Apartment/Dorm Home Security

A lot of us have lived in an apartment or dorm at some time in our lives. There are a lot of benefits (no yardwork/snow shoveling) and some detractors (noisy/nosy neighbors). Having good neighbors is always helpful for your security, as is living a few stories up with a locked entry door.

What things did you do to help secure your apartment or dorm?

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When I was an undergrad, I worked as night manager (mostly security) for my dorm. I think one should really look up the crime rate specifically on campus for a lot of schools when planning on housing for their kids. Compared to the city it was in (the murder capital of the US at the time), the rape rate was much higher (and according to the reports, were usually by the ‘safe friends’ instead of someone lurking in the shadows), but other violent crimes were low. Theft was also very high.

Speaking specifically of the dorms (around campus had a different security network), personal security could be complicated as many people had room mates, and some multiple roommates. Getting to know your neighbors helped (like a community watch) as well as the Resident Assistant for your area (hence the weekly get-togethers), knowing both the dorm emergency number/pager as well as the police was important. Another factor that helped was how close your room was to the security office/desk, how isolated that area of the dorms was (sometimes good sometimes bad), and how close random entries/exits were to the outside.

I’ll add, another issue was that many students are doing things they might not be supposed to do, i.e. drinking, drugs, parties with aforementioned, etc. so security/RA relationships with students were sometimes not the best. Additionally, some RA/security people didn’t help that either… I remember one RA in particular that would brag about how she looked for and enjoyed confrontations with her students… Keep in mind that at the time, the RA’s and dorm security were just other students employed by the dorm.

I had a single, although it was so small that with my bed, desk, and bicycle in between, all the floor space was gone (bikes locked up outside either were stolen, had their wheels stolen, or were smashed by drunken students passing by). The doors were very sturdy fire doors (I can’t remember what the lock was). If I wanted to, I could have just put one of those door wedges under the door, but didn’t feel the need to. The frames were solid, and if someone decided to do the “penny trick” on your door, plan on going out the window or calling security for assistance.

When I moved into an apartment, I kept something in the bedstand for defense and locked the bedroom door when sleeping. This can also be tricky, as landlords often come in for maintenance, and it’s important to keep things locked up for both safety and for slum lords that like to search through your stuff on a maintenance run. I’ll add, that I could have added another form of security to the door but didn’t think the risk was high. One apartment I wouldn’t rent again was half underground with the window at ground level.

For the record, I had gone to summer school colleges both here and abroad, and the security situation was different for each place, both in dorm layout, security, and local crime. One place had co-ed dorm rooms and bathrooms… and this was back in the 90’s.

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For some reason when renting an apartment, I thought a gun on my nightstand was enough. Even though.nothing happened, I would do it differently had the chance be given.

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I’ll add to that thought: Had I known what I do now.

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At one time in my little house, I had a bat by my door, machete by my bed and a chainsaw in the kitchen floor plus my dog who didn’t let anyone in unless I said it was ok lol. I was clearing out brush in my yard hence the weird weapons. Now in my apartment, I have my firearm by my head and my dog. The apartments I live in could care less about safety or anything for that matter. I installed my own lock chain and upgraded lock plates. I keep my windows locked, blinds closed and do routine checks while walking through. When I take Molly out, I look in front of my apartment and around my end of the building.

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