If you think your rental property isn’t a potential target for burglars, consider this: According to recent FBI data, a burglary occurs approximately every 18 seconds. This doesn’t necessarily mean your home or property will be hit, but with grim statistics like this, wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry?
Many renters and landlords avoid investing in home security devices because they assume they’ll be costly, but this isn’t always the case. Use these five inexpensive security tactics to safeguard your rental property and prevent break-ins.
What You Can Do
As the property owner, there are a number of ways you can boost security for your tenants, ensuring the safety of them and your property.
Use Decals and Decoys
You don’t have to invest in expensive security systems and gadgets to deter criminals. Instead, “fake it till you make it” by putting decals and stickers for well-known alarm systems on windows around your property. Focus on areas where burglars commonly strike, like the front door and downstairs windows. For just $10 or less, these signs and stickers will make burglars think there’s a security system in place—despite the truth that there actually isn’t.
While that seems like a risky move to take, research from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology found that 60 percent of burglars indicated that the presence of an alarm would cause them to seek an alternative target altogether. Decals and fake-out methods are effective because a burglar would rather find a new target than stick around to find out if your security system is real or not.
Boost that security-system feel with fake security cameras. They’re not just a fraction of the cost. Fake security cameras can also fool potential burglars into thinking your home is under surveillance thanks to a blinking LED light that makes it look like it’s on.
Automate Your Lights and Electronics
Buy and install inexpensive timers for all lights, TV and other electronics in the rental, and set it so the electronics switch on and off at random times. If a thief is casing your property, he won’t be able to nail down a consistent schedule of when someone is and isn’t home, which may encourage him or her to go elsewhere.
What to Remind Your Tenants to Do
In many cases, your tenants are in control of the safety of your property and their belongings. Reduce the risk of a break-in by reminding them of these important safety hacks.
Don’t Advertise the Goods
Leaving blinds and curtains open all day and night gives burglars an unobstructed view of your valuables, including your TV and other expensive electronics and items around the house. Avoid this issue by keeping the blinds and curtains drawn, so people can’t see inside. If you currently have tenants, ask them to do the same.
Note that the majority of break-ins are in the afternoon, when renters and homeowners are at school or work. When intruders can’t see into your windows, they can’t be sure if someone is home, which may discourage them from trying to break in.
Use a Safety Checklist When Leaving the House
Remind tenants to lock the windows and doors every time they leave the house. Based on security statistics from Safeguard The World, about 30 percent of all burglars enter a home through an opened or unlocked window or door. The strongest, most powerful locks won’t do much to keep you safe if you fail to use them.
To avoid the worry of tenants forgetting to lock their doors, create a security checklist, so they remember everything. Ask them to follow the same safety routine every time you leave the house; this consistency leaves little room for error or forgetfulness and will give you peace of mind that the property is secure.
Stash Your Valuables
Burglars enter homes in search of valuables or items that are easy to pawn, like jewelry, cash, and electronics. According to A Secure Life, most intruders only want to spend between 8 and 12 minutes in a home. If they can’t find what they’re looking for right away, they may get impatient, give up and find another house.
Most burglars case the master bedroom first, so remind tenants to find a safe place to hide expensive belongings, like decoy bookshelves or mislabeled boxes in the garage, or a safe.
Pro tip: Make sure the safe is bolted down, so a thief can’t take it.
It would also be wise to have tenants purchase insurance for their valuables; it’s a low-cost way to make sure they replace their items in the event of the emergency. Learn about insurance options for landlords and tenants to find out the best way to take care of your property and their valuable items.
These safety strategies are inexpensive and effective, allowing you to have peace of mind while keeping tenants safe. Choose one or a combination of these ideas to boost security without spending a lot of money.
Author Bio:Maile Proctor is a blogger and freelance editor. She writes about health and fitness, lifestyle, family and finance. She’s written for real estate sites like Lodgify, ApartmentGuide, ThinkRealty and more. Proctor earned her bachelor’s in broadcast journalism from Chapman University. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking in San Diego, California.