Like any big city in the world, NYC has its fair share of crime. Things have certainly gotten better since the ’70s but the city still remains one to watch your back in. Those new to the city may be understandably wary of their safety and for good reason. Crime can happen anywhere here, a dark street, a packed subway platform or your own apartment. No matter how much space it has or how ideal the location is, security should still remain a top priority. Any lapse in it can put you and your apartment at risk. So to ensure your security, here are the most common security issues in NYC apartments.
Doors and Windows
Start first with the most obvious. Ensure that your windows and doors are securely locked when going out and when you turn in for the night. According to the FBI, a third of all home intruders enter through open doors and windows. Tenants who live in buildings with four or more units have the right to install an additional lock on their door. You also have a right to a front door with a peep-hole and chain.
Anyone who lives on the ground floor or has a window overlooking a fire escape should take extra precautions in securing their windows. Check the last leader of the fire escape to see that it is up and locked. Landlords are under no legal requirement to provide window bars. However, the New York City Bar states that he “must protect you from reasonably predictable criminal harm.” If you have a strong case for needing window bars, then they may install them for you. If not, then you can always pick up a set at your local Home Depot.
By law, buildings built after 1968 must have self-closing, self-locking entryways, a mirror in the elevator, and sufficient lighting in the hallways, entrances, and stairways. If you notice a lapse on any of these then file a complaint with your landlord or building management company. The security of the common areas is in the interests of all the buildings tenants. So if necessary reach out to your neighbors and enlist their help if the landlord is slow to respond to your concerns.
Points of Entry
One of the first things you should do on moving in is noting all the entry/exit points into the building. Is there common access to the roof, basement or backyard space? If so, how well secured are they and could they provide easy access for someone else? It’s not really your responsibility as a tenant to update the buildings security infrastructure. But if you have concerns you should raise them with your landlord. If they refuse because of the cost of installing a new door or security system them enlist the help of your neighbors. If you can get enough people to agree on the need for more security, you could raise a money pool to pay for a new security system. A new set of security cameras with motion sensors and lights could make all the difference needed.
A Corporative Culture in Security
All the above is very helpful but to really ensure building security there should be a corporative culture among the residents. Make friends with a neighbor or two on your level so you can watch each other’s backs. This not only makes for a friendlier atmosphere in your building but also acts as a crucial resource in an emergency. Making connections like this isn’t all that hard, just make yourself more present. If there’s a block party in your neighborhood then go down and introduce yourself.