As tastes have changed and the property market has evolved, flats have grown increasingly popular here in the UK. In fact, the latest census shows they now make up 52% of all dwellings in London. But while high density living undoubtedly has its benefits, there are plenty of challenges too.
One of the biggest is security. Communal entrances and exterior spaces offer opportunities to burglars looking for easy pickings. The good news is there are plenty of ways to make the most of apartment living while safeguarding your home and belongings. And making the effort really does work. According to official police figures, properties with even simple security measures are five times less likely to be burgled than those without.
Most flats will have a communal entrance, potentially offering easy access points for anyone up to no good. Make sure communal doors are always closed and never buzz anyone in that you don’t know. Don’t let strangers follow you in either. Make sure shared areas are well-lit both inside and outside.
Whoever is responsible for ground maintenance should cut back shrubs and plants so that they don’t obscure CCTV or offer hiding places. If anything’s not working in communal areas – from door mechanisms to lights – don’t assume that someone else has reported it and makes sure they’re fixed as soon as possible.
Doors and windows
Ground floor or basement flats are particularly at risk from break-ins, with these homes 48% more likely to suffer a burglary. Think about changing and adding locks where you need to and if your front door doesn’t have a peephole then either install one or consider investing in a smart doorbell where you can monitor callers from your smartphone.
Sliding balcony or patio doors are often an easy target so arm them with a secondary lock like a metal pin inserted through the doorframe. Be conscious of leaving doors and windows open even when you’re at home – 22% of burglaries are carried out when intruders know homes are occupied.
And even if you’re on the 18th floor, it pays to bolster your front door – 73% of burglars force a door to gain access so consider upgrading locks to deadbolts or similar.
Step up security
Burglars are notoriously lazy. They’re looking for the easiest job possible and if they think there’s a simpler opportunity nearby they’ll move on. Flats are often seen as easy targets because many individual properties aren’t alarmed. So, if you own your apartment consider installing one and if you rent contact your landlord about alarming your property. If they’re worried about the work involved, wireless alarms are highly effective and easy to install.
According to recent research, cameras are now the number one deterrent for burglars. And with an app like ADT Smart Home you can view everything going on inside and outside your property 24/7. An ADT sticker on the door or window of your flat instantly tells burglars that you’re serious about security.