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Tustin, CA Police Department
Tuesday October 18th, 2011 :: 07:09 p.m. PDT


Tustin Police Department Tip of the Month: Keeping Your Apartment Safe

If you want to make sure your apartment home remains your castle, follow the safety tips below. They will protect against burglary, by far the most common threat to your home, and help keep you safe from any intruder.

Before you rent an apartment or buy a condo, consider the following points:

 Is there some kind of control over who enters and leaves the building? Are keys required?
 Is there a security guard?
 Are entrances, parking areas, elevators, hallways, stairways, laundry rooms, and storage areas well lighted, 24 hours a day? Visit all of them before you sign a lease or a purchase contract.
 Are stairs locked from the stairwell side above the ground floor, so you can exit but no one can enter?
 Are mail boxes in a well-traveled, well-lighted area and do they have good locks?
 Does the building appear to be well maintained? Have burned out light bulbs in the common areas been repaired? Are the common areas clean and free of debris? Has trash been picked up outside the building? Is the immediate neighborhood free of loiterers?

Before you rent an apartment or buy a condo, consider the following points:

 Make sure the locks are changed before you move in.
 Make sure your apartment appears to be occupied all the time.
 Leave your TV or radio playing during the day when most break-ins occur.
 Never leave a note on your door for someone else.
 Use the intercom or the peephole to identify visitors before opening your door.
 Don’t provide spare keys to service people; be home to meet them.
 Never hide a spare key under your door mat or on top of your door frame.
 Don’t tell strangers about your daily routines.
 Always hide electronics, cameras, jewelry, cash, and other valuables so they are not in plain view through the window, open door, or to visitors.
 Don’t announce on social networking sites that you will be going on vacation or traveling for business.
 When possible, avoid using the auto reply function on your email, telling people you’re out of the office or otherwise unavailable. When you’re going out of town, be sure to follow the tips below.
 Use an electric timer to turn the lights on and off.
 Arrange for a neighbor to pick up your mail from your mailbox so it doesn’t pile up.
 Stop your newspaper delivery.
 Leave a TV or radio playing so it is audible from the hallway.
 Have a friend visit the apartment for a couple of hours several times while you’re gone so the apartment seems lived in to anyone casing it.
 Tell a trusted neighbor or your building manager when you are going away so he or she can keep an eye on your apartment. Harden the target.
 Insert a dowel or stick into the track of sliding glass doors to make sure they can’t be opened from outside.
 Hammer nails into window frames so the windows can only be opened a set distance.
 Use alarm company decals, Neighborhood Watch decals, Beware of Dog signs or other warning signs that will make a burglar or intruder think twice.
 Install an alarm system and make sure it is properly programmed and armed.
 Be a social animal.
 Get to know your neighbors. Join or organize an Apartment Watch group so neighbors can look out for and help each other.
 If you live in a large building or complex, think about a residents’ patrol that watches for crime around the building, provides escort services for the elderly and physically challenged, and monitors comings and goings in the lobby.
 Work with landlords, management, the tenants’ association, or the board of directors to sponsor social events for residents—a Sunday breakfast, a picnic, a holiday party.

Keep everyone informed of crime prevention tips and any incidents with a newsletter or listserv that also includes social news and information about the building. It will bring people together!

Tustin, CA Police Department
300 Centennial Way
Tustin, CA 92780

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 714-573-3200

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