I Rent an Apartment. Should I Still Consider a Home Security System?

Renters should absolutely consider a security system. The simple fact that you rent doubles your risk of being burgled.1 And while burglary rates have declined steadily since the mid-90s, that doubled risk of burglary at rented versus owner-occupied properties hasn't fluctuated.

It's unclear what puts multi-family and rental homes at an increased risk of burglary, but at least we do know how to make any home an unappealing target for invasion or burglary. It all starts with a renter-friendly security system, especially one that uses home automation to make it look like someone's inside at all times. 

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Why apartment security is important

To understand why an apartment security system is important, consider how people choose which residences to burgle and which to bypass. 

The same burglary methods apply to single- and multi-family dwellings: burglars will most often strike during the day, and they look for empty homes with easy access, plenty of cover, and the best escape routes. More than 30% of all burglars access a residence through an unlocked or open door or window.2 

Deterring a burglar is often as easy as making it seem like someone's home during the day, removing hiding spots around your home, and locking everything down tight. Even the mere presence of a security camera is enough to deter nearly two-thirds of burglars.3

If someone does break in, an alarm lets them know that authorities are on the way, limiting the amount of time they have to grab your valuables and run off. In a larger apartment complex, an alarm also helps attract the attention of neighbors and witnesses.  

How rental security differs from owner-occupied security

Compared to homeowners, renters do have a few extra things to consider when choosing a security system

  • Renters usually need to stick with DIY security installations to avoid invasive hardwiring and mounting.
  • Placing a camera outside a rental may be problematic if it has a clear view into another unit.
  • Renters may want to avoid long-term security contracts if they don't plan to stay in the same residence for more than a few years.
  • Renters may be expected to share new keys or PINs with their landlords if they install a more secure door lock or a smart lock.
  • Renters should consider security companies with transparent, customer-friendly policies around transferring the monitoring service or moving the equipment.

Don't worry if that sounds like a lot to wade through. We've already vetted the top brands and chosen the best home security systems for renters to make your decision easier.

You can also check out our guide to apartment security for extra tips.

Sources

  1. US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Household Burglary, 1994–2011.” Accessed June 9, 2022.
  2. FBI, Uniform Crime Reporting, “Crime in the United States 2019, Burglary.” Accessed June 9, 2022.
  3. Randy Travis, FOX 5 Atlanta, "We Asked 99 Burglars 20 Questions--Their Answers Could Make You Safer," February 2018. Accessed June 9, 2022.

Compare the best home security systems

Brand
Best for
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Contract required
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Learn more
Read review
Best overall$599.00
Icon Yes  LightNo *
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Budget pick$245.00
Icon Yes  LightNo
Amazon,
Google
Quality DIY pick$129.00
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Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Most experienced$0.00
Icon No  LightYes
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Best DIY automation$279.00
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Amazon, Apple, Google, Z-Wave, Zigbee

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*$0 due up-front with consumer financing.

†No-contract options available with outright equipment purchase.

‡Landline monitoring only. Some restrictions apply. (Full disclaimer)

**With $99 installation charge and new monitoring agreement. Early termination fee applies. See full disclaimer for full offer details, terms, and conditions.

Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over seven years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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