Security Advice for Renters
People who live in apartment or condominium complexes probably do not concern themselves with home security as much as people who live in standalone homes. This is because many apartment and condo complexes are secured with an outside door that is either staffed by a doorman or requires a key. Many complexes have a buzzer system that requires visitors to buzz up to the person they are visiting to get permission to enter.
However, even with these security features, there are many factors that actually make apartments and condos less secure than private homes. First, neighbors are less likely to get to know each other because they typically don’t live there as long as in neighborhoods. So, you really don’t know the people around you and what they are capable of. In addition, in many rental units, you are not allowed to install a home security system, which makes watching over your property harder. Of course, some renters just assume they can’t install one, so if you haven’t asked your landlord yet, be sure to inquire as to whether or not you can install a home security system because that is the best way to guard against crime.
All apartment complexes should hold monthly resident meetings where security is discussed. This will allow you the opportunity to get to know more of your neighbors and to foster a sense of community. This kind of relationship often makes people keep a better eye on their neighbors’ property. At these meetings, come prepared with a list of security concerns that you can discuss because that is the forum where you can decide as a community how to make the complex safer.
You should always change the locks when you first move in. Usually, the landlord does this for you and at no charge to you. You will also want to ask if you can install a deadbolt lock with a minimum 1-inch throw if one does not already exist. If you have sliding glass doors in your apartment or condo, be sure you keep them locked and that you insert a bar in the track to keep them from being opened from the outside.
Do not allow people you do not know to enter the complex. If you have a buzzer system, do not buzz in anyone you do not personally know, since this will keep people who aren’t supposed to be there from cruising the halls looking for doors that have been left unlocked. In fact, many burglars will simply hit all the buzzers on the outside panel, hoping that someone will simply let them in. Do not be the person who does that.
Apartment and condo security takes everybody’s attention. If even one resident is lax about who they let into the building, it could lead to trouble for other residents. If you are a renter, take home security into your hands and start making your complex a better place to live.
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