Tips on Apartment Security
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Just like Neighborhood Watch, members of an Apartment Watch learn how to make their homes more secure, watch out for each other and their community, and report crime and suspicious activities to the police. Here are some ways to get an Apartment Watch going and growing.
- Help arrange with local police for apartment security surveys and Operation Identification.
- Organize citizen patrols to walk around the apartment complex and alert police to crime and suspicious activities. Don't forget to patrol parking lots, stairways, laundry rooms, and playgrounds.
- Publish a newsletter that gives local crime news, recognizes Apartment Watch captains, and highlights community activities.
- Organize a reception in the lobby of your building or a cookout on common property so neighbors can get to know one another.
- Keep pressure on management to make sure it provides adequate security.
- Start a Safe Haven Program for children -- places where they can go in emergency or scary situations.
- Check the complex on a regular basis for problems such as burned-out light bulbs, dark corridors, uncollected trash, or broken locks on mailboxes and doors. Report problems to the building manager.
- Organize meetings to brainstorm how you can help each other, such as starting an escort service for the elderly or after-school care for children.
- Does your entry door have a deadbolt lock and peephole?
- Does your sliding glass door have wooden rod in the track so it can't be opened and pins in the overhead frame so it can't be lifted out?
- Does your landlord or building manager tightly control all keys?
- For extra security, leave a radio playing or a light on when you are gone. Always tell your neighbors and the building manager when you leave for a business trip or vacation.
Checkout Your Building
- Is there some kind of control who enters and leaves the building?
- Are walkways, entrances, stairways, parking areas, elevators, hallways, laundry rooms and storage areas well-lighted, 24 hours a day?
- Are fire stairs locked from the stairwell side above the ground floor, so you exit but no one can enter?
- Are things well-maintained...are burnt out lights fixed promptly, shrubs trimmed, trash and snow removed?
- Are mailboxes in a well-lighted, well-traveled area and do they good locks?
Checkout the Neighbors
- Get to know your neighbors. Join or organize an Apartment Watch Group so neighbors can look out for and help each other.
- If you live in a large building or complex, think about a tenant patrol that watches for crime around the building, provides escort services for the elderly and handicapped, and monitors comings and goings in the lobby.
- Work with landlords to sponsor social events for the tenants...a Sunday breakfast, a picnic, a Halloween party.
- Look beyond problems to root causes...does your building need a better playground, a social evening for teens, a tenant association, new landscaping, a basketball hoop? Work with the landlord for changes that make everyone proud of where they live.
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