1115 Locust Street, 4th Floor
St. Louis, Missouri 63101
(888) 231-0970 (toll free)
|Studies show criminals
are uniquely attracted to apartment complexes. These
properties offer plenty of potential targets and victims for
to commit crime.
Tenants of apartment communities pay
a premium to have a professional
maintenance staff take care of every day repairs and basic
measures. These repairs and measures are often overlooked
or ignored by the
apartment staff, however. Criminals seek out apartments that
are poorly run
and maintained. The following checklist is designed to help
you assess the
risks associated with a particular apartment complex.
When renting the apartment
- Insist on an upper level apartment.
- Reflect on how you were screened by management when applying
for the apartment. Although it may seem to be an inconvenience
to you, if the apartment is screening you thoroughly, they
are probably doing the same to your prospective neighbors.
- Test and examine each latch, lock, window and door. Look
to see if there are solid core doors, 180° peep holes
on entry doors, and securely fastened window locks.
- Ask to see actual work orders that show the lock to your
apartment was actually re-keyed or changed so you are assured
the prior tenant's key will not unlock your door.
- If there are sliding glass doors, insist on secondary
locking devices, such as "Charley Bars" pin-locking
mechanisms or anti-lift measures to prevent the door from
being lifted from the tracks.
- Ask who has master keys to your apartment. If they are
unable to answer the question or there is little understanding
on management's part of key control systems, you should
be wary of the number of master keys lost, not returned
by former employees or simply unaccounted for.
- Ask specific questions about crime on the complex itself.
Do not accept vague answers from your leasing agent ("We
really don't have problems here" or "Crime can
happen anywhere"). If unsatisfied with your leasing
agent's answer, ask local law enforcement officials for
crime information for the complex.
- Ask about security at the complex. Often apartment management
will refer to apartment security officers as "Courtesy
Officers." Find out the hours the security personnel
work and make a point to introduce yourself to these employees.
You might ask if the security lives on site or if it is
a contract security service. This information may provide
you with contact information to utilize when necessary.
- Drive through the apartment community during the evening
hours to see what level of control is maintained by management
personnel. Are there people loitering about the premises?
What kind of people will you have as neighbors? This is
usually the best time to see the complex in action. During
the day, tenants are at work, the complex is quiet and apartment
managers see to it that the complex is at its best in order
to attract prospective tenants. You should know what the
complex is like after the apartment personnel goes home
for the evening.
Once you have rented
- The most common crimes in apartments are burglaries. Violence
can result if a tenant returns home during a burglary. If
you come home and believe someone has unlawfully entered
your apartment, DO NOT GO INSIDE. Go to a safe place and
call for assistance.
- Make sure you always lock your door when leaving even
for a short time. Frequently, sexual assault reports result
from tenants leaving a door open for a brief moment to grab
groceries from their car. It only takes a moment for a criminal
to enter your apartment and hide with you unaware.
- Try to use common area laundry facilities during high-traffic
hours. Do not feel compelled to change laundry if your common
sense tells you to stay away from an empty laundry room.
- Get to know your neighbors and watch out for each other.
- Women living alone should not post their full names on
a mailbox, doorbell or directory listing. Make up additional
names for apartment directories to give the appearance that
you have roommates. Use your initial only for first names.
- On outgoing voicemail boxes or answering machines, instead
of saying "I am not home" tell the caller "We
are not home," again giving the appearance that you
do not live alone.