8 Ways to Improve Security in First Floor Apartments

May 08, 2024
Woman sitting on a couch in her apartment with a puppy on her lap

Living on the first floor can have its advantages—moving in and out is so much easier because you don’t have to worry about hauling furniture upstairs or in and out of an elevator. It’s not all sunshine and daisies at street level, though.

Apartments on the first floor have fewer layers of separation between them and the outside world, including any would-be intruders. Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take to improve your apartment’s security. We’ll cover 8 apartment security tips in this article.

1. Ensure the door locks are secure

Secure door locks should be a priority whether you live on the first floor or the fortieth, but they’re especially important for those living on street level. Ensure your apartment door is secure by checking the locks on every door into your apartment and testing whether they’re functioning properly.

You can also consider asking your landlord or property manager for a security chain as another layer of protection. If your lock requires a code, make sure it has been changed since the prior resident left. If you live in a building with a shared entrance, immediately inform management of any defects in the lock or door.

2. Add a security alarm system

Alarm systems provide an automated layer of security for apartments. You won’t always be able to keep an eye on things. Having an alarm system can be a huge help. And with the smartphone-linked features modern alarm systems provide, keeping an eye on things can be much easier. Many of these systems have cameras to allow you to see outside your door and also lock or unlock it remotely. Some even inform local law enforcement if an unauthorized breach is detected.

Be sure to research the security system options available to you and check with your landlord or property manager about what is permitted.

3. Check and improve window protection

Doors aren’t the only way into your apartment. First floor residents need to account for windows, too. If your windows don’t already have functioning locks, find out from your landlord or property manager if new ones can be installed.

Windows offer more than physical access, too. A window is a view into your apartment, telling intruders what kind of belongings you have and who is home at what times. If not present, consider adding coverings to your windows, anything from curtains or blinds to adhesive covers that add an obscuring frosted effect. Be sure to check with your landlord or property manager before installing or making changes to existing window coverings.

4. Communicate through the intercom system

Many apartments have an intercom system that allows residents to communicate with visitors at the front door from within the safety of their apartment. If you have access to such a system, make sure you use it. Always confirm visitors’ identities and never unlock the door for anyone you don’t know or aren’t expecting.

5. Know your neighbors

This is an easy one because it costs nothing but a minute of your time. Your neighbors can be a huge help in keeping your apartment safe. They might see things you don’t, hear of things going on that are relevant to your safety, and help you in an emergency. Make sure you greet them in passing and let them know where you live. If you find it difficult creating an in-person interaction, see if you can find a social media group for residents in your building or on your street.

6. Peek through the peephole

Peepholes have been around for decades, but they’re still an incredibly important part of apartment home security. Never open your door for someone without checking the peephole first, even if you think you recognize their voice. If your door doesn’t have a peephole, installing a front door camera like those mentioned earlier in this article can help provide the same safety. Again, you’ll need to make sure it’s permitted by your landlord/property manager.

7. Do not leave your belongings outside of the door

Opportunistic thieves only need a moment to nab something. It can be tempting to drop things temporarily outside your door while you take others inside, but sometimes that tiny window is all it takes. If you can’t carry everything to its final destination in one trip, take a moment to pause in your doorway and move everything inside before proceeding.

8. Be aware of your surroundings

Staying vigilant is a crucial part of apartment security. It’s a good idea to be watchful of anything out of place in your building and on your street. Keep a lookout every time you go outside and make a habit of peeking out your windows every so often. Let your neighbors know if you see anything unusual and report serious concerns to your local law enforcement.

Protect your apartment with renters insurance

For additional security, consider checking out if renters insurance is right for you. Get an obligation-free quote on renters insurance from Nationwide and start protecting the things that matter most today.


The information included here is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided. Nationwide and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2024 Nationwide

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