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How Safe Is Your Apartment? Security Tips for Renters

Searching for a new apartment can be an exciting process, but there’s a lot of things to keep in mind. You want your new place to feel safe and inviting. But how can you tell if your new apartment is the right one for you? Aside from the obvious location, price, and amenities people first consider, it’s important to recognize the safety of a potential apartment as well. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind before, and after, you find a new apartment.

Landlord Credentials

One of the most important things to do before renting an apartment is to check your landlord’s credentials. A legitimate rental company will have a professional website and licenses for all their properties. It is easy to find out if your landlord has these credentials online by Googling their name. It is also a good idea to ask residents about the landlord.

Entrance to the Complex

A gated entrance can be an excellent deterrent for thieves, but they aren’t all created equal. Check the hours, if any, that the gates are open during the day. Gates that use a clicker are often more secure than a passcode entry, since only the residents can have access.  Check out the apartment public areas, like the pool and gym. These should also require a key or access code. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the complex’s security features.

General Maintenance

Apartment grounds that are well maintained are a good sign of safety and a better experience overall. Take a look at fences on the property to make sure they’re not broken or missing boards. Overgrown landscaping, peeling paint, and broken lights are a dead giveaway for neglected apartment spaces.

Local Crime Rates

When touring a new apartment complex, research what crime rates are like in the area. Ask your landlord about the noise level and nightlife. If you’re an active person who likes to stay out late, make sure it’s a safe neighborhood for you to walk around in.  Avoid apartment complexes near abandoned buildings or factories, since they will often attract unwanted activity. 

Now that you’ve decided where you want to live, there are some steps to take toward making your own apartment safer.

Purchase Renter’s Insurance

​​Though landlords have rental insurance to cover the building you live in, this will not cover your personal property. Most landlords require their tenants to have renter’s insurance, but you should invest in it regardless. Renter’s insurance is an inexpensive policy that covers theft, damage, and loss of personal belongings. Don’t wait until you have a horror story about pipes bursting and flooding your apartment. Have renter’s insurance ready the day you move in.

Make Sure Doors and Windows Are Secure

Make sure all your windows and doors are sealed tightly. Make sure all locks work properly. Bolt locks work best on windows, while deadbolts are better for doors. Consider getting a door chain (with your landlord’s permission) to put across the door when you’re home alone, or at night to prevent any unwanted visitors. 

Make sure you have blinds on all your windows, and keep them shut at night and early in the morning when it’s still dark. Be mindful of what can be seen when your blinds are open. It’s not uncommon for thieves to “window shop” before robbing an apartment. Don’t leave valuable items in the window’s line of sight. 

Don’t Forget to Lock Up

There’s no use checking the locks on your apartment if you don’t use them. If you’re leaving your apartment for any period of time, even just to walk the dog outside, make sure all doors and windows are locked. Just because it is daytime outside, doesn’t mean thieves aren’t out there waiting to take advantage of busy citizens.

Meet Your Neighbors

Get to know the people living around you and exchange numbers in case of an emergency. Make sure you stay connected to the neighborhood by getting to know your neighbors and looking out for each other. If something seems off, report suspicious activity right away. You can also encourage crime awareness among others through social media or handing out flyers letting people know how to prevent theft.

Keep Your Balcony Clean

Your balcony is a place to get fresh air, not a storage unit. If you have a lot of personal items on your balcony, consider moving items inside, or asking the landlord about a storage room. Thieves will often climb balconies to gain access to open windows and unlocked doors. Your balcony acts as a preview of what you may have in your home. Keep it clean and well lit at night.

Consider Investing in a Safe

If you have valuable items that you keep in your rented apartment, it might be worth investing in a safe. A small safe (under 10 pounds) should suffice, but this will vary from person to person. A safe will also protect personal paperwork from fires. If this is your first time purchasing a safe, here are some helpful things to consider.

It is important to consider the safety of your apartment before, and after, you move in. By scoping out a potential apartment complex and analyzing the security and maintenance, you’ll be one step ahead in securing your rented space. After moving in, be sure to keep doors locked, windows closed, and valuables stored away. Create a community by getting to know your neighbors, and make sure you’re all prepared with these top safety tips.

