Home safety and security is important wherever you live, especially if you’re an apartment dweller. Apartments can be easy for burglars to access if residents aren’t security conscious.
A deadbolt increases your safety
Make sure you have a deadbolt lock with a solid door frame. Replace any spring-latch type locks as they are easy for burglars to unlock. Many thieves have perfected the art of “loiding.” Loiding is a technique they use where they simply slip a plastic card, such as a credit card, against the latch tongue in order to depress it. Therefore, having a good deadbolt lock can offset this type of activity. However, if there is enough space between the door and frame, a burglar can still gain access with a hacksaw or power tools. Nevertheless, this type of activity takes a little bit of time, which isn’t exactly beneficial to an intruder.
Don’t announce it to the world if you live alone or when you’re away
If you live alone, you don’t need to announce the fact to strangers. Therefore, don’t put your first name on your mailbox. Label your mailbox so that only your last name appears. If you live in a building where you buzz people in, don’t allow anyone you don’t know to pass through the door. Instead, refer them to the manager. Also, if you plan to be on vacation, put a hold on your mail until you return. Never leave any notes to friends, workmen or family members on your door.
Install a solid core wood door
If the entrance door to your apartment has a hollow core, have a solid core wood door installed instead. If there is too much room between an existing door and its frame, reinforce it by using a panel of 3/4-inch plywood and attach it to the door. Make sure if you have a door with hinges on the outside that you remove the door and reset the hinges so they are set on the inside. Any door hinges on the outside make it easy for a burglar to simply remove the hinge pins and gain entry into your apartment.
Secure your sliding door and windows
Protect your windows by installing one or more solid locks and burglar-resistant glass. Install a portable door and window alarms or a removable wireless system. Add a locking sliding window bolt on any sliding windows. It will deter a burglar’s efforts even if he breaks the glass. You can also make it harder for a thief to gain access if you set a metal bar on the inside bottom track and any sliding doors or windows.
Make sure certain areas are well-lit and smoke detectors work
Make certain areas, such as stairwells, entryways and parking lots have sufficient light. If they don’t, report the problem to the management. Also, check out the smoke detectors in the common areas and make sure they’re in working order. Do the same for the smoke detectors in your apartment as well. Make sure you have enough light in each room, especially the hallway and entryway.
Using the intercom
Consistently using your apartment’s intercom is one of the best ways to improve apartment safety. Understanding how intercoms work, and how to best use them to control who comes into your building, should be a top priority.
Among the first things you should do when renting an apartment is test the intercom and buzzer. Check to see that the buzzer outside the front door sounds in your apartment when someone presses it. When pressing the buttons on the intercom, the person on the other end should be clearly audible; and they should be able to hear you, too. Test the button that unlocks the front door. If any of these items is malfunctioning, have your landlord commit to fixing them, in writing, before signing the lease,
After moving in, establish a plan for using the intercom to screen visitors. Your plan should include checking the front door area to see if there is a safe way to verify the identity of someone you’re unsure of. Many buildings have glass doors or windows which allow you to see who is standing outside your front door. If possible, find a way to view the person outside without letting them see you. Criminals sometimes ring buzzers to determine who is home. This allows them to monitor your movements so that they can return when you’re away to break into your apartment.
Each time you answer the buzzer, ask who is there before buzzing them in. Make a habit of doing this even when you’re expecting someone. Never assume that you know who is ringing your buzzer.
If the person at the other end asks who you are, don’t tell them. They should know who you are, if they have a legitimate reason to ring your buzzer. Respond by asking them who they are looking for. If they can’t prove that they know you and that you should know them, refuse to let them in.
If they persist, call 9-1-1!
Never let anyone in because they say that they’re visiting another apartment. Instruct them to buzz the other apartment. If they claim that the other buzzer isn’t working, call or knock on that apartment’s door to alert them of a visitor. Even when visitors identify themselves as being from a legitimate delivery company, don’t take it for granted that they really are legit.
If not, go to the front door to see who is there. By remembering to use the intercom to screen visitors, you can keep strangers out of your building and greatly enhance your safety.
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If you need to have your intercom, doors, locks or windows verified please contact Tandem CDN/NDG (514-736-2732) for a FREE visit.