You might be feeling a bit more relaxed as the weather breaks and temperature begins to rise, but you still need to remain vigilant about apartment security. Spring is known to give rise to theft, burglaries and other crimes, according to the Baltimore County Police Department.
Here are some tips on protecting your apartment, securing your valuables, and keeping a close eye on the neighborhood this season.
Lock the Doors and Windows
According to County Police, one out of four burglaries is the result of unlocked doors and windows. If you’re running down to get the mail or up to the rooftop deck to enjoy a fresh breeze, the last thing you want is to return to your apartment to find that valuables have been stolen. Keep all doors and windows locked, and make sure there’s a security bar in sliding patio doors or windows. Work with your landlord or management company to make sure exterior doors and those to common areas, garages, etc., are also kept secure.
Specialty Locks, Good Lighting
If you didn’t do it when you first rented your unit, now is the time to ask your landlord to re-key or change the locks. Single cylinder dead-bolt locks on all doors (bolts should have a minimum throw of 1 inch) are what many security officials recommend.
Good outdoor lighting is another effective security measure against thieves. Many apartment buildings keep walkways, parking areas and courtyards well lit. If you notice a light out, or an area that might benefit from additional lighting, notify the landlord right away. And, when you’re away from your apartment — particularly if you’re heading out of town for some time — use timers to power a light or two, and a TV or radio, to give the appearance that someone is home.
Be Aware of More than the Spring Flowers
County Police say there’s been a trend of “deception crimes” in the area in recent years, and particularly during the warmer months. Deception burglars are criminals who masquerade as contractors, utility workers, or some other type of professional repairman to take advantage of unsuspecting residents.
Be cautious of anyone coming to your door asking to make repairs, or asking for access to your home for any reason. Request identification, and call the company to get authorization before you ever consider allowing someone in, the County Police advise. They also suggest keeping an eye out for similarly suspicious activity in the neighborhood, such as:
A bit of caution and some good common sense can go a long way to protecting your place, and all your stuff. But if you feel like you need additional advice, or some tips that are specific to your unit, call Baltimore County Police (try the Outreach Unit of your local precinct), which conducts free home security surveys for County residents.