Unlock Your Car Smarter, Not Harder: The 5 Benefits of Smart Keys

Smart keys use radio-frequency identification, or RFID, to communicate with your car. The key contains a chip with an encrypted code that only your car is programmed to recognize. The antenna on your car reads the signal from this chip when it is within range, allowing you to unlock your car and start your engine.

Smart keys are becoming increasingly common as they are much more convenient, have added security and safety benefits, and can save you money in the long run. Smart keys are a luxury when compared with traditional car keys. After reading over these benefits, it’s a safe bet that you’ll never want to use traditional car keys again.

The Most Convenient Kind of Key

Smart keys offer several features that are far more convenient than a traditional key. This includes automatic setting adjustments, easy unlocking, and the ability to drive as long as your key is within range. 

With most push-to-start cars, all you have to do in order to unlock your car is touch your hand to the door handle. Some cars even unlock automatically when the key is detected within a certain range.

Many smart keys can automatically adjust to your settings based on which key is in range. This is very convenient when there are multiple drivers for the same vehicle. The vehicle will adjust the seat and mirror positions to match the detected key. It can also pre-set the climate control and radio settings.

Some cars even allow speed restrictions to be set when used with a specific key, which is ideal for teenagers who are just learning to drive.

Also, if a smart key gets lost during a ride, you can still drive your vehicle as long as the key is within range. If the car starts, you won’t have to worry that the key is lost. You’ll know for certain it has been misplaced somewhere inside the vehicle.

If this happens to you, just be sure to search for the key once you arrive at your destination so you can lock the car. The last thing you want is to leave the key inside where a carjacker could easily enter your vehicle and drive away.

Smart Key Security

Your smart key can also protect your belongings – the system automates the car locking process and greatly reduces the likelihood of your car getting stolen.

Most smart keys will automatically lock your doors once you exit the vehicle. If you’re often forgetting to lock your doors, your smart key will do the hard work for you. 

Since the RFID signal sent between your vehicle and your key fob is unique to your car’s sensor, it’s incredibly difficult to steal a car equipped with a smart key. Even if a thief manages to break into your car and attempts to hotwire it, the engine will not start without the encrypted code from your key.

Safety with Smart Keys

In addition to keeping your car secure, smart keys can also keep you safe by preventing your encounters with criminals.

If you’re in an unfamiliar area, or a place with a high crime rate, you don’t want to spend time stuck outside of your car. If a criminal sees you fumbling with your keys, they may take it as an opportunity to steal your purse, backpack, or wallet. With a smart key, you can quickly get into your car as long as your keys are within range. 

Because the smart key operates by sending a signal to your antenna, it is impossible to lock yourself out. This saves you the risk of getting stranded in an unsafe area, or on a busy street outside of your car.

Save the Hassle that Comes with the Ignition

Traditional keys can be heavy, especially if you keep your keychain full. Over time, this weighs down on the ignition. Ignition wiring is also typically heavier, whereas push-to-start wiring is thinner and lighter.

With traditional car keys, you run the risk of your keys getting sticky and even breaking off in your ignition. Even if your keys don’t get stuck, the ignition could simply not work over time as the unique etching on your keys wears down.

A smart key operates by battery and will warn you well in advance when the battery is low. If the smart key battery is low but not dead, the car will still operate. When the time comes to replace the battery, it is a very simple process. You can open most smart keys without any tools and quickly pop in a new battery which only costs a few bucks.

While we can’t speak for all locksmiths, Pop-A-Lock can duplicate and program virtually any smart key. This saves you a ton of money from the expensive key replacements of a car dealership. A smart key will also save you the risk of needing to replace your whole ignition. Coupled with the fact that you cannot lock your smart key inside your car, you’ll be saving money.

Smart Keys are a Luxury

Arguably the best benefit of smart keys is the luxury aspect. Though some cars still come with traditional keys, smart keys are becoming the norm and the average car owner prefers a smart key. They are far more convenient than a traditional car key, and the ability to start your car with the click of a button is too cool to miss out on.

Overall, smart keys have many benefits that outweigh traditional car keys. They’re convenient, help keep you and your belongings safe, and require little maintenance. They’re a luxury item that any car owner would be lucky to have.

Looking to duplicate your car’s smart key? Your local Pop-A-Lock is here to help!