When we think of home security systems, the image that comes to mind is generally of a large, stand-alone house with an alarm system sign peeking out of the flower bed by the front door. Our idea of the type of home that needs an alarm system often overlooks one crucial type of dwelling: apartments. But while we may skip the need for security systems in apartments, it would be wise not to. Believe it or not, the statistics show that apartments are actually much more likely to be a target for burglaries than other types of dwellings. According to an archived survey by the National Crime Prevention Council, apartments are a whopping 85% more likely to be broken into than single family homes.
Still, while having neighbors who share a wall with you may not deter burglaries, a home security system might. There are a ton of different options out there to choose from -– some security systems include voice deterrents, doorbell cameras, or another sophisticated form of added security -– and the options can be tough to wade through. Let’s look at some of the best home security alarms out there for apartments so you can protect yourself, and your belongings, from break-ins.
Professional monitoring systems
Professional monitoring systems are what they sound like. They’re security systems in which someone from the alarm company is monitoring your home around the clock, guaranteeing 24/7 protection of your humble abode. They often require installation, packages, and contracts to get going, but if there’s an emergency the monitoring centers will immediately communicate with the right authorities: They’ll dispatch police, firefighters, and ambulances if necessary.
Two of the best professional monitoring security systems for apartments are Vivint and Frontpoint.
Vivint has become synonymous with cutting-edge technology and has been in the business of protecting your home — or in this case, apartment — since 1999, and consistently scores high marks for doing so.
When we say these systems are high-tech, we mean it. Vivint offers customers a mobile app to not only monitor their homes, but also do things like control the thermostat, turn lights on and off, and have conversations via the security cameras, all of which is streamlined by Vivint’s compatibility with Google and Alexa voice assistants.
Points to consider
If you don’t opt for their month-to-month payment, Vivint requires you to sign a five-year contract, which can be a bit long to commit to staying in one apartment unit. You can move your Vivint system with you for a $99 relocation fee.
Starting at $35 a month, Frontpoint is known for having killer customer service and an easy DIY setup, which means you won’t have to hassle with any appointment windows to get your alarm system installed. Part of the reason the installation system is so simple is because this system is wireless, which means you won’t have to clear any drilling or holes in your wall with your leasing office to get things going.
In addition to professional monitoring, services offered by Frontpoint include Crash and Smash Protection, email and text alerts, and remote access via their app depending on which tier of protection you select.
Points to consider
On the downside, Frontpoint currently offers just one package with video streaming, so you won’t have as many of those high-tech tools to work with compared to Vivint. That package also increases the cost to $50 a month, and if you opt out of that package, the only alternative for video monitoring is to install the cameras yourself as a standalone component.
Another good option for professional security alarm monitoring is Protect America, a company that is known for their budget-friendly monitoring packages – starting at $19.99 – which come standard with a control panel, motion and entry sensors, yard sign and window stickers, and DIY installation.
You can customize your package to make it similar to what Vivint or Frontpoint offer, but that will add some money to your monthly bill. On the upside, those standard packages from Protect America do come “smart-home ready,” which means you can add HD video services, smoke and fire monitoring, garage door control, smart door lock control, smart lighting, and integrate your system with your Alexa without too much hassle besides the additional cost.
Points to consider
A contract with Protect America lasts for three years, potentially longer than you’d wish to stay in your apartment, and they require an Experian credit check (which will temporarily ding your credit score) before you can start using their service.
DIY monitoring systems
If you know what you need from a system and where you need it, you might want to consider a DIY monitoring system, which you’ll have to install by yourself, but on the upside you won’t be stuck with any installation fees.
You may not be saddled with any monthly monitoring charges, either, because with some of these systems, you aren’t required to purchase a monthly monitoring contract. With systems like Nest Secure, abode, Scout, and Simplisafe, professional monitoring is optional, which makes them great candidates for DIY apartment protection.
With optional no-contract and contract monthly monitoring packages, or the option not to be monitored by an outside company at all, Google Nest offers you the kind of flexibility best fit for apartment living.
