New apartment how to make it more secure

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Oct 20, 2011
Ok guys so I just moved to a new apartment it is in the next little town over I am in a bunch of identical duplexes. Mine is on the left the front faces the road and the back where we go in has a 2 car garage now I am flanked on both sides by Aparments with a 1 car garage. Now when you go in through the garage you are in the kitchen it is small,and opens into the living room. At the front wall of the living room in the right hand corner is the front door the door has a big glass window in it we put a small throw up to cover that up. Across from the door are the Stairs which lead directly to the bedrooms the bedrooms have a simple lock and the doors are not the best quality here so I ask you What would you do to make this place more secure without being obvious I can't exactly replace the doors?

Thanks for reading
One simple thing that you have going for you is that you said all the duplexes are/[look] identical. That's a good excuse to make yours stand out. Use lighting, front and rear. If you can install cameras, even better.
some simple things you can do....

use a "privacy film" on any large or low windows, they have plenty of frosted and stained glass window films that are pleasing to look at and dont look like anything special.....this will keep people from peeping in and looking for valuables.

plant some thorny bushes under any low windows......this has the same effect as barbed wire, except its more socially acceptable, haha and it doesnt look out of place or odd.

get some motion activated lights for any doorways.....not only is this convenient for when you come home at night......but also can alert you to someone outside and serves as a deterrent to people trying to break in.

hang valuable tools out of sight in your garage.....these are probably the most stolen items, because they are quick to get to and can be flipped pretty easily......either store them out of sight, or lock them in a tool box.

replace your door locks and dead bolts with some quality lock (if you can) use the cheapest locks they can find, buy your own and replacing them should be an easy task.
Thanks for the thoughts guys as for a dog that's a no go sadly but the other ideas are definitely on my list of things to do
If you're renting, there is pretty much nothing you can do on the exterior. Lighting and cameras might be okay with the owner. Check first.

This means the windows and exterior door are what they are. It's also doubtful you'll be allowed to make any extensive interior changes, as well.

Good blinds or drapes that prevent folks from seeing in easily are a start. An interior alarm system with motion detectors and motion activated lights are likely doable.

You might be able to install a solid door on the bedroom. With good locks that will slow down the average idiot. But anyone who knows about interior wall construction will bypass the door, punch through a couple of layers of sheet rock (pretty easy to do with your bare hands) and walk right in. Unless the idiot is built like a fire plug most folks can slide sideways between the studs.

If you don't mind paying for any wall damage you could line the interior of the walls with plywood (you'd have to remove it when you leave and deal with any damage). Even /38" plywood is fairly difficult to break through. And if you use full sheets and nail them to the studs correctly they aren't going to pop off when someone starts banging on them.

Securing a bedroom as a quasi safe room. Should buy you time, and provide somewhat better security for valuables if you aren't home. Remember to keep the things you need in that room. If you have an intruder you can fort up, and call for help. It they do decide to try and come in, you are in command of the terrain & lighting and they have limited points of entry.
Look closely. Figure out how you would break in without worrying at all about how much noise or damage you made.

Get a monitored alarm system for when you are not there.

You can remove one or more screws from the hinges and install longer ones to make it harder to kick in. Hinge screws on pre-hung doors only go into the jamb. if you extend the screw into the structure it is much more secure.

You can add kickplates to your door. Since they are relatively benign, it is quite possible the owner won't have an issue with it.

I am told that on interior doors adding expanding spray foam in the stud cavities next to the door can stiffen up the structure quite a bit. This can often be done with minimal repair work required.

A safe of some sort makes a lot of sense. It won't stop someone completely but it will slow them down. Maybe long enough for the police to respond to your alarm system being triggered.
The very first thing I do in any place I move into is remove the screws on the doors strike place and replace them with 4 inch screws. You are going to be shocked on how short those screws are you will be replacing. The whole cost will probably be $2.
A word of warning. Landlords don’t like it when you change the locks. They want access to make sure you’re not running a meth lab, etc. or doing anything that might cause damage to the property.
Pull one of the screws that hold your hinges and door strike plates to the frame. Then go and buy the longest BRASS screws that will fit those holes, and replace all of them. Brass will bend vice break when the door is struck, and will give you some resilience.
On the ground floor you can make plexi inserts to sit inside your window frames. I made framed plexiglass windows that fit just inside my existing glass windows and screw them in place into four small holes in the window frames each. They are strong enough to stop a rock being thrown through them.
Total cost (for me) was about $75 to get enough correctly sized plexi and make the plywood frames for them and paint them to disappear into the frame. They are very hard to notice unless you are looking for them.
This, plus bright exterior lighting, will normally be enough to keep folks out, and have them looking at other places to rob.
It costs more, but GET A SAFE for your valuables. You can't hide them well enough in your home to beat an experienced thief, but you CAN stop most thieves for a long time with a good safe. Figure $3k to $5k for a REAL safe for your apartment.
Since you can't have a dog (policy? Allergies?) you CAN get a dog recording added to your home that sounds remarkably real and will sound when people knock or ring the doorbell.
Security door brace / bar by Master or any of the quality companies out there. Use when home for extra leverage against the locked door, and if you can put it in place when you leave and exit/enter via a garage door (if possible), then go for it. My parents have an older Master bar and it's stout, but they've since changed their design and I'm not sure how much more rigid they are.
Renter's insurance for things that get stolen.
Gun for when you are home and they break in.

There are a variety or temporary door and window locks that can be used and not permanently alter the property
A word of warning. Landlords don’t like it when you change the locks. They want access to make sure you’re not running a meth lab, etc. or doing anything that might cause damage to the property.
If you have landlords entering without your permission or without you present you don't want to live there anyway. A landlord can not like something if that suits him. Theres other places to spend rent money.
A word of warning. Landlords don’t like it when you change the locks. They want access to make sure you’re not running a meth lab, etc. or doing anything that might cause damage to the property.
Some areas require that you provide keys for emergency access to the landlord. In other cases it's written into the rental agreement. If you fail to provide them and they need to enter, for say a water leak, you will end up paying for any damage done to make entry.

Before anyone goes ballistic and gets all territorial, there are limits on when a landlord can enter without your presence or permission. Smart ones know the rules and follow them. Stupid ones end up in court and sometimes even jail. Ask your neighbors if they've had a problem or suspected the landlord entered illegally. Just making them aware that you know the score will keep them on the up and up unless they have an IQ in the single digits.
Solar powered motion lights can be had for $50 or so and provide decent security, assuming they can get enough light. No wiring required and they work fairly well. Just put them up high enough that a thief can;t reach them easily and steal them. You can also install motion sensors on normal outside lights. Lights are your friend.
Replace the door screws as has been mentioned and there are many options for reinforcing exterior doors against a break in, especially while at home. If you don't normally use the front door then use a "club" type device to help make it harder to kick in.
Not much you can do with the flimsy interior doors so don't sweat it too much. If you make sure they can't break in quietly then you shouldn't have to worry about them sneaking up on you in your sleep.
Burglars want easy targets in general. Anything you use to make it difficult for them to see inside your apartment will help since they tend to weigh risk vs reward. Smash and grab guys will just break a window if possible and be gone in 2-3 minutes while you are not at home and often in broad daylight. Even $50 game cameras can be a deterrent.
Don't let strange people into your home. e.g. Don't hire a cleaning company, don't open doors for strangers, don't peddle stuff from your house.

Make it look like people are home at all times.

Get an alarm system for when you are out. There are a number of companies that don't have annual contracts that are easy to install yourself, like Simplisafe.
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