Apartment Security Guide: Best Alarm Systems, Door Locks & Safety Devices For Your Home

I’m sure you will agree with us when we say that living in an apartment has it’s own security concerns that are unique to apartment living.

Apartments are often found in higher population areas. Often you will live within close proximity of other tenants and there is often a high volume of foot traffic within the complex.

All of these unique aspects can increase the risk your home has of intrusion and burglary.

So how can you make sure your home is safe and secure?

In this guide, we outline why apartment security is important and the options available for you.

Why It Is important

Many people assume that the only time you need to worry about home security is if you have a house in the suburbs. No so. Home security is as important to apartment owners as it is to other property owners.

So long as you have possessions that are of value, you are just as vulnerable.

The same patterns in burglary also apply. Many break-ins often happen during the day, and many thieves will look for empty apartments that have easy access, plenty of cover, and easy escape routes.

Many assume that apartments already have a home security system as part of the strata agreement. This is often the case, however, you will also want to invest in your own security measures.

Apartment Security Tips & Checklist

Before Moving In

If you are looking to buy a new apartment, then save yourself a lot of time, money and headaches by doing these checks. Even if you already own an apartment, it is always good to double-check these things.

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Research Local Crime Patterns

If you have found an apartment that peaks your interest, check the local crime data in the area. Make sure you know about any troubling patterns in crime before you commit to purchasing or renting the property. Talk to local police and your potential neighbours to get a clear picture of the area. The NSW Bureau Of Crime Statistics Map will give you a clear idea of the crime history of your Sydney suburb.

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Observe General Upkeep

This will give a good indication whether other tenants and strata are concerned with general security. Cracked drywall, broken windows or water stains show a lack of concern for upkeep. If people aren’t concerned with basic maintenance, then they are likely not concerned with security either.

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Check Apartment Entrances

Make sure you check the security for the apartment building itself. Check to see if the outside entry door has any security requirements. Does it require a passcode, key, or buzz-in to access the hallways and apartments? This means residents have more control over who can and can’t enter the complex reducing loitering and break-ins.

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Test Lighting

Potential intruders don’t want to be caught in the act. Poorly lit or dark areas are perfect if a criminal doesn’t want to be seen. When assessing your apartment, check the entrances, walkways, hallways, and elevators, parking areas, stairways, laundry rooms and mail areas to make sure that they have enough light at night. The fewer places where someone can hide, the more secure you will be.

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Note Fire Escapes

Double-check the fire escape. Is it easily entered from the outside? Does it allow people to access your floor without a key? Often a poorly planned fire escape can allow burglars to bypass many of the buildings main security measures.

After Moving In

Already own the apartment? Perfect, here are some security measures you can take to keep you and your possessions safe and secure.

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Buy Additional Locks

For added safety, consider upgrading your locks. A deadbolt is one of the most secure locks on the market. If you don’t have one, it is recommended you get one installed. Other locks including swing locks and chain door locks can add an extra layer of security. Read below for a detailed guide to choosing security locks.

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Get Locks Rekeyed

Whether you choose to get addition locks or not, it is always a good idea to rekey your existing locks and get new keys cut. You don’t know whether there are any spare keys still floating around from the past tenant. By rekeying your locks, you can ensure that no one can easily get into your apartment at a fraction of the cost.

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Replace Damaged Locks

Double check whether the existing locks are working properly. If not, make sure you replace old and damaged locks as soon as possible. Check main entrances and windows.

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Install A Peephole

Does your apartment come with a security intercom system? If not, a peephole will allow you to see who is at your door without you opening it.

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Install A Security System

One of the best deterrents you can install on your property is a quality security system. If a security system is installed, make sure you know how to use it correctly when you move in and regularly check it is working. If you don’t have a security system consider getting one installed. There are plenty of options available, which we have listed below.

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Bolster Sliding Doors

Balcony sliding doors are excellent for sunshine and views, however they are also an excellent entrance for a would-be intruder. It is always important to lock all your doors, however, often balcony doors have inadequate locks and can easily come off their tracks. For optimal security you can include an inside bar lock, or pole on the track. A secondary pin locking system into the door frame will mean that the sliding door cannot easily be moved or removed from it’s tracks.

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Use A Safe

Sometimes even the best security defenses fail. A safe is an great option as a last line of defense to protect your most valuable and irreplaceable possessions. A security safe is perfect for storing important documentation such as birth certificates, jewellery and other valuables, and even cash. Ensure the safe is bolted to the floor, so the burglar can’t pick it up and open it elsewhere.

