Many people searching for their perfect home consider renting when buying is financially out of reach. But, rental properties are at a much higher risk of home invasion than purchased homes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

As a renter, stay safe by taking precautions to better protect against theft and home invasion. Below, we provide top security tips to consider when renting a home or townhome.

1. Research Your Surroundings

Look up the crime rate in your area when you rent a property. Many websites offer a glimpse into what crimes recently occurred near your home, and this information can better prepare you to prevent common crimes.

For instance, if car break-ins are common in your neighborhood, park in a well-lit area. If your landlord allows it, install smart lights or invest in a smart garage for additional car safety. If daytime home break-ins are common, ask your landlord about home alarm systems with mobile alerts.

2. Talk to Your Neighbors and Landlord

Getting to know the people who’ve lived in the area for a long time can lead to honest answers you can’t find online. Neighbors owning their homes for a few years know about community surroundings and can offer insight into their experiences.

Your landlord can do the same, and point out what features may already exist in the home that you can utilize for added security. Depending on the state, landlords are required to provide deadbolts and window locks, but some go above and beyond with outdoor security cameras or smart locks.

3. Care For The Property

Properties that look like vacation or rental homes signal an unoccupied, easy target for burglars. When you move in, make your home look cared for and lived-in by landscaping, scheduling timed lights and fixing vulnerable parts of the property, such as loose fences or cracked walls.

Additionally, cutting back overgrown gardens make your home look more lived in, and eliminates dark hiding places.

4. Secure Entry Points

Fully inspect all doors and windows to ensure they are secure. Older homes often have windows and doors that can be wiggled loose, even when locked. Consider connecting with your landlord about changing locks to ensure they are both of high quality and guaranteed security. If you buy new locks, you know you are the only one with the key. Otherwise, use door and window sensors to alert you when they have been opened.

You can also add a peephole or smart doorbell camera to check on visitors without opening the door.

5. Add Security Equipment

With the higher risk of home invasion, it’s smart for renters to invest in home security equipment to deter thieves and secure their properties. Adding a home alarm system with 24/7 monitoring can protect your home.

Many providers offer fair moving policies when it’s time for you to leave your rental, and often, you can decrease the cost of renters insurance when you have a home security system, making it money well spent.