Aug 29, 2016
Keeping Secure Against Roommates
Roommates start out as either best friends or complete strangers. With the latter, security is often on your mind right from the get-go. Sure, this person seemed good in their response on Craigslist or Facebook, but that doesn’t mean you should trust them with your valuables.
And although you may trust your friends, security should still be a factor in choosing to room with them, especially considering how quickly relationships can change.
That being said, here are six ways to secure yourself and your belongings against roommates:
Create a catalogue of your valuables
Photographing, recording serial numbers, retail values, and descriptions of each of your valuable items makes it easy to file a police report if theft has occurred, and to prove an item is yours if a roommate seems to have “adopted” it.
While you’re cataloguing your valuables, you should consider getting insurance for some of the bigger ticket items.
Get a discreet safe
Discreet safes give you the ability to tuck away your valuables without alerting your roommates to their existence. If your roommates don’t know you have cash, expensive jewellery, or any other valuables, they won’t be tempted to steal them. But more than just hiding your valuables, a discreet safe allows you secure them as well.
Check out Grace’s tips on discreet safes here.
Install a DIY security system
A security system is an excellent line of defence against roommates. If they know that your room is monitored while you’re out, they will hesitate to enter without your permission.
DIY security systems like Piper are easy to set up, move, and use. If you have roommates, chances are you’re renting and may end up changing living quarters more than once. The Piper itself is a small unit that only requires an outlet, so it can always be moved as needed.
Having a security system doesn’t always mean having an uncontrollable alarm that goes off when motion is detected. In my apartment, I’ve set a rule that has Piper record video if someone enters my room during the day, and only sound the alarm when both my roommate and I are gone for an extended period of time.
Make sure your room locks.
A locking bedroom door may seem low on your list of priorities, however it’s an ultimate barrier that will prevent most roommates from entering without your permission. Locking it while you’re out has obvious benefits, but being able to lock it while you’re there can be useful, such as if there’s a lot of people over for a party, or if your roommate has friends over that you don’t trust.
At the very least, a door sensor for can be set to notify you if someone enters or exits your room.
A roommate agreement can save you tons of trouble with strangers and friends alike. Your agreement should include rules surrounding visitors. For example, how often can significant others stay over? Include a clause that friends and partners cannot be given any door codes or key copies, or stay over when you roommate isn’t home.
You also need clear rules around parties. All the roommates should be informed in advance, decide what areas are off limits, lay out that people who are drunk enough to potentially damage the living space need to be safely sent home with a designated driver, and how many people can sleep over after a party.
Clear expectations will prevent unsafe practices on behalf of your roommates. Remember that your home is only as secure as your weakest roommate keeps it.
Everything has a place
Although I may be at risk of sounding like a parent here, clean your room! Ensuring everything has a place and that it returns to that place will make it obvious to you if any of your items go missing. Keeping everything in its place will become like a visual catalogue.
In addition, don’t leave items out in main living spaces. If they’re in your room, then your roommates have to intrude on your space to access them, which works as a deterrent. Especially in the case of laptops, wallets/purses, and other valuables, keeping them in your now-secure room is a basic and effective measure to protect them from your roommates.