Whether you are looking to downscale to a new place or if you are moving into your first flat, there are several easy steps you can take to ensure your safety.
“Living in an apartment block brings some unique challenges to consider when looking at security ideas. Fortunately, there is a lot that you can do to make sure that no unwanted visitors can gain access to your personal space,” says Charnel Hattingh, Head of Marketing and Communications for armed response company Fidelity ADT.
Most crimes are opportunistic acts, she adds. It means that criminals look for what they perceive to be easy or ‘soft’ targets. In an apartment block, they could potentially make it all the way to right outside your front door with no one noticing their presence.
“A key difference between the security plan for a house compared to one for a flat, is the number of access or exit points. The physical nature of an apartment means there are fewer access and exit points to secure than with an average house,” says Hattingh.
Before you move into your new block, carefully consider where in the building your flat will be located. A corner apartment on the ground floor, for example, carries the risk of being broken into from the two sides of exposure. By having neighbours on either side, it means you would most likely only have to worry about your front door and the windows as possible access points.
“Next step in protecting yourself against a criminal, is to think like a criminal,” says Hattingh. They are looking for easy opportunities, and therefor the advice is to remove those opportunities.
Never leave valuable items lying around the flat, especially not close to an open window where someone can easily grab it and run away. A small safe for the bedroom can hide valuables out of sight.
There are many affordable security systems that could be purchased in shops, which offer basic alert and detection functionality. “These systems will at least make a noise if anyone enters your apartment, whereas a professional system will alert armed response companies to come your aid,” says Hattingh.
A CCTV camera or even a device that transmits a video feed to your cellphone can add another layer of security, and potentially serve as a deterrent. The same can be said for wireless video doorbells.
Your neighbour, says Hattingh, is also an important ally in keeping the building safe. “This type of ‘buddy system’ means you can look out for one another, especially if an apartment is standing empty during the day.”
She also recommends talking to the body corporate before you move in, to find out what other security measures have been installed such as access control at the main entrance. If needed, they could invite an armed response company to visit the building and carry out a security assessment.