When it comes to home defense, renters, and especially those who live in an apartment, face difficulties homeowners may not need to consider.
Those who live on the ground floor of an apartment building may want to bolster the security of windows and doors to make themselves less vulnerable to burglary.
You have many to choose from:
The web is full of the latest and greatest when it comes to home security systems. We won’t go into too much detail here because of all the options. But, what matters most is choosing which, if any, fits you and your family’s lifestyle and financial needs.
A large portion of these home security systems requires you to pay a monthly or yearly fee to get the most out of them. Many have a downloadable app that allows you to control and be notified by your security system from your smartphone for added convenience.
If you have cameras mounted, you can see from your smartphone who is at your front door. Some allow you to even speak with them through the intercom. You can do this whether you are at home or shopping at the grocery store. The app will send you an alert anytime someone rings your doorbell.
Security systems can range in price anywhere from very cheap to thousands of dollars. Doing your research and weeding out those which won’t work for you will take a little effort, but it may be worth it in the long run.
While this is in no way a list of every security system provider, here are a few of the most common examples of how they work:
DIY Security Alarms
There are a large number of noisy alarms for sale with varying degrees of effectiveness. These alarms work by placing two pieces of the alarm next to each other on a door or window frame. When armed, they will sound when moved apart, such as when opening a window or door.
While the noise may deter an intruder, the primary purpose should be to notify the home occupants that someone is not where they are supposed to be. It would be best if you weren’t startled awake in the middle of the night to discover an intruder already in your bedroom.
Alarms can cost around $10 for a four-pack, or up to $20 per sensor, depending on the brand. Be aware that the cheaper the option you chose, the more rudimentary it will be.
A door or window sensor from a security system provider with a smartphone app goes one step further to let you know exactly which window or door is open. This feature can help you to locate where the potential threat is more quickly.
One of the most common problems with these types of alarms is keeping them armed. If you forget to turn it off while leaving for work early in the morning, you run the risk of waking everyone in the house or apartment building. Then, even when you turn them off, you must remember to turn them back on.
One of the biggest draws for this type of security is the ease and speed of installation. Most come with a simple adhesive backing to stick the devices to the window or door frame. Just peel off the backing, stick them in place, turn them on, and you're ready to go.
You can also purchase and set up DIY security cameras. Wireless IP cameras can be easy to install and don’t include monthly monitoring subscriptions.
ADT Security Systems
ADT is a subscription security provider that sends a tech out to your home to install all of the widgets for your security system. A basic package from ADT starts at $28 per month but only includes the security system screen, motion sensor, and window/ door sensors.
While this may not seem like very much, what you are paying for is their customer service and promise they will contact the police or fire department if there is a problem. ADT also has a smartphone app, but it’s only free for monitoring packages over $40 per month and contracts of 24/36 months. There is an additional installation fee, so be prepared for that charge.
Nest Smart Security Systems
Nest combines home automation with security. Basic packages with a video camera doorbell and door/window sensors start at under $550, depending on the retailer.
With all upgrades, this security system can run up to $1400. However, it includes indoor, outdoor cameras and a doorbell camera. You must either install Nest yourself or pay someone to do it for you.
If you have the technical know-how to install the system correctly, this could save you some money. If not, it will be worth it to pay for professional installation. If you don't know what you're doing, you may compromise the system's effectiveness with an improper install.
Ring Doorbell and Security Systems
Ring started as a smart doorbell company and has grown to include complete security systems similar to Nest's. The idea behind Ring is to put a camera on your doorbell. The doorbell cam allows you to see who is on your doorstep, similar to a peephole. It also acts as an intercom to talk with visitors while safely behind your locked door.
Another benefit to this type of system is how it can deter potential burglars. A common burglar tactic involves posing as someone who is stranded or asking a question to see if anyone is home.
When they ring the doorbell, Ring will send a notification to your smartphone, even if you are away from home. When you talk to the person who rang the doorbell through the app, you give the impression that you’re home, encouraging them to find a softer target.
Ring is subscription-based, so after the initial purchase of the video doorbell itself, you pay an additional fee to continue using the services. The plans range from $3-10 per month.
The doorbells themselves are installed by the customer and can either be hard-wired into the home or powered by a rechargeable battery in the camera. They run between $100-500, depending on the model that works best for you.