School is almost back in session, and for college students who don’t want the trials and tribulations of living in a dorm, this means returning to or getting an off-campus apartment. There are certainly benefits to living in an off-campus apartment, such as privacy if you live alone, or the ability to choose who you want as a roommate. However, the perks of living off-campus are all for naught if your apartment isn’t secure. It’s important to keep your living space safe, leaving your mind free to focus on things that matter—like your expensive education.
Securing Your Apartment: The Basics
There are multiple ways to secure your home, and limiting access to who can enter your apartment is a great starting point. From keypads to indoor security cameras, there’s no shortage of devices available that can do this. We've rounded up a few options that'll help you get a bit more peace of mind and secure your off-campus apartment.
Start at the Door
Keys can be lost or stolen, and locks can be picked, but a keyless entry solution means that only people with access can enter your apartment. The Smart Lock Touch and Wi-Fi Replacement Deadbolt Door Lock with Fingerprint Scanner from eufy Security is a secure, tamperproof, keyless deadbolt that adds an additional layer of security by enabling you to gain entry with unique passcodes.
This system allows you to enter your apartment using your fingerprint, with your phone via the eufy Security app, or by using the keypad. And since it’s Wi-Fi enabled, you’ll be able to control it from anywhere. A built-in sensor also detects whenever your door is closed so it locks behind you every time, which is a blessing for the forgetful student in a hurry. It’s also compatible with Alexa or Google Assistant and, thankfully, installation is a breeze, too.
Another great alternative to replacing the entire lock is to add a video doorbell instead. Video doorbells can act as a deterrent to potential porch pirates, in addition to letting you know if it’s worth running to the door for that visitor. The price range can vary widely, but we're big fans of the Nest Doorbell from Google. We think it hits a sweet spot in terms of what most people need in a video doorbell. It needs to be hardwired to your existing doorbell wiring but, otherwise, setting it up is relatively easy. Also, thanks to the Nest's Familiar Faces feature, it can tell you about the specific person at your door, which is a pretty great stand-out feature compared to other doorbells. It records 24/7 and encompasses a 145-degree field of view with 10' of night vision and two-way audio with noise cancellation, to boot. Its sleek design is also attractive and it even comes in four colors, including Ash, Ivy, Linen, or Snow.
If the idea of going keyless is too jarring for you, you can opt to secure your keys instead! While this is something you’re going to carry on your person rather than leave in your apartment, we're big fans of adding a tracker to your keys. This device has saved me more times than you can imagine. Apple users can do no harm adding an AirTag to their keychain, while Tile's host of trackers is just as capable. They work seamlessly, too―Apple’s is integrated right in the Find My app or via use of Tile’s app. Placing one in your luggage when you’re traveling can also save you a whole lot of headaches for the student traveling to and from.
Sometimes renting an apartment means you won’t be able to drill holes and run wires through walls. Thankfully, indoor security cameras are plentiful and have come a long way in terms of video quality. We think the Solo IndoorCam P24 Security Camera with Night Vision, from eufy Security, works well for apartment dwellers. It captures 2560 x 1440-resolution video with up to 33' of night vision alongside 360° panning and 96° tilt capabilities. It can store that video locally on a microSD card via the built-in slot or the cloud (with a subscription). A built-in microphone and speaker also allow for two-way audio communication. The unit is also compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit, which is mostly standard these days for smart home accessories.
Intruders generally prefer an empty home to an occupied home, but just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean your home should look unoccupied. An occupied home often serves as a deterrent to would-be intruders. Enter smart plugs—the wondrous diminutive devices that enable us to control our devices from anywhere in the world.
With smart plugs, you’ll be able to control your lights, making it appear as if you’re home. We love recommending the EP10 Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug from TP-Link. With this smart plug, you’ll be able to control any plugged-in devices, including your apartment’s lighting. Setting lighting on a timer can give the illusion that someone's home even when you're not. It's also a much more budget-friendly alternative to smart bulb kits like the ones from Phillip's Hue brand of lights.
The EP10 Kasa plug can connect to your iOS or Android device over Wi-Fi through TP-Link's Kasa app and is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Samsung SmartThings, making controlling your plugged-in devices with voice commands a seamless operation. It also supports real-time energy monitoring, so you can keep tabs on electricity use in hours and minutes, or in Watts and Kilowatt-hours, if that's your thing.
While we can’t promise that your off-campus apartment will be as secure as Fort Knox, implementing any of these solutions is a terrific way to keep your apartment safe and secure. Are you a student living in an off-campus apartment? Are you just an apartment dweller looking for security tips? Have other awesome ideas or tips to keep your apartment safe? Let us know in the Comments section, below!