Did you know that 1 of every 5 homes will experience a break-in or violent home invasion? And that 80 percent of break-ins occur forcibly through a locked door-and, even scarier, that a burglary occurs every 15 seconds in the United States? And if you live in an apartment, the National Crime Prevention Council says you will have an 85 percent greater chance of being burglarized than a single-family dwelling.
When looking into apartment living, consider my first six tips on apartment security, as well as the following:
- Gated access: Keypad, remote controlled and including an emergency firebox.
- Key building access: Look for a schedule that involves locking exterior doors and making sure the property is secured.
- Neighborhood watch-type programs: If a stranger is in the area or paying unwanted attention to us or the property, we call one another to decide what we may do in response. There's always strength in numbers.
- Background checks: Does the landlord do anything in regard to background checks?
- Neighborhood crime: What is the immediate neighborhood like? Are there drug houses, etc., nearby? Contact local law enforcement and ask for a record of recent crimes committed. Get some statistics. Some law enforcement agencies will be more or less cooperative. You want to know about the prevalence of violent crimes, sex offenders and theft. One of the most effective ways to get the pulse of the community is by buying the local newspaper. Reading the police blotter over a one-month period is telling.
- Interview the landlord: While the landlord may interview you, you should interview the landlord. Find out what his/her processes are for security. What is the annual investment? What is the landlord's philosophy regarding apartment security? Does the landlord even have one? What is the existing security at the property? Ask about lighting, cameras, locks on doors and windows, and whether the keys have been changed since the last tenant left.