There isn’t much equipment, but in this case it’s a positive because you’ll be setting this system up on your own. Luckily, it’s a simple setup and the Nest Secure is a handsome system; it’s sleek and modern, and it won’t look obtrusive or out of place no matter your decor.
This system is free from monthly charges if you monitor your home by yourself, great for people who’d rather monitor their own home via their smart phone rather than pay someone else to do it, but they do offer the option to use Brinks Home Security as a monitoring service if you so choose.
Points to consider
The Google Nest Secure’s startup fee is a hefty $400, and any additional windows and doors you’d like to protect with sensors will cost you an extra $50 each, not ideal for larger apartments or townhomes.
This system was created by a former ADT employee and requires no subscription whatsoever, but you won’t be compromising any safeguards in the process. You can access your abode system by using any device that’s connected to the internet, and that completely free self-monitoring also keeps three days’ security history, which can be a useful tool. The app is easy to use and so is the system, plus you can add quite a few third-party devices to customize your level of security to the system.
statistics show that apartments are actually much more likely to be a target for burglaries than other types of dwellings.
An abode system is perfect for apartment security because you can opt for a month-to-month billing cycle instead of being locked into a yearlong contract, and their third-party compatibility means you’re free to add your own gadgets to your apartment security system.
abode’s proprietary cameras are a little less cutting-edge, so you’d have to take it upon yourself to string together some other compatible security cameras.
Scout is well-suited as an apartment security system because it allows you to opt in and out of your monitoring plan at whim, with no penalties. Its DIY installation should spare your rented walls from heavy drilling. Plus, Scout systems are highly customizable, including how you can finance your apartment security system.
Points to consider
DIY is the only installation option; no calling the pros to bail you out.
SimpliSafe’s no-contract service is a plus for all renters, as is its $15/ month startup fee. While you can opt for professional installation, the DIY option is more apartment-friendly. Simplisafe’s 2018 equipment update improved their products interoperability, making it easier for you to integrate gadgets like the ones below into your apartment security system.
Points to consider
Like Google Nest Secure, SimpliSafe’s upfront equipment costs can get a bit steep.
À la carte gadgets
Perhaps you’re the ultimate DIY-er and you know exactly how to rig the right security system for your apartment. Or perhaps you’re unimpressed with some of the other options out there and you want to build a monitoring system that’s completely custom to your apartment. Well, you’re in luck because there are a ton of à la carte security gadgets out there that can be used to do just that.
Nanny cams and indoor cams
You may not think of nanny cams as a way to secure your apartment from intruders, but perhaps you should take another look at these useful devices. Some of the more sophisticated nanny cams, like the Wyze Cam Pan, can give you via the app a full 360-degree view of an area because its base rotates and you can control it remotely.
Both the Wyze Cam Pan and its cousin, the Wyze Cam v2, come with automatic motion-detection technology, which you can set so that it will alert you with phone notifications when there’s movement in or around your house. As a bonus, the motion the Wyze detects will be encapsulated in a lime green rectangular box when you pull up the app, so it won’t require you to dig around through the clips to figure out what’s causing the commotion.
Alexa may not be the first gadget that comes to mind when you think of apartment security, but believe it or not, you can absolutely use your voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant to secure your home. These gadgets are built to communicate with your other smart home devices, like the Ring video doorbell. All you have to do is enable certain skills on your device and then use the right commands, like “Alexa, show my front door camera,” which will then allow you to access your Ring camera.
Another option for scaring off would-be intruders is to invest in a smart light, which can be paired with Alexa to turn on when there’s movement within a certain area of your home. It’s a great way to trick burglars into thinking someone’s home when they aren’t, and they’re super easy to use in any lamp. They also look just like regular bulbs, which makes them incredibly hard to detect by people who shouldn’t be in or near your home.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, it’s wise to make sure your apartment is protected, and there are so many ways to do that. It just takes some research, a little bit of ingenuity, and a firm idea of what you’re willing to spend up front and monthly. Whether it’s a smart light or the most sophisticated monitored system, something is bound to work for you and give you the sense of apartment security you need.