Boston is a hot destination these days, especially for young people. The city has welcomed 55,000 new residents in the past two years, growing at its fastest rate in decades. If you’re moving to Boston, or just looking for a new apartment here, you’ve chosen the right time! But in a city with a high crime rate, where over 18,000 property crimes were reported just last year, it pays to be cautious! Read on to find out how local locksmiths and security experts recommend you act to protect yourself from burglary in your new home.
Before you move in
Choosing the right neighborhood isn’t easy and a lot of factors go into your decision: your budget, the length of your commute, nearby shops and culture, what pops up first on Craigslist… the list goes on. Among all of these considerations, safety should be a high priority.
Brookline, Beacon Hill, Back Bay/South End and Mission Hill are all affordable options with low rates of crime. The riskiest areas are probably Mattapan, Roxbury and Dorchester. However, when considering an apartment, you really have to go check out the block and the streets around it.
Try to visit both during the day and at night. Your intuition is your best guide. Does the apartment building seem clean and well maintained? That’s a good sign the landlord is conscientious and cares about their tenants’ safety and comfort. Do you feel safe walking down the street, even after dark? Is it well lit? Do the neighbors seem friendly? If you have the chance, ask them how they like living there, and if there have been any incidents in the building recently.
While you’re checking out the apartment, don’t forget to check that the windows close fully and the locks work!
So you’ve found the perfect apartment and you’re all set to move in. Congratulations! Now, how do you make sure you’ll be totally safe in your new home?
First of all, change the locks. (Who knows who ended up with a copy of the last tenant’s keys?) Most landlords will do this anyway, but some will try to save a few bucks by recycling old locks from another apartment in the same building. Don’t be shy when your personal safety is on the line: insist on new ones! They should be high security locks that are resistant to picking and forced entry, and with keys that can’t easily be duplicated.
With your landlord’s permission, install a deadbolt and a peephole, if your door doesn’t already have them. Any residential locksmith in Boston can do this for you, and will recommend it, in fact. You can also look into a security system. FrontPoint, SimpliSafe and Canary are friendly to renters. They’re easy to set up, and having an alarm will dramatically reduce your risk of burglary.
You might also look into renter’s insurance. In case the worst happens and your home is robbed, it can cover the cost of valuable items that are stolen or damaged.
Living safely in your new Boston apartment
Common sense is your best defense against thieves and burglars.
First of all, always lock your door when you leave the apartment, even if it’s just to check the mailbox! You’d be amazed how many burglaries happen through open doors. Not only can’t you know who might be in the building when you step out “just for a minute,” you should get in the habit of always turning the lock on the way out.
Never prop the door to the lobby, or hold the door for anyone you don’t recognize. If someone shows up claiming to be a deliveryman or serviceman for the building, ask for ID or details about their company. This is a common burglar’s trick! Likewise, never buzz anyone in without first speaking to them.
Get to know your neighbors, so you can all keep an eye out for each other. If you go away for more than a day or two, ask them to check on your apartment, and automatic timer for your lights to make it look like you’re home at night.
Perform regular maintenance on your locks. Clean, well-lubricated locks will turn smoother, last longer and protect your home better. Every so often, don’t forget to ask a professional locksmith to look over everything and see if you need an upgrade!