Apartment security is very important. You need more than just a roof over your head; you need to feel safe and to know that your belongings are secure. Checking out the security features of a building is a key component of apartment hunting.
Learn about the building: Does the superintendent live in the complex? If not, what kind of a presence does the management company have? How accessible is its personnel? Is there a security system and, if so, how closely is it monitored? Is the building well-lit at night? Are the doors — both the exterior ones and the ones to the units — solid?
How effective are the locks? If there’s a controlled entry that’s meant to provide security for tenants, is it propped open so that anyone can come and go? Does the landscaping around the building obscure parts of it? That is, does it offer cover for someone who’s up to no good?
Your landlord is required to provide you with a safe environment. You can make sure he or she does so. If you ask for an area of the complex to be better lit or a security door repaired, do it diplomatically and be appreciative when the landlord complies.
Introduce yourself to your neighbors. If there’s a security system that requires those without keys to request entry, then help ensure the safety of your neighbors as well as your own by never buzzing in a stranger. Make sure that the door to your suite has not only an effective deadbolt, but a peephole as well.
Try to use laundry room and other common facilities with a neighbor, rather than alone. Single women, in particular, shouldn’t have their full names listed on apartment intercom systems or mailboxes. Or in the phone book. Use initials, or consider inventing another half of a ‘couple’ for such purposes.
Make arrangements with a neighbor you trust to keep each other’s spare keys, collect each other’s mail when you’re away and, possibly, deal with such issues as deliveries or appliance repair if you’re not able to be home. Be aware that basement suites and those on the ground and lower levels are generally more vulnerable to burglary than those higher up.
If, despite taking all reasonable precautions to ensure your safety, you’re still concerned, you should consider talking to a home security company about a system for your apartment.