Rental Property Security
The reduction of crimes committed at apartments and against apartment dwellers must be a cooperative effort. The residents, management, maintenance staff, and police working together is the only sensible answer. Getting to know the other tenants in your apartment complex is essential. After you have met them, make a personal list for future use.
Crime Prevention Tips for Apartment Dwellers
- Good security for the downstairs main entrance of an apartment building is not guaranteed protection against intruders; it is merely a first line of defense. Although good security at the main entrance is vital, it is also extremely important to secure other vulnerable areas as well.
- Secure all windows. Make sure to include bathroom windows and other small windows.
- Never depend on a chain lock to secure your doors to the outside. Always install a good deadbolt lock. The key cylinder should be changed within the lock if the keys are lost and they clearly identify the location of your building or apartment. This should also be done if the apartment was formerly occupied and you are the new tenant. Refrain from having too many extra keys made - and never lend out the master key.
- In addition to locks, install a "peephole" (wide-angle viewer) on your outside doors. Use your peephole to "interview" strangers at your door. Be extremely cautious of any salespeople or workers (from the cable company or gas company, for example) that show up without you having called them. Ask all salesmen, solicitors, and information seekers to produce valid credentials (driver's license and employee ID) and call the company to double-check their legitimacy. Any stranger who does not cooperate should be reported to the police as a potential threat.
- The posting of "No Soliciting" signs can greatly reduce the number of unauthorized individuals wandering through a complex. Unauthorized foot traffic in common areas can also be discouraged by the use of front and back gates with spring closers. Also, if your building has an intercom system, use it wisely. If you do not know the person who rang your intercom, do not "buzz" them in - even if they claim to be a friend of another tenant.
- Cooperate with all other tenants in keeping the outer main doors locked. Do not permit strangers to enter the building as you are leaving or entering. The main entrance front door is a critical area for security. There must be a building policy that requires all nonresidents to be screened outside the main entrance door by the tenant who is being visited to prevent unauthorized access.
- Do not place your full name on the identification slot, mailbox, or in the telephone directory. Use first and middle initials. For example, use "J.T. Smith" rather than John Taylor Smith. Also, do not leave messages or notes for the postman, paperboy, or manager advertising your absence. Have deliveries picked up by a friend or neighbor while on vacation.
- Be careful in carport areas. Lock your car. When entering or leaving, look around and make sure that no one is lurking in the area. If you do see someone loitering, leave immediately and notify the manager and/or the police. If there is a storage compartment in the carport, don't place valuable items in them. Do not expect your items in these storage areas to be very secure. Use a good quality padlock and have well-secured hasp attachments.
- Security lighting is an important aspect of security in the carport, as well as the stairwell, alley, recreation room, patio, and other common areas - both inside and out. Bulbs should be of adequate wattage and burned-out bulbs should be replaced promptly.
- Avoid using the laundry room in your apartment complex by yourself, especially at night. Develop a buddy system. A well-organized and active tenant association is always very helpful, as are active Neighborhood Watch groups.