If you’re planning a vacation, your mind is probably on the destination rather than the apartment you’re leaving. It’s important to take some time to shift your attention away from your travels and onto home security before you hit the road, skies or rails — it could save you a headache when you return. Even if you don’t think anyone would break into your apartment, there is always a risk of intrusion wherever you call home. Planning for a potential break-in at an apartment is different than at a house, so here are our tips on how to keep your apartment safe to ensure that your belongings are safe and sound when you leave town.

Hold the Mail

If you receive a large amount of mail at your doorstep that doesn’t move for several days, you’re sending the message that you’re not home. Luckily, it’s easy to avoid any unwanted attention from passersby. You can inform the postal service that you will be going out of town for an extended period and that you want them to hold your mail. If going to the post office is too far out of the way, ask a neighbor to gather your packages and envelopes while you’re out. You might owe them a favor, but it’s better than owing yourself a new set of valuables because somebody broke into your apartment.

Talk to Your Neighbors

It’s always good to have people you can trust a few steps away from your apartment. If anything seems amiss, your neighbors can alert the police or give you a call. One of the benefits of living in an apartment is that you can easily make friends with people who live nearby — it just takes a friendly hello to start a conversation. Talk to your neighbors about what’s going on in the area before you leave, because if there has been a string of local crime it’s important to stay extra vigilant. An extra set of eyes and ears are a great resource to fight crime. As an added bonus, knowing your neighbors on a first name basis makes daily life more enjoyable in general.

Lock All Doors and Windows

It goes without saying that you should lock your doors before you leave for a vacation, but remember to lock your windows as well. This precaution is especially important if you live on the first floor of your building — anyone walking by on the sidewalk can easily open an unlocked window. If you live on an upper floor, an intruder may use a fire escape to enter your unit. Sliding glass doors present an especially difficult security challenge, but you can buy jimmy plates that prevent anyone from slipping the glass off its tracks. Many thieves like to do some “window shopping” when they’re deciding which apartment to rob, so keep valuables out of sight from the outdoors.

Get a System in Place

You might think that security systems are only for homeowners, but apartment dwellers can use the same technology to prevent a break in. Apartment motion sensors and cameras can detect an intruder just like they would at a single-family home. What’s more, many of these systems mount to walls without the need to drill — a feature that could save you money on your security deposit. The majority of security systems connect to Wi-Fi, so you can use a smartphone or tablet to control them and view the status of your apartment remotely. If you ever decide to move, wireless systems are easy to transport and install at your new residence.

Mislead Criminals

When it seems like an apartment is vacant for an extended period, it’s an easy target for people with less than pure intentions. When you’re not in town, all it takes is a few simple tricks to make it appear as though you are home. Look for lights that you can set to a timer; if your lights are on from sundown until your usual bedtime, it’s likely to scare off potential burglars. Keep a radio on to make it seem like there is activity inside your apartment while you’re gone. Make sure the music’s not too loud — you don’t want to keep your building awake all night.

Securing your apartment should be a top priority if you’re going on vacation. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so take measures to protect your belongings while you’re away.

If you’re looking for a safe community to call home, check out our available apartments page to find a secure living environment in a friendly neighborhood. We are here to help you find the apartment of your dreams, so get started today!