Hand using security key card scanning to open the door to entering private building


5 Ways to Improve Apartment Security

Updated 04/13/2024

Apartment security has become a necessity for residents searching for their next place to call home. Living in an apartment building comes with many perks, but it also comes with certain security risks that you might not experience as a single-family homeowner. Residents are looking for assurance that they and their families will be safe.

Apartment complex security took the spotlight when the pandemic hit and many a property owner or property manager discovered their communities weren’t as secure as they initially thought. With people spending more time at home than ever before, proper security measures are even more necessary for apartment property management to protect residents from package theft, break-ins, natural disasters, and cyber threats.

Here are some ways that you can make your apartment building a safer place to live.

The Importance of Security Audits

The first step to successful apartment security is understanding what you’re up against. You can gauge the level of property crime in your neighborhood with the help of a security audit: a collection of data that tracks the volume and characteristics of crime in any given area.

One of the best security audits accessible to the public is the FBI’s annual report by the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). You can view data from the entire US or look up a more specific location. This information is crucial for creating sustainable home security procedures in your apartment building. You can look at the types of property crimes most prevalent in your area and take the right measures to counteract them. You can even perform an audit on an apartment complex you own or manage to assess the types and frequency of crimes, as well as identify any potential issues contributing to the security concerns.

For example:

  • What security systems are already in place in your community?
  • Are all door locks/apartment door security solutions functional?
  • Are there any security cameras in at-risk areas?
  • Is there a security measure the community has not already implemented that would help residents feel safer?
  • Is there a secure location for tenant package deliveries?

There are many factors to consider when performing an audit. Consulting with a security team can also help to ensure the safety of your residents.

Create a Security Emergency Response Plan

Most people are first exposed to emergency response plans when they’re kids, whether in school or at home. Do you remember practicing fire drills at school, or where to go in the event of a natural disaster? These directives are part of a security emergency response plan.

Just like schools and office complexes, multifamily communities need security plans in place in case of an emergency. Apartment security and safety should be a top priority for property managers and leasing staff. If you are a property owner or property manager looking to improve your apartment complex security, you can work with security professionals to create a comprehensive response plan and ensure the safety of your residents. After all, the best home security system is preparation.

Some examples of emergencies to plan for include:

  • Cyberattacks
  • Fires
  • Tornados
  • Active Shooters
  • Pandemics
  • Hurricanes
  • Floods

If you are concerned about emergencies in your area, consulting with a local security team can ensure proper apartment complex security. You can also look to the National Multifamily Housing Council for tips on creating an emergency plan for your community.

Identify and Secure Access Points

Access points can greatly influence the safety of your residents. Consult a security team that’s trained to find spots an average person or apartment dweller may overlook, and that knows the right questions to ask, such as:

  • What are all the ways to access the building?
  • Is each access point and common area monitored?
  • Are any of these areas hidden in shadow?
  • Is smart technology or an access control system utilized in these areas?

For successful apartment security, you should identify all access points that are at risk in your community. Access points can include various areas, such as:

  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Stairwells
  • Elevators
  • Common Areas
  • Storage Units
  • Private and Public Parking Garages
  • Mail Drop Areas

For example, consider if the place allocated for renter package delivery is secure or if anyone can access it. One of the most common property crimes in apartment communities is package theft, so if the renter package delivery area can be accessed by anyone and is not protected by professional monitoring, there’s an increased risk your residents will have their packages stolen.

IoT Technology and Security Automation

IoT technology has completely changed security measures in multifamily apartment communities over the past few years. Things that used to be out of property owners’ control are now fully manageable.

IoT – the “Internet of Things” – encapsulates a variety of technology and physical objects, all connected for common purposes, one of which can be the automation of apartment security. For instance, keyfobs in a secure apartment community are considered a part of IoT technology, as are an electronic locker (or parcel locker) system and surveillance cameras.

Smart home technology allows building owners to better monitor the safety of their properties. Communities can install doors that lock automatically instead of requiring a renter to manually lock their apartment door (or doors) behind them. A surveillance camera can be connected to a motion detector or sensors to detect suspicious movements and report them to the appropriate authorities automatically. Mobile apps can be used for video surveillance so property managers and residents can monitor activity near their apartments when not on-site, and there are even apps that can control an entire home security system remotely.

While IoT has greatly streamlined apartment security (and will probably continue to play an important role in the future of apartment living), professional monitoring is still helpful in many cases.

Security Patrols

Security patrols can also help ensure the resident safety. Two types of patrols that apartment buildings can utilize are foot patrols and vehicle patrols.

  • Foot Patrols are security guards that patrol the grounds on foot. They can check locks and common areas, as well as patrol hallways and stairwells for intruders or other security concerns. A security guard is often the main deterrent to criminal activity since they’re highly visible.
  • Vehicle Patrols are security guards that patrol the grounds in a vehicle. They provide home security by patrolling the perimeter of the community, garages, and parking lots, and are often used in addition to foot patrols.

Apartment security patrols put residents at ease, and if residents feel safe in their community, they’re more likely to live at your apartment complex for longer. So, if you choose to work with a security patrol company, be sure to give your residents the contact information for the security patrol so they all have direct access in case of an emergency.

Apartment security should be a top priority if you’re the property owner or property manager of a multifamily community. One way to protect against the most common type of crime in apartment complexes – package theft – is to install a smart apartment parcel locker system. Your residents’ packages will stay safe, and you’ll have fewer incident reports on your hands.

To find out more about our multifamily locker solutions can improve your apartment complex security, fill out the form below.