Buying or renting a new apartment can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. One of your biggest concerns may be whether the apartment will be safe to live in.
While many high-rise towers often come with their own security, don’t let this make you complacent. While many security measures for houses and apartments are the same – such as always keeping doors and windows locked and fitting them with quality locks – there are differences.
Follow these 7 apartment-specific security tips to give you extra peace of mind.
Visit the building at night to get a sense of how safe you would feel walking around it. Also check crime statistics for the location.
When checking out a new apartment, take note of the security measures the building has in place – especially around entrances, the carpark and common areas. Check what access control is in place (eg: key codes, key cards, smart locks or keyed locks), whether there are security cameras and adequate lighting, and if gates, entrances and car park are monitored. Also make sure the storage cages run floor to ceiling and are secured to the floor, ceiling and walls. Make sure all doors and windows in the apartment close completely, that all locks work and are unique to your apartment.
Whenever you’re entering or leaving the building, lift or carpark, look around you. Make sure no-one follows you in or sneaks in before the door closes. Never let people that you don’t know enter the building, even if they say they live there. Don’t allow delivery people to enter either – meet them at the front entrance. When entering or exiting the carpark, stop and wait until the door closes behind you before your drive on.
Unless you’re buying off the plan, most apartments have a relatively high turnover of occupants. Check with the landlord or property manager if the door locks are updated between occupants (so that past tenants aren’t wandering around with a key). If not, ask them to do so. If your apartment doesn’t have a deadbolt or digital door lock – get one) for added security. (if you rent, make sure you get approval from your landlord or owners’ corporation first.
Most apartments come with balconies or other outdoor spaces. It’s important to keep your balcony doors locked at all times – a sneaky thief may be able to climb onto your balcony and get inside.
If you have a sliding door, reinforce it with a piece of dowel or an old broom handle placed snugly into the bottom door track – this will prevent the door being slid open. You can also consider adding a patio bolt to the door for extra security.
If your storage cage is made of chain wire or welded mesh, hang a tarp, thick plastic sheeting or heavy-duty shade cloth around the inside, so people can’t see what’s inside. Consider adding self-closing hinges and an alarm, and invest in a disc lock, which is difficult to tamper with, even with bolt cutters.
Take extra precautions by not storing anything super valuable or sentimental in it – keep it locked safely in your apartment instead.
When you’re new to the complex, getting to know your neighbours can be hard – especially if some of the apartments are holiday rentals. If you can, try befriending someone who lives on the same floor as you. You can work together to keep eye on each other’s place and, if they’re a direct neighbour, they can even keep an ear out for any unusual activity or noises while you’re out or away. Building a friendly and supportive community within your apartment complex is invaluable.
As much as you want to keep intruders out, you also want to make sure you can exit the building quickly in an emergency. Make sure you know where the emergency exits are and that you have a copy of the fire escape plan. Ask the owners’ corporation if fire drills or alarm tests are run and how often. Make sure carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are installed in passageways and that they’re working.
Neighbourhood Watch Victoria acknowledges the 38 mobs, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live, and gather as employees and volunteers. We recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community and pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
At Neighbourhood Watch, we believe everyone has the right to feel safe and welcome. We are committed to ensuring diversity, inclusion and equity are embedded throughout our organisation – in the work we do, the services we deliver and among our staff, volunteers, and the communities we work with.