If you can’t yet afford a place with a yard, having a balcony can offer a nice way to get some fresh air and be outdoors without having to leave your apartment. Balconies, however, tend to exist mostly in apartment and condominium complexes in more urban areas. Urban areas see a lot of foot traffic, which can lead to a lot of individuals passing right by your bedroom window. A balcony can be an easy way in for a burglar, so it’s important to ask yourself: is your balcony a security weak point?
If you’ve got one, here are something to consider and some ways you can secure your home a little more.
1. Cover the rails.
If your balcony is encompassed by rails and metal bars, then people can easily look not only into your balcony, but also into your home. Whether you go for bamboo, cloth or some other material, cover up the spaces in the railing so people cannot see through, especially if you’ve got sliding glass doors or any windows.
2. Don’t use it as storage.
Storage space can be limited in apartments, which is why many residents turn their balconies into a storage space. But keeping large items out here like bicycles, suitcases and electrical appliances could draw the attention of burglars. You’re better off spending a little money to rent an off-site storage unit.
3. Don’t keep the balcony door open.
If you like to keep your balcony door open to let in natural air on hot days, you’ll need to take extra precautions to make sure you close it when you leave. You could install alarms that send notifications to your smart phone any time you leave doors or windows open in your apartment. You could also install a screen door that stays locked, while still letting in light and air to your home.
4. If it’s accessible from a landing…
Could a burglar conceivably climb from the landing in front of your front door onto your balcony? If so, they likely will, since balcony doors tend to be easier to break down than standard doors. If you live on the first or second floor of your building, a burglar can easily climb into your balcony. In this case, you may consider putting spikes or wiring around your balcony rails to deter intruders.
5. Keep it clean.
If your balcony is covered in items like a barbecue, a small potted tree and some furniture, it provides burglars a nice place to hide away from people passing by while planning their entry. Don’t let your balcony become too cluttered.
6. Consider an awning.
If your neighboring buildings are taller than yours, then people higher up can look down onto your balcony and see some of the items you keep there. They can also stare at you anytime you spend outside. Installing an awning gives you privacy from the higher units next to you, while also providing some nice shade.
7. Install a light.
Don’t forget to set up scheduled or motion sensor lights on your balcony. This part of the apartment is often overlooked, giving burglars a nice dark place to squat while jimmying open your balcony door.
8. Reinforce the sliding door.
If you have a sliding glass door on your balcony, make sure you reinforce it by putting a wood or metal rod in the runner. This way, even if a burglar breaks your lock, they won’t be able to open the door.
9. Don’t take phone calls on the balcony.
Without even realizing it, you may take your phone calls out onto the balcony. But if you’re discussing private matters, like your finances, purchases or health, anybody can hear that. Stay inside and out of earshot anytime you’re on the phone.
10. Don’t keep any luxury balcony furniture.
Save the luxury furniture for inside of your apartment. Deluxe balcony furniture is a bright signal to burglars that you have more valuables inside.
Take the right steps so that your balcony is just a nice place for respite and fresh air, and not a target for intruders.