Apartment Security Survey Tips
I just finished inspecting a one-bedroom apartment unit for a friend on a twenty-year old
upscale property in the Country Club Plaza neighborhood of Kansas City. This property
is managed by one of the largest property managers in the country. I was shocked by
what I found.
Because of the premium rent, I expected to find the property in compliance with all the
minimum recommended security features. On my earlier recommendation, my friend
had selected a highly visible second floor unit, in view of the office, because it would be
inherently safer for a single woman living alone. I inspected the door locks and found
only one in place. It was a tired-looking deadbolt lock that had obviously been switched
from another unit.
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As a retired police officer and former locksmith, I thought a new resident surely
deserves a newly keyed lock, especially if it's the only one on the door?
To make matters worse, the old lock had paint splashed on it making it easily
distinguishable to the former users. No one could say for certain how many times this
lock had been rotated between units and how many keys were out there.
Upon examining the lock strike-plate, I found two half-inch wood screws holding the
strike plate onto a frail-looking piece of dried-out doorjamb. It would only take one firm
kick to gain access into the unit and to my friend. I recommended that my friend order a
Dual Function Door Brace from my online store. This item will allow her to secure the
door from the inside, and it is nearly impossible to force a door with it in place.
I examined the accessible sliding glass windows and doors and found them with the
usual aluminum latching hardware. All these glass sliders were missing secondary track-
blocking devices and anti-lift measures. I feel these devices are necessary on all
accessible sliding windows because of the potential for the latches to fail and not
withstand minimal prying or lifting force. I recommended she attach the secondary
blocking locks, she can pick-up these at the local hardware store. I then installed three of
the Mace Window Alerts on the windows that were accessible from the exterior via a
short ladder. I felt the second floor windows were an unlikely point of entry, due to the
height, but the window alarms are cheap insurance.
I was concerned how these security measures were somehow overlooked when
inspected at turnover by maintenance workers and by the leasing consultants who
showed it. I learned that instead of a detailed unit walk-through with the leasing
consultant, my friend was simply handed a form to fill out and return only if she noticed
anything that was damaged in the apartment. How many new residents would know to
check the door locks, strike-plates, and window security? Does this practice sound
familiar to you?
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Imagine how you would feel, if someone who you cared about were brutally attacked
inside his or her apartment unit. Imagine how you would feel if you learned that the
assailant gained entry by either using an old key or by easily kicking the door open.
Wouldn't you be upset? Wouldn't you what the apartment property manager punished for
not acting responsibly? This is precisely why lawsuits are filed.