After a particularly hairy subway ride this evening, I was thankful to return home to my quiet, empty apartment. But, with my boyfriend out for a drink with friends, as I entered, I couldn’t help but peer into the darkness, momentarily concerned about what or who might be greeting me once I entered.
I’ve never been robbed, knock wood! And, yet, living in a big city like New York, yes, I am sometimes afraid of the dark.
Fortunately, I picked an apartment that’s safely secured (hello, deadbolt!), so aside from a split-second worry, I rarely even think about my safety. But, that’s also because I put in some dedicated work at the front end of my apartment search.
Our friends at SpyTown.com volunteered to help us put together a short checklist for things to think about to make sure you don’t need to sleep with the lights on.
1) How strong are the exterior doors in your apartment? Take a look at the doors in your apartment – they should be structurally sound, and durable enough to withstand someone kicking them in. (There’s a truly scary thought!)
2) Exterior doors should have a one inch deadbolt. The most common entryway for bad guys is actually the front door, and since locks aren’t burglar-proof, experts recommend a one inch deadbolt to deter thieves.
3) Does your front door have a peephole? Most apartment doors come equipped with a peephole, so you never have to open the door without knowing who’s behind it. And if your peephole is painted over (a fairly common problem), make sure your super clears it. (If you live in a particularly sketchy neighborhood, you may even consider adding a security camera.)
4) Change the locks! Your landlord should change the locks after each tenant has moved out, so make sure it gets done. You don’t want anyone wandering around with your keys in hand.
5) Window locks should be functional. Window locks can easily break, and you may never even think to have them repaired. Check all the windows and make sure they’re not only equipped with locks, but with locks that are actually functional.
6) We know it’s NYC, but…well-lit entranceway is a must. Your apartment should have lights near the entranceway, as well as in shared hallways and stairs.
7) Scout the parking spaces. Unfortunate incidents can happen at all hours of the day, and you might not have your guard up as you walk from your car to your apartment.
A burglary takes place every 15 seconds in the United States. Scary stuff, but arming yourself with the apartment security know-how goes a long way in helping you feel safe at home in your new apartment.
For an even more comprehensive new apartment checklist see 10 items to check before moving in.
Have any of you been the subject of a burglary or an unwanted visitor?