15 Theft Prevention Tips for Property Management Companies
Summer is a time for care-free fun and relaxation for many, but apartments and their residents should keep their guards up. Personal theft rises by 10 percent in the summer months, particularly in July and August. For property management companies, theft prevention should be top of mind during this season.
A recent study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics states that in every year except one from 1993 to 2010 that rates of household property victimization appeared highest in the summer and lowest in either winter or spring.
‘Summertime is especially a time be more vigilant’
Burglary was highest in all years but three during the summer. On average, household burglary rates were approximately 11 percent lower in winter, 9 percent lower in spring, and about 6 percent lower in fall than in summer.
Including vehicles, there were an estimated 8,277,829 property crimes reported by law enforcement in 2014, based on the FBI’s annual report on “Crime in the United States, 2014.” Total damages were about $14.3 billion in losses. The Insurance Information Institute says the average homeowner’s losses for theft from 2010-2014 was $3,786.
Apartments are not immune to theft, which is the largest cause of property loss for renters, according to eRenterPlan. Most burglaries happen in the daytime when occupants are at school, work or on vacation.
Renter’s insurance is a worthwhile investment, because it provides a safety net for residents. When apartments are burglarized, renter’s insurance can help replace stolen items or repair damaged property. An uninsured resident, however, will suffer the consequences.
The best defense, insurance professionals say, is deterring thieves, especially when temperatures are warmer and days are longer − the perfect invitation for criminal activity.
“The summertime is especially a time to be more vigilant,” says Ed Wolff, President of LeasingDesk Insurance, which provides insurance solutions for the multifamily housing industry.
Losses resulting from theft can be prevented if apartment residents are more diligent in protecting their assets and avoiding costly insurance claims, Wolff says. That starts with education.
Theft prevention tips for apartment residents and staff
It’s not necessary to turn an apartment into Fort Knox to reduce security risk. Simply, residents can show a potential apartment thief that their unit is better protected than the place down the street.
Here are some ways:
- Always keep windows, doors and sliding doors locked.
- Remove spare keys from their usual “hiding place.” Instead, keep spare keys with a trusted neighbor or friend.
- Add reinforcements to windows and doors with a fitted steel or wood rod.
- Remove cash, jewelry and other valuables from the master bedroom – the first place thieves tend to look for valuables. Place valuables in a safety deposit box.
- Place a home security sign in a window – even if you don’t have a security system.
- Make an inventory list of your belongings, include photos or video. Store the list in a safe place.
- Tell a trusted neighbor when you’re away – so they can be on the look-out for suspicious activity. A good neighbor can be one of the best crime prevention tools.
- Stop mail and newspaper deliveries when away.
- Leave a light on – place timers on indoor lamps to light your home at night, set timers to turn on radios and television randomly during the day.
- Don’t post on social media that you’re out of town or away on vacation.
- Keep some shades and blinds up and curtains open.
- Park vehicles in a secure, well-lit area.
- Always lock vehicles and keep windows closed.
- Don’t leave belongings out to be seen. Put them in the trunk.
- Never leave your keys in the car or the vehicle running when you’re not in it.
A number of other resources offer tips on theft prevention at apartments. Insurance companies also provide tip sheets that can be passed on to residents and staff.
“A great way to help prevent losses by theft and ensure that your residents are safe and their valuables protected is by education,” Wolff says.