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Apartment Alarm System: Are Your Valuables Safe?

Apartment ComplexRegardless of whether you own or rent your home, having a functioning alarm system is something everyone can benefit from. Below we will take a look at why it is important for an apartment renter to have an apartment alarm system, as well as look at the features that they should consider when choosing an alarm for their needs.

The Lack of Apartment Alarm Systems

Home security systems are often promoted to homeowners but very seldom are they promoted for renters. Historically, one of the biggest reasons that apartment livers have not been a target for home alarm marketing campaigns is because they often are not planning on staying in their apartment for a considerable period of time. Why buy an alarm system to protect something that a) is not yours and b) you’re not going to be living in for any period of time? Both of these issues are poor excuses for not protecting personal property. Plus in today’s world, let’s face it – mortgages are much harder to get then they once were and people move a lot more often so renting is becoming a lot more common place than it once was. So, no matter whether you own the home or not, don’t you want to protect your valuables?

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But It’s Not My House

It is comical when people who rent apartments give the excuse that “it’s not my house” as the reason why they are not installing an alarm system. While the actual structure of the home is not theirs, the truth is that everything within the structure is theirs. If a burglar targets their apartment, certainly they won’t have to replace broken doors or windows; but what about all of those personal belongings within the home? The best way to avoid the theft of personal belongings is to protect a rented apartment with a home alarm system.

But I’m Not Staying Here Forever

This is another common excuse given by apartment owners who do not want to invest in a home alarm system. It may be true that they don’t plan on renting their apartment forever; however, isn’t it prudent to protect the apartment while they are living there? Burglars don’t care how long someone has been living in their apartment when they break in. All these criminals care about is getting the most bounty they can for their effort. The best way to prevent burglars from targeting your home, whether you have lived there for a week or a decade, is to install and actively use a home alarm system.

Other Common Excuses for Not Having Apartment Alarm Systems

In addition to the two excuses given above, there are a number of other excuses that apartment renters give for not having home alarm systems installed:

I Don’t Want to Lose My Deposit

Many apartment renters falsely believe that in order to have a functioning home alarm system, wires have to run behind the walls and equipment has to be screwed in to beams. This is simply not true in the modern age. These days a good majority of home alarm systems are wireless security systems that can be quickly mounted without compromising the structure of the home. Read more about the best wireless home alarm companies in our article on home security systems reviews.

I Live in a Safe Neighborhood Or My Neighbors Will Look out For Me

Living in a safe neighborhood and having good neighbors will only go so far for a homeowner or a renter. Most commonly people who live in safe neighborhoods have higher income than those who live in less safe neighborhoods and this means that they have more valuable belongings for burglars to target. Think your neighbors will look out for you? What if your neighbors are at work when the burglar strikes? What if the burglar is your neighbor? You can never truly know what will drive a person to steal.

I’m Not Worried About Burglars

This excuse is most often given by male renters who believe that if their home gets broken in to that they could take on the burglar and detain them until police arrive. There are a number of faults in this theory. Firstly, no matter how big or strong you are there is always someone bigger or stronger or someone who has a weapon on their side. Additionally, while you may be able to overcome a burglar, most burglars choose to target homes that are empty which means that they will watch for you to leave before breaking in to your home. You cannot overcome any burglar if you aren’t there when he enters your home.

My Apartment Won’t Catch on Fire or Be Subjected to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Also, and perhaps one of the most important points to note is that apartment alarm systems do not only monitor for burglary. Alarm systems can monitor for break ins, fire, heat, frost, carbon monoxide poisoning and motion. While you may not be concerned about the potential for burglars, you are likely concerned about a fire. Having a functioning home alarm system can protect against a fire trapping you in your home while you sleep or consuming your home, your belongings and perhaps even your pets while you are away from home. Not worried about fire and smoke because your apartment already has a fire alarm built in to their building? What about carbon monoxide exposure, overheating in your home during the summer months and freezing during the winter months? All of these can be protected against by investing in an apartment alarm system.

Where to Begin Buying Your Apartment Alarm System

Talk to Your Apartment Management

One of the first steps you should take when considering purchasing an alarm system for your apartment is to talk with your apartment management company. You should make sure before installation that they are aware of your intentions and approve of them. in 99.9% of cases, the rental company will welcome this addition as it will keep their property and renter safer without any cost or impact on them or their dwelling. It is also important that they be aware that you have an apartment alarm in mind since the maintenance staff may require entry to your home at one time or another. With the appropriate notice you will be able to disable the alarm, ensure you are home or set up a special key code for your system so that the maintenance staff can do their job without interruption.

Research Alarm Companies

If your apartment management company is unable to recommend an alarm company (or even if they do) you should research other alarm companies as well. Ask friends who have alarm systems to get recommendations from them, research the reputations of the companies you are looking into and find out what type of alarm systems your neighbors use. Don’t hesitate to ask for free evaluations of your apartment once you narrow down alarm companies that interest you. Most large home alarm companies will offer free evaluations in which they can provide an estimated cost for your system and tell you what elements you should consider for your home.

What You Should Look For In Your Home Alarm System

Depending on which home alarm company you go with, there are a number of options available for securing your apartment. Ultimately it is up to you when it comes to the elements you choose to use in your home but below we will take a look at some of the most commonly utilized elements.

Wireless Alarm Systems

Wireless alarm systems are a must for apartment owners. A wireless system means that homeowners don’t have to drill holes in the walls of the home which would affect the return of a security deposit. Additionally, choosing a wireless alarm system means that even if you move from your apartment you can take your home alarm system with you.

