Apart­ment Safety Dos and Don’ts

The Washington Post Sunday - - Z2 -

Don’t be so ex­cited about dec­o­rat­ing your bed­room and get­ting your In­ter­net hooked up that you for­get about safety. Ready to Rent wants to make sure you’re taken care of, so here is some friendly ad­vice to make your apart­ment a place where you’ll be safe.

Con­tin­ued from cover. Our first tip is to pur­chase renter’s in­surance, which is in­ex­pen­sive, to pro­tect your valu­ables. But even with in­surance, you still need to take steps to pro­tect your­self. Here are some other easy ways to make you, your rental and your be­long­ings much safer.

Do…

• Write only your last name or ini­tials on your mail­box. • Make sure the locks on all doors lead­ing into your apart­ment have been changed since the last ten­ant was liv­ing there. • Apart­ment doors should have peep­holes. If you don’t have one, ask your land­lord to in­stall one. • Stay alert when en­ter­ing your apart­ment. Avoid talk­ing on your cell phone or look­ing pre­oc­cu­pied when walk­ing to­ward your build­ing. Crim­i­nals look for a weak tar­get and are more likely to pass up some­one who ap­pears fo­cused, aware and strong. • Re­port bad light­ing or over­grown shrub­bery to your land­lord. You are never be­ing too picky when it comes to your safety. • In­ven­tory the de­scrip­tion, se­rial num­ber and cost of your valu­ables. Keep a copy of your records on­line, in a fire­proof locked box or in a safe de­posit box in a bank. Take pic­tures of your most valu­able items and at­tach those to your re­ceipts to make any in­surance claims run as smoothly as pos­si­ble. • Keep a broom han­dle or other long stick in the track of slid­ing glass doors. This may de­ter a break-in. • Pur­chase light timers and set them so that your lights turn on while you’re away in the evening. • Take in your news­pa­per and pack­ages daily. • Call 9-1-1 any time you sense dan­ger. This in­cludes when you see a stranger loi­ter­ing around your apart­ment. It is bet­ter to have the sit­u­a­tion checked out than risk your safety. • Get to know the peo­ple in your build­ing. At­tend a neigh­bor­hood watch meet­ing or visit just to say hello. • No­tify a trusted neigh­bor if you are go­ing to be gone for more than a cou­ple of days. • Lock your win­dows when you go to bed or leave the apart­ment. Un­locked win­dows are the eas­i­est way for crim­i­nals to en­ter a build­ing. • Check your smoke alarms to en­sure they are work­ing prop­erly, and prac­tice us­ing fire ex­tin­guish­ers. Your land­lord must sup­ply these items for you. You should also in­stall car­bon monox­ide de­tec­tors in bed­rooms if your land­lord

Don’t…

has not done so. Re­place the bat­ter­ies in smoke and car­bon monox­ide de­tec­tors ev­ery six months. • Leave valu­ables in the win­dows of your apart­ment or car. Place valu­ables in a se­cure place or in stor­age when­ever pos­si­ble. • Leave your cloth­ing unat­tended in the laun­dry room. As much of a pain as it can be, you should al­ways hang around when your cloth­ing is wash­ing or dry­ing. Laun­dry can eas­ily be stolen from unat­tended ma­chines. • Prop the lobby door open or al­low oth­ers to do so. • Leave your car or apart­ment door un­locked, not even for a minute.

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