Better Renter Security: 3 Tools to Help Stay Alert
Security Strategies For Renters:
Renters and apartment residents face unique challenges when it comes to home defense. Living in such proximity to neighbors makes home defense challenging in ways those who live in single-family homes may not need to consider.
Home defense, apartment or otherwise, will be more successful if a problem is recognized before it becomes an emergency.
Situational awareness extends from the immediate surroundings of your home to include the street, neighborhood, and city in which you live.
Stay informed of things going on around your community, and make sure to relay the information to your family. Communication will help reduce the likelihood of you becoming a criminal's target.
Knowing there has been a rash of burglaries in your area, for example, may provide a reminder to check all the locks on your windows or to finish that other home defense project.
Situational awareness is not something you put on like your gun when you leave the house. It's a constant dedication to paying attention to your environment both in the home and out.
Ask Yourself These Questions:
Some questions you might want to ask yourself about where you live now or maybe wanting to move:
- How many and where are the schools near you if you have kids?
- Where are the hospitals, police stations, and fire departments located?
- What is the crime rate in your area?
- What types of crimes are criminals committing?
There are, of course, a variety of apps and websites to help you determine the pros and cons of any chosen location. Entering a zipcode or address provides an interactive map with the numbers and details of each of your primary concerns.
CrimeReports website has an interactive map that you can play with to see what crimes are occurring in the area around you. From here, you can see your local police department’s list of incidents and view graphs of data trends over the last 15 days.
This may or may not work for your area, depending on if the PD serving your neighborhood is sharing data with CrimeReports. If they aren’t sharing information with the website, this is not likely to be the best option for you. But if they are, it can be a valuable tool for better understanding your community.
Areavibes is an excellent website that gives any zip code you enter a letter grade for an overall livability score. You can then use this score to compare it to any other location of your choosing.
Areavibes also gives an overall national ranking, so you can quickly see how your home compares to other cities in the US.
The website bases its score on the following criteria:
- Cost of living
- And, even weather.
Areavibes also has a comprehensive list of schools and locations, searchable according to grade level (high school, elementary, etc.) and school type, colleges, demographics, and just about everything else you might want to know.
The Nextdoor app is a way to stay connected to your community. It allows the neighbors who join to form posting boards to talk about issues or offer services such as dog walking or snow shoveling.
This structure is the equivalent of community boards they post at Rec Centers. Lost dog and found kitty ads are, of course, a big topic, but for information about your immediate area, it's hard to beat.
You can add as much or as little information about yourself as you like. If you enjoy playing pickup basketball, this app may help you find someone in your area who does as well.
One of the most beneficial parts of the app is the ability of neighbors to warn one another of crimes in the area. If you happen to have video footage of that guy who stole a package off your step last week, you can upload the picture to the app to help identify the suspect for police. It helps add to that feeling of neighbors looking out for each other in a neighborhood watch-type capacity.
The app is fantastic for staying alert to what is going on around you and gives you a chance to give back to the community in any way you might like.
Post to the forums about shoveling the walks of any elderly who need help. Or help plan the July 4th block party.
Don't Forget This Simple Step:
Foster that community spirit in your neighborhood to make it a more enjoyable place to live. Being a good neighbor makes people want to return the favor, and they will be more likely to look out for your interests while you’re away.
Your first layer of home security is your relationship with your neighbors. Get to know those who live around you and look for opportunities to serve and build relationships.
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