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Apartment Security

Apartment security should begin from the moment you start to look at potential apartments. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you are inspecting for the first time:

  • Are all entrances key-controlled?
  • Is the lighting adequate especially at entrances and in any parking lot?
  • Do the apartments all have deadbolt locks and viewers?
  • Does the manager seem responsible and concerned about security?
  • Will the manager allow you to change or re-key the locks?

While living in an apartment, there are several things that you and your children should be aware of:

  • Use only the initial of your first name with your surname on the name plate or intercom board or even a male name (M. Smith instead of Ms Smith or Mary Smith).
  • Report all suspicious activity to the building manager.
  • Don't hold the door open for strangers or buzz them in if they ring your apartment. Tell them to buzz the manager. Never announce that you are home alone. Make sure you tell your children about this.
  • Report all burnt light bulbs in the building and on the street, insisting that they be replaced immediately.
  • Don't rely on door chains; they can be forced or opened with special tools.
  • If you lose your keys along with identification, change your locks immediately.security sign
  • Burglars main entry point for apartments is the patio door, especially for first or second floor apartments. Secure these doors with a stop bar constructed by cutting a piece of wood just shorter than the width of one of the doors and placed on the inside track with the door closed. Or drill a hole in the frame and insert a double-headed nail. Windows should be secured in a similar fashion.
  • Storage lockers should not be used to store valuables.
  • Make sure that the manager does not store ladders outside the building.
  • If you find someone in your apartment, stay out of their way and GET OUT as soon as possible. Then call the police. If, upon arrival, you find your door broken into, do not enter your apartment. A trapped person can become very dangerous.
  • Don't keep large amounts of cash in your apartment.
  • Try to time your laundry so that you can do it at the same time as another tenant that you know.
  • Seek to befriend your neighbors; get to know other tenants establishing an informal buddy system.
  • If you see any suspicious persons in the parking lot, drive away. Don't park.
  • Keep the phone number of the police by the telephone.
  • Don't get into an elevator if you have bad "vibes" about other occupants. When in the elevator, stay next to the control panel and know where the alarm button is.
  • Invest in an alarm system. If you can't afford that, at least put a fake alarm sign on your door; not too big - something that looks natural. Burglars are not usually college graduates and they scare easily so even a fake sign will deter 90% of the wannabe break-and-enters. Another option is a beware of the dog sign but that is less effective in an apartment building as if there is no canine response to a door handle shake or quiet knock, the ruse is uncovered.

Published: Friday, October 20, 2006
Last updated: Monday, December 03, 2012