7 Tips to Secure Your Apartment for Under $30

Most apartments are notoriously not secure.

Some buildings have great security to keep non-residents from getting into the building at all. But even in those cases, your actual apartment may get completely overlooked.  And most apartments don’t have that kind of security at all.  So what can you do to make sure you have a secure apartment?

The easiest way to keep intruders out is to make them believe that the risk of breaking into your apartment is greater than the potential reward.  If they think there’s a good chance they’ll get caught, they’ll probably move on to somewhere else.

Here are some great tips for beefing up the security in your apartment and keeping would-be intruders out.  The best part is, each of these tips will cost you less than $20!

Window Locks

Cost: Under $10

Time to Install: 1-15 minutes

In a lot of apartments, the windows are some of the most vulnerable entry points.  If your apartment has a fire escape or is on the ground level, access to your apartment through a window may be easier than you think.  In these cases, you may not even be able to put bars on your windows because they are considered a potential escape route in the case of a fire.

But windows have locks on them, right?  So why worry?

Unless the windows in your apartment are pretty new, chances are that they can be unlocked or even broken from the outside with a careful jiggle of the window.  That’s why I recommend adding another lock to your windows.

There are a ton of different types.  Check out some of these options.

The Window Wedge – This one is like a wedge doorstop that just slides into the window track and holds your window shut.

Sliding Window Lock – This one works for sliding windows.  It clamps into place in the track and keeps the window from opening.  From the inside, it’s easy to remove.  So your window is still easily usable when you want to open it.

Burglabar – This one actually sticks to the glass on your window.  It’s basically a little hinge that falls into place when you close your window automatically locking it.  It’s an interesting idea, for sure, but doesn’t seem as strong as the Sliding Window Lock.

There are numerous other window locks you can buy.  Some even require a key to unlock.  I like having a lock that I can easily remove from the inside so that if I need to use the window to get out, I can in a matter of seconds.

Window Alarms

Cost: About $20 for a pack of 4

Time to Install: 5 minutes

If you don’t think the window locks are right for you, or if you’re concerned that they won’t do the trick, you might consider getting a window alarm.

These work just like the door and window alarms that you get from the security company, except that you don’t have to pay for monitoring, and the siren is built right into the sensor.  One of the four sensors that comes in the kit also has the keypad to arm or disarm the system.  So when you’re home during the day and want to open your door or windows, just disarm the system and you’re free to open your windows.

These are really easy to use and install.  All you need to do is attach one side to your window (or door) and the other side to the frame and when your door or window opens, the siren goes off.

No, this won’t call the police.  But it will alert you and everyone around that someone has opened your window.  And more importantly, it’s likely to scare off the intruder who won’t want to risk getting caught.  Check out current pricing here.

Glass Break Alarms

Cost: About $12 (or buy 4 for about $25)

Time to Install: 2 minutes

So what if an intruder decides to just break your window?

There are options to keep them out still, like bars on the window, or shatterproof film that makes it really hard to break the glass in your windows.  I generally advocate for that, and if you’re interested in that film, check out this stuff.

The only problem with these is that in an apartment complex, you don’t always have the flexibility to make these kinds of semi-permanent changes.  If your management allows it, then I highly recommend the film.  But if not, we can always go the alarm route.

I really like the Doberman vibration alarm.  This ultra-slim alarm sticks right to your window and will detect vibrations.  If someone tries to break your window, or even open it while the alarm is set, it will let you and your neighbors know.  But when you want to open your window, just flip the switch to off.  You can see current pricing on Amazon here.

Door Barricade

Cost: About $30

Time to Install: 1 minute

No matter what type of apartment you live in, you’re going to have a door, and that door is usually the most likely entry point for an intruder.

Usually, we think our doors are pretty secure because you can lock them.  When they’re locked you can’t turn the door knob so nobody’s getting through, right?  Wrong!

If you don’t have a deadbolt lock, your door will be extremely easy to break through.  But even with a deadbolt, an intruder can pretty easily use a bump key and unlock it, or just kick it in.  That’s why I really like door barricades.  A door barricade is a device that physically holds the door closed.  The best ones are actually bolted down, but this one is pretty inexpensive and doesn’t require any bolting, which is perfect for an apartment where you’re not allowed to drill holes in the floor.

You can get current pricing here.

For more great tips on securing your front door, check out this article all about it.

Door Stop Alarm

Cost: About $7

Time to Install: 1 minute

If you don’t want to go the barricade route, or even if you just don’t want to use the barricade during the day when you’re going in and out, you might consider a door stop alarm.

The way this works is it sits on the floor and if the door opens, it pushes down a lever that sets off the alarm.  These alarms will have the same effect as the window alarms I mentioned before.  They’ll alert you that someone managed to get through your door.  And more often than not, they’ll scare off the intruder.  Get it on Amazon here.

Dummy Security Camera

Cost: Under $8

Time to Install: 15 minutes

One great way to keep intruders out is to make them think that your apartment is high-risk to break into.  They’ll see it as high-risk if they think they might get caught.  Making them think you have a security system or security camera will usually do the trick.

This dummy security camera looks incredibly real and will catch the attention of would-be intruders.  It has a blinking LED light to indicate that it’s “on” and the battery lasts for months.

A dummy security camera obviously won’t do everything that a real one will, but it can have the same effect.  Check out current pricing here.

Home Security Stickers

Cost: $8 for a whole pack

Time to Install: 1 minute

Like the dummy security camera, placing security system stickers on your door or windows is likely to convince intruders that your apartment isn’t the right one to break into.

If you installed a dummy security camera somewhere up high outside your apartment door and/or windows, then you’ve already gone a long way toward making your apartment seem high-risk for them.  But adding some stickers or decals like these will really seal the deal.

I like these ones you can get on Amazon because they go really well with the fake security camera.  People who might not notice the camera are likely to notice the red sticker on your door, and then look up to see the camera.

If you decide not to go the camera route, these ones on Amazon are also a great option for making people think you have a security system, even if you don’t.

Ricky Kesler

Ricky Kesler has been an avid DIYer for years. Recently he's really taken to home security, but he has a lot of experience with all sorts of projects from Plumbing to Electrical and Framing to Tiling.

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