Take Steps to Safeguard Your Rental Property from Theft

We could all stand to feel a little safer when leaving our homes each day for work or play, right?
Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure your rental home isn’t a prime
target for thieves. How many of these tips do you have in place?

Lock up

As silly as it sounds, many crimes are those of opportunity: if a door or window is left unlocked, a
thief who’s passing by will grab anything available. Depending on where you live, you might be in the
habit of leaving a backdoor unlocked while you go in and out of the yard. Or maybe you forget to relock
the front door after carrying groceries in.
Make it a habit to at least twist the thumb lock every time you come into the house, and you’re less likely to
leave it open to crooks. Plus, an unlocked side or back door can easily be forgotten when you leave the house or go to bed.
Survey the locks on your door and windows. You should have at least a deadbolt on every exterior door, in
addition to the thumb lock. Also be sure that all of your windows have secure locks. If not, you might ask your
landlord to install additional locks, where necessary.

Put it away

The more stuff you allow to collect around your house, the greater the invitation for robbers to come up
to see what you’ve got. The more enticement they have to get close to your house, the greater the likelihood
they’ll find a way inside, in addition to taking anything resalable they see outside.
Keep all lawn tools, bicycles and gardening materials stowed away in a locked shed or garage. Similarly, keep
all valuables stowed away inside your house. Computers, pads, cameras and other electronics left in plain sight
can easily inspire a thief to break in and grab them.
It’s a good idea to avoid traditional hiding places for jewelry and money like the freezer or in between mattresses.
Find a unique place for your irreplaceables — one that would take a crook more time to find than he or she is willing to spend.
‘Nothing to see here, folks’ is the best approach to keep your house low-profile for criminals.

Look lived-in

You’ve heard it before: the more newspapers that pile up in front of your home, the more it looks like no one
is ever there. The same is true for an unkempt yard, dark rooms and a generally neglected air. If you come home
from work late or are going out of town, get a timer for your lights, so that a few come on while you’re away. Also
consider leaving a television or radio on while you’re out.
And of course, have someone pick up your newspapers and get your mail while you’re out of town.

Install a security system

If your rental home has a security system, consider getting an active account immediately. If your home isn’t
currently wired for an alarm system, talk to your landlord about the possibility of having one installed. The benefits
for the property owner live on after you leave, enticing security-conscious prospective residents who are looking for
an alarm system as desirable amenity.

There are a number of simple, low-cost ways to make your house unappealing to thieves. Take a stroll around
your rental home now, pretending you’re a prowler, and see what security lapses you can take care of right away!