But did you know that there are seven apartment security tips so obvious you’ve probably overlooked them? Learn more below our Video Guide to New York renters insurance.
Do Your Research
There are a ton of sites out there that will allow you to research crime “in your neighborhood.” But here’s the open secret. The vast majority of those sites are narrowing it down by city or by general part of the city. That doesn’t do you much good if you’re interested in your zip code, or if your zip code crosses neighborhood boundaries as they so often do.
So what’s the solution? How can you research apartment security and crime rates without having it narrowed down enough?
Most large cities in America offer open data on their responses to crime. You may have to search a little bit, but it’s out there. For example:
- New York City open data on crime
- Chicago open data on crime
- Note that Chicago’s data includes the last fifteen years of statistics so if you’d like to download and work with the data in Excel, it is a very large CSV file. You’ll want to filter it first.
- Austin open data on crime (YTD in this view)
Most other major cities make the data available as well, and you can sort or filter by zip, or even by street or block. If you’re good with spreadsheets, you can even filter it down to radius from a geographic point in many instances because they include coordinates. This can be helpful when house numbers are not included.
Fire Escapes Present Two Apartment Security Risks
First, you need to be sure that the fire escape will work if you ever need it to. Will you have to jump the last story? That’s never a good thing to find out at the worst possible time. These should be regularly tested by the landlord, of course.
You also need to make sure that the fire escape is not going to allow someone access to your apartment. This can be harder to be sure of, because those people can be creative. Are there dumpsters or other objects that could be used to increase the height of a person so they can grab the bottom of the ladder? Can the fire escape be reached from the ground? These are conditions that the landlord should correct, of course because apartment security is only as good as the weakest entrance. Chances are strong that the weakest entrance is the window you’d use to get to the fire escape if you ever needed it!
Be Safe, Get A Safe
Do you have any important documents? Of course you do. You have a birth certificate, a social security card that you don’t carry around with you, and many other documents that are crucial and yet difficult to replace if lost or stolen. What about prescriptions that someone might want to steal? Do you keep any cash at all on hand in your apartment, other than what might be in your wallet or purse when you’re home?
The obvious solution to those things is a safe. A small safe is not expensive or heavy. It’s actually quite portable and easy to get into your apartment. The unfortunate thing is that makes it easy for a thief to get out of your apartment, as well! There’s an easy solution – bolt down the safe. But living in an apartment, you can’t permanently bolt the safe to the wall or floor. Some people have bolted the safe to a steel plate other object that will fit diagonally through the door, but not come back out when there’s a safe bolted to it. There are other options to secure a safe, as well, but don’t count on just hiding it. Security through obscurity is no security at all. Besides, thieves know where people hide things.
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Know Your Neighbors
You don’t have to be friends with them, but at least be friendly. The advantage to this is first that people will hopefully like you enough that they’ll report anything they see that is outside the norm. They’ll be used to seeing you there and know that you belong, but if someone is taking the time to pry open a door they’re likely to know that something is wrong.
It also means that you’ll know your neighbors well enough to know who doesn’t belong in the building, and that always helps with apartment security. The only way to make that work is to be familiar enough with the usual comings and goings of the apartment building, and that means getting to know your neighbors, at least on a passing basis, and being observant.
Security Systems Can Be Apartment Friendly
You might even get a discount on your Bronx Renters Insurance for having one if it’s professionally installed. The installer should give you a certificate that your insurance company will want to see. Many can be attached through non-destructive means so that you can take it with you when you go.
Just be sure that you let the landlord know – you don’t want maintenance or the super to set off the alarm. Some of these alarm systems can be controlled by an app or a website, others have a keypad or a remote entry fob that you’d click to turn it off or on. Your neighbors may even appreciate that you have the security system, because your decals will suggest that other apartments in the building have one as well, and that thieves should look elsewhere for easy targets!
You Would Be Amazed How Cheap Cameras Can Be!
If you’re technologically inclined, here’s the short version: Get a Raspberry Pi and a camera board. Then run git clone https://github.com/silvanmelchior/RPi_Cam_Web_Interface.git.
If you’re not technologically inclined, it’s still incredibly easy. You can buy a small single-board computer for twenty or thirty dollars. The camera board is another twenty dollars or so. You’ll need to connect the two, add software, and follow some instructions. It can then sense motion and stream the footage to the cloud – so that someone can’t steal the evidence.
It’s a little more complex, but not much. The whole thing should cost you well under $100. Point it at your door, or at a place in the apartment that someone must walk through to get from any entrance to any given room. Then forget about it until something happens, and you have the footage you need.
Buy Renters Insurance
The national average price of renters insurance is just $187.00, according to the III. That works out to as little as fifteen dollars per month. The vast majority of families can budget renters insurance easily at those prices.
Additionally, it's important to note that renters are at a significantly higher risk of experiencing loss than homeowners. Renters occupy roughly one third of total housing stock in the country, and yet they are fully fifty percent more likely to experience theft than homeowners, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
It only costs a few dollars a month to protect your family, and this cheap renters insurance is a great way to mitigate the additional risks that come with being a renter.Renters insurance in The Bronx is sometimes even less expensive than that. For that small amount of money, your personal property will be replaced up to the policy limit should it be stolen or lost in a fire. That’s apartment security for you. In addition, you’ll have coverage just in case you accidentally injure someone else or damage their property. The liability coverage comes with the policy.
Effective Coverage offers the nation's only completely mobile platform to quote and purchase renters insurance right from your phone or tablet in just one minute. Get an online renters insurance quote today and protect your family.Photo Credit: Urbane Apartments Urbane Apts / Lounge Space / Adams CC BY SA 2.0