Apartment Security Tips
Last updated in May 2015
Special concerns and resources pertain to apartment dwellers.
Doorperson. Buildings with security personnel posted at the front entrance are safer. While doorpersons are generally not trained as security guards, they monitor the comings and goings of residents and their guests, and their physical presence deters would-be thieves.
Call box. If your building does not have a reliable call box system, ask management to install one. Guests use call boxes to call the person they are visiting to get “buzzed in.” Call boxes make it easier to distinguish between legitimate guests and others. In buildings with call boxes, guests generally will not be waiting for someone entering or exiting the building to be admitted.
Entrance etiquette. Most apartment dwellers are familiar with the often awkward etiquette of entering and exiting their buildings. Do you hold the door open for someone right behind as you enter or exit? If someone is waiting at the front door (perhaps even using the call box), do you let the person in? Unless you know the person, it’s better to close the door behind you without letting him or her in. This is easier in theory than in practice, however, since closing the door on someone—even a stranger—comes off as rude. But this is a security issue, and a simple “Nothing personal, but I can’t let you in” should suffice.
Get to know your neighbors. Find out whether there is a neighborhood watch group; many buildings have their own.
Get a security audit. Ask your local police department to perform a security audit of your building. If there are weaknesses, such as poor lighting around an entrance, the officer will write them up and submit them to the building manager or owner.
Consider using security devices. There are inexpensive do-it-yourself ways to secure your apartment, such as wireless motion detectors that you arm at night for the front entrance area. You can also attach wireless contact sensors to vulnerable windows or doors.
Remain vigilant. Never assume that your building’s hallways are any safer than the streets outside. Always lock your front door and avoid poorly lit spaces and communal areas—such as laundry rooms—late at night.