If you live in a high rise apartment you probably think your chances of being burgled are pretty low. Guess again. Statistics show that out of 1’000 high rise apartments, 197 will be burgled. That means you have a 19.7% chance of losing things you value.
If you want to reduce your risk of being burgled in a high rise, you need to know what makes your apartment building vulnerable to burglars.
1. MINIMAL SECURITY AT GROUND LEVEL ENTRANCE
Once a burglar has access to a building, breaking into your apartment is relatively easy. So how do burglars get access in the first place? Most enter through the ground level entrance.
While some high rise apartment buildings have security guards or even front desk staff on duty, most do not. And while outside security doors and lifts that require a card make life tougher for a burglar, they won’t 100% protect you.
For example, we’ve all let a stranger into the building before, not knowing if they live there or are visiting a friend. They might follow you in and ride the lift with you.
Or they might disguise themselves as cleaners, tradespeople or removalists easily warding off suspicion. Studies prove that we are much more likely to follow and believe people of authority. So when a person in uniform asks us to let them in, we question less.
All a burglar has to do is wait for someone to go up to their floor, walk out with them, choose an apartment, knock on the door and if no response, proceed to pick the lock.
Lifts will always allow access to the ground floor exit without a security tag so escaping a high rise apartment is easy for a burglar. Same for the security door. They simply walk out carrying all your valuables in their pockets.
What You Can Do
Burglars accessing a front entrance is either the result of poor security and/or poor awareness from those living in the building.
First make sure that your high rise has the necessary security measures such as security cameras, card access technology and restricted lift access.
Next, get to know your neighbours. Talk to them about your concerns of potential burglary. If people are more aware they will more likely to notice suspicious activity and not let strangers into the building.
2. EASY TO CLIMB BUILDINGS
Laugh all you want but this happens. Reports of “spiderman burglars” have been circling the news lately. Recently, a 30 year old climbed as high as the 4th floor to steal ipads, iphones, wallets and credit cards.
In a few of the cases, the residents were home and asleep, having left all their things on the kitchen tables and benches.
Other reports have mentioned fearless burglars making their way to the roof and climbing down to the top floor balconies to get their hands on some valuables.
Balconies don’t seem a likely entry point, especially when you live on the 4th floor, but then again, that’s why burglars take the risk. This way, burglars can often prevent being seen by security cameras which are usually only inside a high rise apartment.
What You Can Do
While you can’t stop a burglar from scaling a high rise apartment, you can prevent them getting into your apartment. It’s ok to leave windows and balcony doors open when you’re home but close them if going out and at night, even if you live multiple stories up. You can never be too safe.
3. FIRE STAIR DOOR LEFT OPEN
If you live in a high rise, you defiantly have emergency fire stairs. Built to give people a way out of a burning building, they are often misused. The premise of these things working requires them to be closed not only to protect homes from burglary, but to protect the stairs themselves from fire.
First floor residents oftentimes prefer to leave them open for quick and easy access to their apartment, bypassing the lift. This gives burglars an easy walk up to to the first floor, with minimal chance of being seen.
In this case all a burglar has to do is wait for someone to walk through the front door, then take the fire stairs (not suspicious since other residents do this) and walk to any floor with an open door.
The stairs can also be used to hide possessions before going back for more. No cameras, no people, no hassles.
What You Can Do
Ensure the fire door on ground level is always shut. Have a chat with the first floor residents if required, it’s already the easiest floor to break into so that should be motivation enough to keep it closed.
A high rise burglar happens more often than you think. There are three things that make your apartment vulnerable, they are:
- Minimal security at ground level entrance
- Easy to scale building structures
- Fire door being left open
There are a few things you can do make your apartment less vulnerable, they are:
- Ensure your building has proper security eg. restricted lift access
- Get to know your fellow neighbours, make residents aware of the risk
- Avoid letting strangers into your apartment’s building even those in uniform, always ask
- Secure balcony doors and windows when you’re out even if you live high up
- Ensure the fire door on ground level is always shut
Do those things and you will greatly reduce the chances of being broken into.
PS. There is one more thing you can do and that’s install your own security cameras, even if you live in an apartment building. This way you can monitor your apartment, receive alerts to your phone and have the police at your apartment within minutes of a break-in.