Apartment safety can be a matter of life and death for women living alone. Consequently, it is important to evaluate the safety of your apartment building or complex and make a plan to increase your personal safety. Women’s safety necessitates an awareness of dangerous situations and strategies to keep yourself safe.
Dangerous Areas in Apartment Complexes
Each apartment complex is laid out and run differently, so you will have to analyze your own building to ensure your safety. Begin by recognizing that certain areas of an apartment building are used by criminals to target victims.
Mailbox areas are often watched by criminals because they provide opportunities for identity theft and assault. By watching this area, criminals can determine what time you pick up your mail and wait for you to arrive. With this in mind, always check your surroundings and avoid strangers when picking up your mail.
Parking lots and garages can conceal someone who is lurking. Avoid parking areas at night, especially when alone. Regard anyone standing near the cars with suspicion. Before getting into your car, check the back seat to see if anyone has entered your car in your absence. Never let your guard down when a stranger smiles or greets you. Criminals try to appear friendly to catch you by surprise.
Apartment laundry rooms can be dangerous because people come and go and the noise of the machines makes it difficult to hear what is happening in the room. Criminals may pose as friendly neighbors, striking up a conversation to learn more about you. Never give out personal information or stay in the laundry room with a stranger. Instead, do your laundry with a neighbor.
Trash areas are often poorly lit and large dumpsters cast shadows. Throw out your trash during the day or walk to the trash area with a neighbor.
Safety Tips for Women
Create the impression that you are not living alone. Use your first initial and last name on your mailbox. Add another name to the mailbox, if permitted, to make it look as if someone else is living with you. Use “we” instead of “I” when recording your home voicemail greeting to make the number of occupants unknown.
Never let strangers into the building. If your apartment has a security system, turn it on each time you leave and before going to sleep. Report suspicious strangers or activities to the police and your building manager.
Befriend neighbors who can look out for you and help you in an emergency. Take your cell phone with you at all times; and never leave your door unlocked, even if you are just running out for a minute. During that time, someone might sneak into your apartment and attack you when you return.
Varying your schedule makes it harder for a criminal to target you. Try to leave and return at different times each day. Take a different route home to prevent someone from following you. Periodically, change your workout and shopping schedules to make yourself less predictable. Whenever possible, go out with a neighbor to avoid being alone. By staying alert to your surroundings, avoiding rigid routines and strangers, you can maximize your safety in an apartment community.
Lisa Bernstein: As a long-time apartment dweller and seasoned condominium trustee, I have dealt with numerous landlord-tenant, property management, and day-to-day apartment complex issues. My extensive, direct experience has led to invaluable insights into apartment life from both the tenant and management perspectives.