While apartment living in in any city offers many advantages, residents should be aware of the potential security problems involved.
Before committing yourself to a particular apartment, try to ensure that:
- All locks on the apartment doors offer good security, and the cores of the locks will be changed when you move in.
- The doors of the apartment have peephole viewers.
- The hallways are well lit, and no bulbs are missing or burned out.
- There are mirrors at bends in the corridors to prevent someone from waiting unseen.
- The intercom buzzer system for the front door works properly.
- Mailboxes show no evidence of tampering.
- All exterior doors and locks are in good working order.
- All windows accessible from ground level are protected by bars.
(Make sure that the bars or grating can be opened from the inside in the event of a fire, and that you will be given a key, if one is required.)
- All fire escapes are alarmed or enclosed to prevent unauthorized access.
- Trees and bushes near the building are not overgrown, and bushes are kept below window height.
- Garage doors are kept locked, and are controlled by either a key or magnetic card.
Once you've chosen an apartment, and have moved in:
- Never leave your apartment door unlocked, even while taking out the trash. You may find someone walting inside when you get back!
- If required to give the superintendent a key to your apartment for emergency use, seal it in an envelope and sign your name across the flap with your signature overlapping onto the body of the envelope. This will deter against tampering. Periodically ask to see the envelope.
- Make an effort to meet your neighbors. Learn to look out for each other's interests. Know who "belongs."
- Don't get on an elevator with a stranger. In an elevator, stand beside the control panel to have direct access to the alarm button.
- Never isolate yourself in a basement laundry room. If possible, arrange to do laundry with a neighbor.
- Never open your door to a stranger. Utility company employees can slip their IDs under tbe door. If in doubt, look up the company telephone number yourself (don't rely on a number they give you), and call to verify the information.
- Do not prop outside doors open for any reason. If you find one propped open, close and secure it.
- Use only your first initial on your doorbell and mailbox, and in the phone book.
- Immediately report any building security problems to the superintendent. Follow up to be sure the problem is corrected.
- When your apartment is unoccupied for a long period of time, leave a radio or television playing to give the impression that somebody is home.