Learn from crime victims about security products for burglary prevention:Serial killer Danny Rolling was peeping in an apartment’s rear windows waiting for Tracy Paules and Manny Taboada to go to sleep. He quietly pried open their sliding door and stabbed them to death.
Finding a new apartment swamps you with the usual things like cost, location, etc. and you'll forget to check deeper into the most important things: security, and the type of neighbors. Even one bad neighbor can make you miserable. And even one breach of your security can be dangerous.
• Many landlords do not provide security products beyond the bare minimum and are also lax in enforcing security rules. And find out if they run background checks on all new tenants. You can check yourself for registered sex offenders living nearby at FamilyWatchdog.us.
• What is their access control on strangers entering the main lobby door when tenants are coming in or out?
• Tour a prospective apartment in the evening to check for good lighting in entrances, hallways, carports, and the laundry room.
• Look for secure doors and entries as described in door reinforcement.
• Do they re-key your entry door deadbolt when you move in? See Vivian's horror story at Home Security - Cracks to see why.
• Ask tenants how they feel about security. And are they friendly?
• Call the local police and talk to the community officer for that neighborhood to see how often police are called to that building.
If you've already moved in, develop:
Form a tenant network (see Neighborhood Watch in Home Security - Neighbors). All tenants must be careful as they come and go to not allow an intruder to enter – as well as be vigilant about intercom buzz-ins at the main entrance. And as a group you’ll have a collective weight for petitioning your landlord to enact reasonable security measures, such as:
• Alarms: for any outside fire escapes you might have (wired to the drop-down ladder).
• Window-guards for windows accessible to a burglar’s climbing, or opening onto an outside fire escape. Decorative folding grills do effectively fortify, but by law must be easily opened by residents and guests so they can escape a fire.
• Convex Mirrors reveal anyone lurking around corners or nooks.
• Kids distributing restaurant ads can get inside “secure” apartment buildings by using the intercom to fool a tenant into buzzing them in. Criminals can, too. See Elevator Security in Apartment Security.
• If anyone knocks on your door, never open it (not even an inch) unless you're sure you know the visitor well. Get a portable wireless intercom.
• If you see or hear anything suspicious, call police and your apartment manager. Talk to your Neighborhood Watch allies.
• Door-Stop Alarm – a door wedge (both a siren and a physical barrier to
forced entry) will slow unwanted entry, alert you, and likely scare off
• Doorknob Alarm.
• Door-brace: leans diagonally from the floor to the door.
• Intercom to know who's knocking at your door before you open it.
• Window alarms
• DIY Home Security Systems protect your apartment with no monthly fees.
• See Safe Room to create a simple bedroom fortress.