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Get Insurance

Whether you are the owner of the apartment or just renting, it is a good idea to get insurance in case your possessions are lost, stolen or damaged in a break in. You may think you don’t own much, but consider the cost of replacing all of you belongings in the case of fire, theft or severe weather. If you don’t think you could recover then insurance is a good option to consider.

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Security Window locks

Be sure to examine window locks, especially if you are on the ground or first floor. Believe it or not a high percentage of break-ins are via windows. All windows should be properly checked. Treat all windows as a potential entry point. Check all the locks are working properly and can’t be opened from the outside.

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Invest In Good Blinds

This is particularly important if you live on a lower floor. A good pair of curtains or blinds can stop robbers from looking into your home. If a potential intruder can’t see what possessions you have, it is less likely that they will risk breaking and entering.

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Install External Lighting

Motion sensor lighting is a great deterrent to would-be thieves. An intruder doesn’t want attention brought to their suspicious activity. If you feel that a shared area could benefit from extra lighting, talk to the other tenants and approach strata. At a minimum make sure security lighting is installed near the main entrances to the complex and your apartment. Also consider walkways, hallways, and elevators, parking areas, stairways, laundry rooms and mail areas. Additionally, install security lighting around your home (if you have an outdoor area) to illuminate potential hiding places for burglars.

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Advertise Your Apartment Is Secure

Placing security signs in highly visible places can help deter burglars. These generic signs should be posted in noticeable places such as the entrance to your apartment. Talk to your strata if you want to include these at the front of the complex. Be sure not to include the details of the manufacturer, make or model of the security system. These details can be used to bypass or disable the security system.

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Remove Any Possible Hiding Places

Do you live on the lower levels? Are there any objects or shrubs near the doors or windows of your apartment? If so, these could potentially be used by intruders as cover. If possible, have these removed. If you don’t want to remove them, or strata won’t allow you, then make sure they are kept well trimmed.

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Keep A Record Of All Your Belongings

Whether you own a home, apartment, or rent, it is a great idea to have detailed documentation of all belongings in your home. If your apartment is broken into and your possessions have been stolen, then a detailed list can make replacement easier. It can also help with insurance claims.

Before You Begin Updating Your Security

Before you make any major changes to your security, make sure it complies with local laws and strata arrangements. If you have a tenant living in your apartment you may need to get consent before you begin changing anything. You may have to wait till the current tenant moves out before you can update the security of your apartment.

Updating the security of your apartment can cut the cost of insurance claims, prevent long-term headaches, and increase your confidence knowing your property is protected. However, it is always a good idea to make sure that all security measures are installed property. An incorrectly installed lock can be a massive security risk.

Our locksmiths can come to your apartment complex and assess your security. We can provide expert advice specific to your circumstances. We stock and install a wide range of quality security products. Call us today on (02) 8077 2595 to speak to a local locksmith near you.

Apartment Security Systems Options

Security systems are one of the best deterrents that you can install on your property. It also has the added benefit of increasing the desirability of your property if you choose to rent or sell.

If you don’t have a security system, then consider getting one installed. There are many different security systems available, many which don’t require holes drilled into walls, or taking a long time to install.

So what are the best security systems for apartments?

Everybody has the right to feel safe. Fortunately, there are many options now available for people who live in an apartment. Many different systems allow for a variety of options and flexibility to suit your living conditions.

There are two main types of alarm systems: Wireless and Pre-Wired security systems. Below we list the pros and cons of each.

Wireless Alarm Systems

Wireless systems use individual sensors throughout the apartment which all communicate wirelessly to a central control panel. The control panel can the communicate wireless to the outside world using a mobile ‘uplink’. Essentially, your system will have a mobile phone of its own.

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Advantages

  • Wireless packages are perfect for apartments, particularly if you are limited in how much you can alter any flooring and shared walls.
  • Since they don’t have to be hardwired and have their own batteries, they can be installed in locations that may be difficult for hardwired systems.
  • The system can be expanded wirelessly as needed.
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Disadvantages

  • Wireless sensors will need batteries to operate. The batteries will die if they are not checked.
  • Sensors need to be within a certain distance of a control panel. This can limit where some sensors are placed.
  • Radio frequency signals to and from the wireless sensors can be susceptible to interference.
  • It is possible that the radio frequency signals to and from the control panel can be interfered or tampered with.

Pre-Wired Security System

A hardwired alarm system connects all sensors throughout your apartment to a central control panel with a network of wires. These wires are concealed within the walls and floors of your home. It will then connect to the outside world using your home’s telephone line.

