When it comes to security apartments and standalone homes are very different. While there are some general principles that apply to both, such as getting to know your neighbors or keeping your valuables out of sight, the fact of the matter is that the open access nature of an apartment block comes with its own unique security challenges. In today’s article we wanted to take a look at some of our favorite home security tips. LockLatch is first and foremost a security product and in our day-to-day dealings with clients, security is often the topic of conversation. Needless to say we’ve picked up quite a few good tips over the years that specifically apply to people living in apartments and wanted to share them with you.
DON’T HIDE YOUR KEYS
Almost everyone has done it, you need to give someone else access to your apartment so you pop the key under the doormat, or bury it in the pot plant. The problem is almost everyone has done it, and would be burglars or opportunistic thieves know all the best hiding places. They may even have seen you hide it. If you need to give someone your keys rather leave them with security or if your apartment block doesn’t have a security desk, leave them with a trusted third party.
KEEP IT LOCKED UP
Sometimes living in an apartment complex lulls us into a false sense of security. If your apartment has security, or locked access points you might think it less necessary to keep your front door locked. Or if your window is on the second floor there is less chance of burglars and home invaders from gaining access there. In fact, often the opposite is true, apartments have more thoroughfare and as a result there is more opportunities for strangers to access the property. It is always essential to keep your apartment securely locked.
DON’T BUZZ STRANGERS IN
Speaking of strangers, many burglars gain access to apartments by walking through the front door. By ringing multiple apartments and claiming to be a neighbor who is locked out; or taking advantage of people who are already expecting someone. It is important that you first clearly ascertain the identity of the individual and ensure that they trustworthy before giving them access to your apartment block.
KEEP VALUABLES OUT OF SIGHT
This is especially true if you live on the ground floor, but as a general security tip it is always valid. Most burglaries are crimes of opportunity and not providing the temptation is often all the deterrent you need. While there may be less people looking in your windows be mindful of the times strangers do have access to your property. Maintenance, window cleaning services and repairmen are generally trustworthy, hardworking individuals, but you still shouldn’t leave your iPad out on the balcony.
EXTRA DOOR AND WINDOW LOCKS
Living on the second floor or higher might seem safer, but this can often lull you into a false sense of security. Criminals can often take advantage of fire escapes, or just skilfully scale the building to get to your open window or if they gain access to the front of the building they can walk right up to your front door. It is essential that you supplement the standard locks on your apartment door with a few contingencies. A deadbolt, or a door chain can make a huge difference, while apartment windows can be secured using a lockable window latch meaning you can leave them open for ventilation, but also locked in place to keep acrobatic burglars out.
MEET THE NEIGHBORS
Another time honored home security tip that’s even more applicable in apartments. Knowing your neighbors and having good, healthy relationships with them gives you an extra layer of security. Things like leaving a spare key with a neighbor can be a godsend in emergencies, but neighbors can also keep a watchful eye over your property. A good neighbor should be able to determine if something is not as it should be and at the very least notify you if they think something is up.
AVOID DARK “PUBLIC” AREAS
Certain apartments create unsafe spaces, these could be darkened hallways, stairwells and parking garages. For a woman on her own, even getting into the elevator with a stranger could be a nerve-wracking experience. It is important to be mindful and aware if your apartment complex has these spaces. Speak to other residents and your apartment management representative about finding a solution to the problem, whether it be lighting, better access control or security cameras.
HAVE A PEEPHOLE INSTALLED
Your front door is the last barrier between you and the outside world. If your apartment doesn’t already have one, a peephole is a great, affordable way to improve your security. Being able to positively identify someone not only ensures you only let trusted persons into your apartment, but it serves to keep opportunistic con men out.
INVEST IN HOME AUTOMATION
Home automation systems used to be single purpose switches and timers that could switch on your lights to make it look like you’re home. However, with the rise of smart home devices and the internet of things, home automation isn’t just easier than ever, it much more advanced. Smart home systems can control your TV, sound system, lights and so much more. Alexa, keep an eye on the place.
MAKE SURE YOU’RE COVERED
Despite our best efforts apartment burglaries happen. Getting a comprehensive insurance policy to cover your valuables might seem like an unnecessary expense today, but if you are one of the unlucky ones, it can be a life saver.
The most important apartment security tip we can give you is to be mindful and aware of what is going on around you. Understanding the systems and rules of your block and keeping an eye out for anything out of the ordinary allows you to immediately notice when something is out of the ordinary.
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