Apartment Safe
ty and Security

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 those looking to commit crime.

Tenants of apartment communities pay a premium to have a professional maintenance staff take care of every day repairs and basic security 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.
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