Apartment buildings are just as vulnerable to break-ins and theft as other homes. Poor safety and security habits could put your whole building at risk. Most offenders are opportunists, and search for quick, easy entry and exit points.
In Canberra, property and goods kept in storage cages or vehicles in undercroft garages are common targets for thieves. Bicycles and other items not secured on balconies (on any level, not just on the lower levels) are also easy to steal.
Because of the nature of multi-residential living, it is easy to overlook the benefits of knowing your neighbour. If you and your neighbour are aware of each other’s regular movements, you can help prevent crime by being alert to anything out of the ordinary.
If you have any security concerns regarding common areas, you should raise these with your strata manager
Tips to protect your apartment building and property
The whole building is at risk if an intruder gains access through an undercroft garage or building entrance.
- Don’t let strangers into your building either through the intercom system or following you through the secure doors/elevators/stairs.
- Beware of any suspicious people lurking near the entrance and check to see who is driving in behind you as you enter the garage.
- Check the garage door closes completely so potential offenders can’t sneak in.
- Familiarise yourself with traffic within the building and report anything that appears suspicious or unusual.
- Ask your Strata Management to set up a code word to be used by residents of the building to identify people entering the building behind you.
- Ask your Strata Management to install CCTV cameras in common areas and to display signs.
Vehicles and bikes
- The Lock and hide to protect your ride and Lock it or lose it tips apply to cars and bikes parked in a shared apartment garage.
- Always lock your vehicle and remove any valuables, including your garage door remote.
- If you have a motorbike or bicycle, its best to cover it when in a shared garage, so people are less likely to see what you have or draw attention to it. Use strong locks and anchor it to the ground or at least secure the wheels.
- Use heavy duty locks on your storage cage.
- Cover up your belongings by setting up a cover or tarp so your property cannot be seen from outside your storage cage.
Balcony and apartment security
Living several floors up doesn’t make your home secure from intruders. Many high-rise break-ins occur by intruders climbing apartment building balconies and entering through unlocked balcony doors or windows. On lower levels, goods and bicycles left unsecured can be common targets.
- Lock balcony doors and windows at all times, even when you’re at home. For a cheap quick fix, a piece of dowel in a window or sliding door runner can be just as effective as a lock.
- Don’t leave your keys or wallet near the balcony door where burglars could see them or smash a glass panel and reach them. Wallets and cards are a quick win for burglars and more offenders are breaking into homes to grab car keys so they can steal your car.
- Most homes that are broken into do not have a security alarm. An alarm system could help protect your home and they come with a range of features to suit different budgets.
- Place stickers and signs around your home to warn burglars of an alarm system or Neighbourhood Watch.
- Install sensor lights that turn on with movement.
- Check your outside lights, windows and door locks regularly to ensure they are operating correctly.
- Keep valuables somewhere hard to find. Burglars often target jewellery in jewellery boxes on bedroom dressers and other valuables in bedside drawers and cupboards.
- Never leave keys in your mailbox. Leave them with a trusted neighbour or friend or invest in a good quality lock box/key safe.
- Mark your property using an engraver, ultraviolet (UV) pen or microdots.
If you do hear an intruder in the apartment, don’t risk it. Leave the complex immediately and go to a safe place. Call Triple Zero (000) and wait for the police.
If your apartment is broken into report it:
- Take note of all missing items and any potential ways the offender may have gained entry.
- You will need a copy of the police report and/or a case number to provide to your insurance company.
- When you call police ask them what you can and cannot touch.
- Check all locks and consider if you need to replace the locks on your doors and windows.
- Police Assistance on 131 444 to report a crime that it is NOT life threatening or a time critical emergency.
- Triple Zero 000 in an emergency or life-threatening situation.
- Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 to report information about illegal activity, suspicious activity or information which may assist in solving a crime.
If you need assistance to make your home more secure you may be eligible for assistance from the SafeHome Program funded by ACT Government.
The SafeHome Program aims to improve home security for households in the ACT that are vulnerable to property crime.
A trained assessor offers face to face home safety assessments in the home to victims of property crime, vulnerable families / persons at risk and can make minor modifications to eligible residences.
Free practical workshops are available for community groups, presenting low cost ideas and strategies to improve home security.
If you are interested in an home security assessment or involved in a group that would like to discuss security, contact the SafeHome team at SupportLink on 1300 656 200 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Source of article – ACT Policing