Living in a condo in South Florida is very different than living in a single family house, and although some safety tips are the same there are some differences that should be addressed to keep yourself, and the entire building, safe. Here are our 10 simple safety tips specifically geared to condominium owners.
- Perhaps the most obvious and easiest action you can take towards safe condo living is to be aware of your surroundings. Acquainting yourself with your neighbors will give you a better idea of their regular arrival and departure times so you will be better prepared to notice anything suspicious in the building. Take note of all the fire exits and stairwells in your building as well as the parking structures and storage areas.
- Have a clear understanding of the “access control” devices. Access control systems are not the same as security surveillance systems. Access control systems selectively restrict entrance into a building. Look for doors propped open or left open longer than the allotted time.If you notice an exterior door being propped open notify the property manager or security about a potential breach.
- When entering, or exiting the garage always make sure that the garage door is completely closed before driving away, or parking, to thwart unwanted visitors from gaining access to the building.
- Keep your unit locked at all times, not only when you are gone, but also when you are home. Always make use of your peephole; if you do not have a peephole talk to management about getting one installed. If you do not know the person on the other side of the door take precautions before opening the door to a stranger. Accessible windows and openings should be secured against forced entry.
- Personal safety is extremely important in condominium and apartment living. Prior to moving into a condo make sure the locks have been changed since the previous tenant or owner. If you make copies of your keys keep track of how many there are and who is in possession of them. You should never hide or leave a key outside of your unit. Secure all windows in your condominium. Test each lock monthly to make sure they are functioning well.
- As a new tenant or owner, you should take the precaution of not putting your full name on your mailbox. Instead, you should only use your initials or your last name. This will prevent unwanted people from trying to trick your neighbors into believing they know you and thus letting strangers into the building.
- Be extra cautious if you live on the lower floors of your condo building. Make sure you do not leave your valuables on display, particularly when you are not home. Also, make sure to keep the balcony doors locked when not in use, even if you are home.
- Install a home security system in your condo. You can prevent crime from happening because the mere sight of cameras and the thought of getting caught are intimidating enough for potential robbers. We do not recommend that you buy dummy cameras. Real cameras offer protection and they provide a lot of help in monitoring the activities of people in your condo. In addition, criminals can usually tell dummy cameras as they can give themselves away so there really is no point in having them.
- Report to your property manager any burnt out lights in entry ways, hallways, stairwells and parking garages. Lighting is one of the cheapest and easiest deterrents to crime. By notifying the building manager about dimmed or burnt out lights you are increasing the safety of the overall condo.
- Regularly check if the smoke alarms are properly installed and in working order. There should be smoke alarms installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the common areas of the condo.
By following these low or no-cost simple condo security tips you will significantly deter a would be thief from targeting your personal condo residence and your building. The goal in condo security is to make it so that the casual burglar will be deterred, it’s impossible to make your condo perfectly secure, but there are low-tech measures that will do 90 percent of the job.
For a free on-site security estimate, contact our office at 954-925-2127 or email us to schedule an appointment.