Low Cost Ways to Secure Your Apartment Before You Travel

Share Button

For many renters the Thanksgiving holiday is the first time after move-in they will leave their apartments for an extended period of time. AAA predicts that about 48.7 Million Americans will travel this year for Thanksgiving and usually it's the renters who do the traveling to visit relatives with bigger budgets and bigger kitchens.

But the Thanksgiving holiday is followed by the biggest shopping day of the year, and not every shopper visits local businesses for their Christmas loot. Burglaries and thefts from cars and homes increase during the holiday season every year due to a combination of absent homeowners and people who include your belongings as their Christmas wish list.

Security is not about turning your home into a fortress. It also doesn't have to be expensive. It's about making it less attractive for a thief than other nearby homes. If you're planning to travel this week or at any point, here are some precautions you should take to help ensure your apartment still has all of its contents when you return.

1. Close the blinds. This includes windows set into doorways and sliding doors.

2. Lock the back door and use the landlord chain.

3. If you shop online, make sure any packages are delivered to your office, or hold off to make sure they don't arrive until after you do.

4. Ask a neighbor to stop in and turn your lights on at random times. Automatic light timers are great but it's very easy to spot a home where the lights come on at the exact same time every day. Having a human do it adds an element of randomness. In the same vein, turn off any automatic watering systems as watering in the rain is another sure tell that someone's away.

5. Place a dowel or 2 x 4 on the ground inside of the non-opening portion of sliding doors to make them harder for thieves to open. If you have patio furniture, you can pile it up on the outside of the slider - just make sure to remove it when you get back home.

6. Change your smoke detector batteries before you go. Nothing's a more obvious tell of vacant property than the beep of a dying smoke detector. Do not remove the batteries - just swap them out for new ones. You should be doing so regularly anyhow.

7. Don't post on social media that you will be traveling. Post your photos when you get back home.

8. Make sure all valuables are out of sight. This includes not only jewellery and electronics but also prescription medication. Those top shelves of your kitchen cabinets are a great place to put stuff, along with the furnace room and, if you have one, your storage locker.

9. Use your cell phone to make a recording of you opening your front door and walking around the house, with 10-15 minute intervals in between. Put it in your computer or DVD player and have it play on repeat while you're away.

10. Use a laptop with a camera to take regular photos of your front door every 2 minutes. Save the photos to cloud storage such as Dropbox so you can view them from anywhere. Just remember to leave the laptop plugged in, disable any sleep functions, and check the photos daily and delete them to save on space.

Do you have any other suggestions as to how to secure an apartment before you go on vacation? Let us know in the comments. We hope you have a safe, happy and conflict free Thanksgiving!

RentConfident is a Chicago startup that provides renters with the in-depth information they need to choose safe apartments. Help us reach more renters! Like, Share and Retweet us!

Published by

Kay Cleaves

4 thoughts on “Low Cost Ways to Secure Your Apartment Before You Travel”

  1. My brother has a friend come over to stay where he travels for the holidays. He works random hours, and it keeps folks on their toes.

    1. This is a great idea! There's also house-sitting/pet-sitting services that you can hire if no-one from your friend group wants to help out.

    1. Thanks Julia! Some are admittedly pretty far out there but you never know how good or bad someone's neighborhood is.

Comments are closed.