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Advantages

  • A wired system can accommodate a wide area. It is not limited by distance.
  • Less susceptible to radio or electrical interference or tampering.
  • They use a backup battery system during electrical interruptions.
  • More reliable. No need to continuously check sensor batteries.
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Disadvantages

  • Can be time-consuming and more expensive to install.
  • Can be difficult to hide all the wiring when installing a new system in an existing apartment.
  • Once installed, it can be difficult to remove.
If your apartment has already been pre-wired with a security system then installation can be as simple as a phone call and an update of the central control panel and checking of sensors. So long as the wiring itself isn’t damaged, then replacement of a security system is relatively easy.

Security Systems For Apartment Rental

Traditionally, home security systems were hard-wired into the apartment. If you were renting an apartment, it would be incredibly difficult to get a security system installed without getting permission from the landlord and strata, however with wireless systems there are now plenty of options for renters.

Many companies offer monitoring services specifically aimed at renters with wireless security products readily available. These are a lot easier to install and you can take the system with you when you move.

If you don’t want monitoring, you can choose a system that simply alerts when a sensor is triggered. Many systems now allow you to be notified on your phone if a sensor has been triggered. You can also watch your home on your smartphone if you have security cameras installed.

Find The Right Security For Your Apartment

There are many options if you are considering getting a new apartment security system. Many will have benefits and drawbacks depending on your situation and property.

When talking to your security provider, make sure you thoroughly discuss the details of the system and how it works. Is it wireless, or hardwired? Are there any long-term binding contracts associated with installing the system? It is always good to check.

Our locksmiths can come to your apartment and assess what security options are best for you. They will be able to provide professional security advice and recommendations for you specific circumstances. They will be able to answer any questions, and provide the best solution for your budget. You can call one of our security experts today on (02) 8077 2595.

We also recommend you are present during the systems installation. This will enable you to address any further questions or worries you may have.

Apartment Door Security

When updating your apartments security, your front door is your first line of defense. When assessing your door security, there are number of things you should consider including the locks, hinges, strike plates and type of door itself.

Security Door Locks For Apartments

The majority of break-ins involved forced entry, where the lock doesn’t hold and the door is forced open. Here are some types of locks you should consider for your front door.

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Double Cylinder Deadbolt

Double cylinder deadbolts are some of the most secure locks on the market. They are a must for any entrance. Their solid construction and materials mean they will last longer and be able to withstand the toughest of burglars. If you choose to buy one yourself, don’t go with the $5 cheap lock from your local Bunnings. Choose a quality deadbolt, which can start around $40. Make sure a professional properly installs them.

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Swing Lock

A swing lock is a simple lock to install to give you some extra security. This door acts as a backup to your deadbolt and lets you open your apartment door a few inches if you wish to speak with someone on the other side.

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Chain Door Lock

Similar to the swing lock, a chain lock is fixed to the door and doorframe. Be careful when choosing a chain lock, as many cheaper varieties can easily be forced open with a solid kick. Choose a lock that comes with long screws or coach bolts.

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Temporary Door Lock For Apartment / Portable Locks

Temporary Portable locks work alongside your doors primary deadlock. These types of locks can be installed and removed from your apartment door with no drilling required. This is perfect if you are renting and want extra security on your front door.

Hinges

Check where the hinges to your door are located. If your hinges are located on the outside, a burglar could easily destroy them and remove the door. Make sure the hinges are located on the inside for added security.

Strike Plates

A strike plate is a metal plate located on the doorframe. A strike plate strengthens the door frame so the door cannot be easily kicked in. If it is an older apartment, always double-check your strike plates. Replace them if they are old and worn. Use longer screws in order to secure it better.

Install Solid Wood Or Metal Doors

Make sure that the door is of solid wood or metal construction. A flimsy door is easy to kick in, no matter how good your lock is. Even though a stain glass window might look nice, avoid any doors that have glass within reaching distance of the door locks.

Security Screens

For an extra layer of protection install a security door screen. Not only does it help secure your apartment, it also allows you to have your doors open and let some air through without compromising your security.

Install A Peephole

As mentioned, installing a peephole will enable you to check who is on the other side of the door without opening it.

This means you can remain secure in your apartment without relying a door chain or swing lock.

As you can see, if you own an apartment, and are seriously considering updating your apartment security system, you have several options. By taking the initiative and working with the strata body, you can make sure your residence is secure.

Need Help Securing Your Apartment?

Our team of professional locksmiths can help you no matter where you are in Sydney, NSW.

Are mobile locksmith vans are fully equipped with the latest tools and technology to help you secure your apartment.

Call Us Today: (02) 8077 2595
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