of reported burglaries are ever solved. And while neighborhood security is one of the key factors you probably considered when choosing your apartment, it’s always a good idea to take extra precautions.
But you don’t need to purchase expensive home security systems to protect your apartment from theft, here are five DIY home security tips to protect your belongings and reduce the risk of a home burglary.
On average, a burglary results in a loss of about $1,600 and while this sounds like a lot of money, the theft of a laptop and a television could easily make your losses much more than the average. Consider purchasing a cable lock for your laptop and television and locking it to a heavy immovable object such as your desk or wall mount (in the case of your television). Protect your stereo equipment and video game consoles by keeping them in locked cabinets and always store your iPod, GPS equipment and other small electronics locked in a desk or drawer.
Befriending your neighbors not only expands your social network, it may also help you protect your apartment from a burglar. If you plan on going on a vacation for more than a couple of days, remember to keep your neighbor informed of your plans so that they can keep a look out for any unusual people lingering around your apartment. Consider leaving a spare key with a trusted neighbor so you don’t need to leave a spare key anywhere outside of your apartment.
While it can be tempting to leave your door unlocked while you run down to the laundry room for a few minutes, it is still enough time for someone to run to go into your apartment and steal a couple of high-value items. And if you plan on leaving for more than a short period of time, make sure you also lock all your windows.
Even if your apartment already comes with a set of locks, you should always make sure the locks are sturdy enough to prevent an easy break-in. In addition to having a heavy duty deadbolt lock, you should also make sure your doorknobs and locks are secure and fit tightly. And if you live below the second floor, you should also make sure all accessible windows are secured with extra locks and make sure your windows cannot be opened from the outside.
Renters insurance is not only inexpensive; it can protect your personal belongings against theft in your apartment and may also cover theft that occurs away from your home as well as stolen checks and credit cards. Although you may not think you have enough to make insurance worth your money, think about the number of electronics you have in your apartment and other valuable items that you may own. Purchasing renters insurance is also a great excuse to take inventory of everything in your apartment which will help you keep track of your belongings.