Door and Window Sensors

Door and window sensors are always recommended for any home security system so that you can secure all points of entry. These small devices are relatively affordable and can be fitted on every point of entry in the home. These devices trigger the main security system panel whenever doors or windows in the home are opened. Some alarm systems also have a chime function which will sound anytime a door or window is opened, these are useful for homes with small children or for the sight impaired.

Glass Break Sensors

Glass break sensors are another good option for apartment owners, particularly those who live on the bottom floor of a building. These sensors trigger the home alarm to sound whenever they sense major vibration on the glass of the home. These are not a necessary feature for apartment homes that are located on higher floors and do not have glass on accessible entry points to the home.

Home Automation

Home automation allows you to control your lights, thermostat and perhaps even door locks via your alarm system control panel. In fact, most wireless security companies today have interactive monitoring which allows you to control your system, including security and home automation features, with your smartphone or via the company’s website. With so many people living side-by-side in separate units of the same building, everyone is sure to know each other’s schedule but why not confuse them and potential burglars by turning lights off and on to indicate you or someone is inside your home. Home automation allows you to control this easily and adjusting lights, especially in the evening, will reduce your changes of burglary since few intruders will enter when they think you might be home.

Smoke Alarms / Heat Detectors

While most apartment complexes these days have smoke alarms and or heat detectors installed, the additional expense of these added features to a home alarm system is minimal. Smoke alarms and heat detectors will protect your home against a fire in your building regardless of who started the fire. Unfortunately due to the fact that apartments are in such close proximity to each other, once a fire is started it can quickly spread and affect many homes. In apartment life, it is always better to be safe and install numerous heat alarms and smoke alarms.

Surveillance Cameras

A feature that many home alarm systems use is surveillance cameras. These cameras allow for home owners to monitor comings and goings in their home. With these cameras installed, many alarm systems allow users to access live footage of their apartment and monitor their home even when they are not home. And since most apartments tend to have only one door entrance, you can likely get away with installing just one security camera.

The Benefits of Going Wireless

The wireless alarm system has really made a difference in the ability of apartment owners to secure their homes. Where at one time installing an alarm system in an apartment would have been difficult and costly due to the need for hardwiring, this is no longer the case. The majority of home alarm companies now offer at least one wireless home security solution that can either be self installed or installed by the security company for a minimal cost. And the good news is that wireless, do-it-yourself installation often reduces the setup cost for a new alarm significantly. And, you will often save on renter’s insurance when you mention you have installed a security system so be sure to mention this addition.

Facts: Apartment Living and Home Alarm Systems

  • Renters are just as likely to be the victims of property crime as homeowners.
  • Homes without security systems are up to 300% more likely to be broken into.
  • Homes that have easy access, large amounts of cover, and the best escape routes are most likely to be targeted, this includes apartments.
  • Doors that lead to common hallways that are left unlocked allow criminals easy and more hidden access to homes.
  • Door locks to apartments are not always changed which allows previous tenants access to your home.
  • Homes with alarm systems that have audible warnings are less likely to be broken in to.
  • Homes that appeared lived in due to lights turning off and on are less enticing for burglars.


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About David DeMille
David comes to with several years of experience in the security industry. He's installed, troubleshooted, and reviewed security equipment and technology, and is passionate about sharing his research.
  • Amy Sharber

    I am in need of video surveillance to protect myself from my ex until I can get him to leave the area. Legally, he isn’t supposed to be here anyway but this will be the proof I need to make it happen and catch anything else I can use as well. I am sick because he took my babies away from me for no good reason. He was cheating and using drugs and to get away with it all he lied and made accusations that removed my babies from me for a little, and I want them back, and this is what I need in order to do so.

    • Sorry to hear about your situation Amy. Have you found video surveillance you like? If not, what specifics are you looking for? We’d be happy to help.

  • Chris

    I have lived in apartments for the past 8 years, more personal valuables have been stolen than you can believe. So about 1 months ago I was researching for a company I can use because I was fed up with all the incidents. I went through quite a few companies telling me they can't secure my home because I didn't own. Although the company I'm using now (Protect America) set me up with an alarm and monitoring, it doesn't matter if you rent or own, they just care about peoples' protection. Also it doesn't matter if you move as frequent as every month or as seldom as every few years. Plus apartment complexes don't mind because the equipment is wireless (so no cutting or drilling is involved). Protect America has all kinds of security equipment from alarms, sensors, cameras, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, etc. They are also rated number 2 in the USA for monitoring, and the cheapest I found with months of research. Their Packages start as low as $19.99/mo and they don't have any activation, startup, or equipment fees like other companies.

  • Hi, Your "Apartment Alarm System" article is a subject close to my heart, and thank you for the excellent content.  I live in Atlanta and have been in the apartment business for 28 years.  

    Thank you, Jim

  • John

    I live in an apartment and have rented my entire life. Now in my 30's as I get older and posses more and more valuables it's good to consider investing in a home alarm system. I have renters insurance but didn't think to get an alarm system until recently. I've had several packages disappear from my doorstep. I've also had a bike (that was locked up) and a bunch of other personal belongings stolen from my porch. A security camera is not only going to help me identity and catch the thefts, I could potentially scare them off to know that they're being watched. 

    • Nick

      I too had packages stolen from my front porch, in fact it became a recurring situation. I rent my house so I was weary at the time of investing too much with home alarm companies. Instead I purchased a 'fake' security camera and put it right out front so anyone who came on my porch would see it. Fortunately, it actually stopped package theives! After I researched more about home security I realized that there are great opportunities to get working cameras intergrated into a monitored alarm system, so now I'm happy to say that the camera on the front porch is no longer fake.