7 Apartment Security Tips

There’s just something about a man in uniform that makes me feel safe. (It’s why Fleet Week in Manhattan is one of my all-time favorite holidays. Well, that’s one of the reasons. Seeing cute sailors on every block certainly doesn’t hurt, either.) And it’s not just me—that’s why police officers can sometimes receive discounts on their rent or mortgages. My friend, who’s on the SWAT team, was actually encouraged to leave his squad car out in his driveway of the apartment community, both to help other residents feel secure and to deter potential criminals.

It’s important that you feel safe and secure in your apartment. But what if you don’t happen to live in the same community as a police officer? Here are a few tips for apartment security.

7 Apartment Security Tips

Don’t just buzz everyone up; ask who it is first. I know I’m going to get flak from my mom about this, but sometimes when I’m waiting for food and the delivery person buzzes, I just buzz him in without asking, “Who is it?” (Although I don’t know which is going to bother my mom more, the fact that I could be letting murderers into the building who are polite enough to alert me to their arrival, or the fact that I don’t cook as often as I should.) But, seriously, it takes two seconds to check who it is. I should do it, and so should you.

Keep the window to your fire escape locked. It’s creepy to imagine someone sneaking through your window into your apartment. If you’re trying to be romantic, make like John Cusack in Say Anything by blasting Peter Gabriel from the ground (which, incidentally, is every woman’s secret wish), instead of making like Richard Gere in Pretty Woman and climbing up to the window (if you insist on being Richard Gere, you’re always welcome to act out the final scene from An Officer and a Gentleman. Or any scene from American Gigolo). Before you go to sleep or leave your apartment, make sure this window is locked and all your shades are down.

Try not to let others in the building behind you. This one might be difficult sometimes, because it’s usually not cool to slam the door in someone’s face, unless you yell, “And stay out!” right before. Then it’s OK, I think. Anyway, just use your judgment. If the person looks sketchy, or if it seems like he’s been hanging around out there for awhile but hasn’t buzzed anyone to let him in, maybe do a lap around the block or something. Hopefully he’ll be gone when you get back. When you do go in to your apartment building, always pull the door closed all the way behind you, even if no one else is there. That way someone can’t let himself in before it locks.

Thank you for delivering that crow bar I ordered!

Before you go to sleep, always lock the chain on your door. It’s easy to forget, so try to make this part of your nightly routine. Although, hopefully this routine doesn’t become too automatic for you. Once when my husband was working late, I wasn’t thinking, and accidentally put the chain on when I turned off the lights. At 2 a.m., when I was woken up to pounding on the door and yelling from the hallway, I almost called the cops on him. (Apparently I can sleep through my cell phone ringing, my apartment phone ringing, the doorbell and knocking, all of which he tried before morphing into Jack Torrance from The Shining.)

Get renters insurance. No one really wants to deal with “adult” things like insurance, but, really, renters insurance doesn’t cost that much, and it’ll protect you in case of a robbery or fire. Plus, if you have it it’s sort of like a talisman against either of those happening. After all, if you schlep an umbrella around, chances are it won’t rain. And not having insurance is tempting fate—like when you were little and everyone said it would be a snow day the next day, so you don’t do your homework that night. Then, even if you wore your pajamas inside out that night to make it snow, you’d wake up to the sun shining and your mom yelling at you to get ready for school.

Stop using Foursquare or Facebook Places when you’re out of town. I know you don’t want to risk your mayorship, but you’re pretty much announcing to all your “friends” and followers that no one will be in your apartment for awhile, and that they won’t even have to rush if they want to grab your Picassos and Rolexes. If you must post where you are at all times, at least pepper it with comments such as, “I’m sure going to miss Tiny while I’m gone. But he’s going to be so happy that he won’t have to stay in his cage. What a good doberman!”

Set up Home Alone-style booby traps. For your Rube Goldberg contraption, if someone opens the door, an iron flies down, and the door triggers  the mechanism that dumps tar and feathers on them, and they stumble forward and hit a switch that sends a boot on a string, which kicks them in the rear. Keep the change, you filthy animal! Actually, no. That’s a terrible idea. Can you imagine the clean up? Just, you know, lock your doors and check through the peephole before you open your door for anyone.

What are some of your apartment security tips?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor

Photo credit: Edw