In an open society your apartment should be the sanctuary for you and your family. Your apartment is the only environment where you have control over who can get close to you or your family. Protecting your apartment and family from criminal intrusion should be high on your list of priorities. But before you make a big purchase on a security system, take a good hard look around your home. A few simple, low- or no-cost measures will significantly deter thief away from targeting your home. “The goal in home security is to make it so that the casual burglar will be deterred”.
HOLD A HOUSEHOLD MEETING
Make home security a habit, with every member of the household—including kids—agreeing to a routine that should include such simple rules as:
- Use door and window locks. It costs nothing and takes little energy. Make it a habit to lock every door and window when leaving, after entering, and before bedtime.
- Do not open the door to uninvited or unwelcome visitors.
- Close and lock the garage door.
- Secure your home even if you’re doing work around the house and yard.
- Use your alarm system all the time, even when you take a quick trip to the store or visit next-door neighbors.
INSTALLATION OF CCTV CAMERA
Having a security camera can be a deterrent for burglars and other intruders. Some of them are bold enough to try to enter the house when you are home while others lurk around and wait for you to leave. Having a security camera is a way to keep them away from your home. If they are bold enough to enter the house anyway, the security cameras can help law enforcement identify the intruders and find them.
ORGANIZE A BURGLARY ALARM SYSTEM
Alarm systems definitely have a place in an apartment security plan and are effective, if used properly. The reason why alarms systems deter burglaries is because they increase the potential and fear of being captured and arrested by the police. Apartment burglars will usually bypass a unit with visible alarm decals and will look for another property without such a decal. Some people, with alarm systems, feel that these signs and decals are unsightly and will not display them. The risk here is that an uninformed burglar might break a window or door and grab a few quick items before the police can respond. Also, don’t write your alarm passcode on or near the alarm keypad.
Alarm systems need to be properly installed and maintained. All systems should have an audible horn or bell to be effective in case someone does break in. However, these audible alarms should be programmed to reset automatically after one minute. The criminal will get the message and will be long gone without your neighbors having to listen to your alarm siren for hours, until it is switched off. If you use a central station to monitor your alarm, make sure your response call list is up to date. You can also consider buying a GSM alarm. This will automatically alert you and the responders However, if you have established and nurtured your neighborhood watch buddy system, you will experience a genuine concern by your neighbor. It is not unusual to have a neighbor wait for the police, allow them inside for an inspection, and secure the residence. A good neighbor can also call friends or relatives for you, if pre-authorized by you.
ADD FOREBODING SIGN
Post security-company signs or window stickers near all entryways—whether you have a security system or not. Maybe you have signs/stickers on hand from a previous contract with a security firm, or maybe you can get some from a friend. In addition, post a few warning like “Beware of Dog” signs in visible spots, say at the front of the house or on a gate to the backyard.
LIGHT UP THE OUTDOORS
If you don’t have them already, buy and install outdoor lighting with infrared motion sensors and install one near each point of entry. Replace any burned-out light bulbs and put your porch lights on timers. Find the best bulbs for outdoor uses.
Are the window locks operable? If not, get them fixed or replace them. Also consider installing aftermarket window locks, which let you open the window a few inches while still keeping it secure. Another alternative is to use inexpensive window-break alarms
Be a Good Neighbor
Good neighbors should look out for each other. Get to know your neighbors on each side of your apartment and the three directly across from you. Invite them into your apartment, communicate often, and establish trust. Good neighbors will watch out for your apartment and vehicle when you are away, if you ask them. They can report suspicious activity to management, to the police, or to you while you are away. Between them, good neighbors can see to it that normal services continue in your absence by allowing authorized vendors to enter your apartment.
Good neighbors can pick up your mail, newspapers, handbills, and can inspect the inside of your apartment periodically to see that all is well. Allowing a neighbor or management to have a key solves the problem of hiding a key outside the door. Experienced burglars know how to look for hidden keys in planter boxes, under doormats, and above the ledge. Requiring a service vendor to contact your neighbor to gain access will send the message that someone is watching. This neighborhood watch technique sets up what is called ‘territoriality.’ This means that your neighbors will take ownership and responsibility for what occurs in your mini-neighborhood. This concept works great in apartment communities. This practice helps deter burglaries and other crimes in a big way. Of course for this to work, you must reciprocate and offer the same services.
The biggest difficulty getting to this level of oversight is taking the first step. You can take it by calling your local crime prevention unit at the police department. Most police departments in large cities have neighborhood watch coordinators to help you set this up. You should invite your adjacent neighbors over to your home for coffee and begin the information exchange. You’ll be amazed how the process runs on automatic from there.