Live In A High-Rise? Why You May Still Be At Risk for Burglary

high rise

The mere fact that your apartment or condo is hundreds of feet above the ground can give you the feeling of being secluded, out-of-sight and safe. The reality is that ground-floor units are easier to break into than above-ground ones. However, burglars know that in most buildings, the higher the level, the pricier the apartments, and the pricier the apartments, the more valuables there may be. Don’t be too certain that burglars won’t take the time to get into your high-rise; it may require more work, but for them, it may also be worth it.

Not convinced? Here are some reasons you may still be at risk of burglary in a high-rise.

Unreliable Lobby Security
First and foremost, if your high-rise building does not have a security guard on the lobby floor, speak to the other residents about convincing the landlord to hire one. If you all sign a petition stating you require one to continue your leases (a necessary step for stingier landlords,) it will be difficult for the building owner to put off that expense any longer. If that tactic does not work, you could hold a building-wide meeting, and see if each unit would be willing to contribute a small amount of money each month to cover the salary of a security guard. This small added feature can be enough to make a burglar skip your building.

Once you have a security guard, ask that he call your cell phone to verify every visitor you may get. It’s too easy for burglars to hang outside of your building, waiting to listen in on your phone calls as you exit and gather information about you. If a burglar can tell the security guard what you look like, how many children you have, what you do for a living and things like that—all easily obtainable from listening in on a phone call—that may be enough to gain him access to the building. But require the security guard to call you and confirm every visitor, no matter how familiar they sound.

Fire Escapes
Old fashioned fire escapes that zigzag from one level to the next add a vintage, urban look to a building. They also provide a way for burglars to travel from the street right up to the side of the building. There is little you can do about removing these escapes, and they provide an important function, but if your building has them, take some precautions. Consider adding bars to your windows so that even if a burglar makes it to your level, he cannot just break your window and crawl right in. You could also install motion sensor alarms in the area outside of your window. More advanced systems will differentiate between a pigeon and a human, and only sound when a person is out there. You can also position a surveillance camera outside of your window on the fire escape. Since a burglar will not even know the camera is there until he’s crawling towards it, he certainly can’t disable it before he approaches your unit. Seeing the camera might make him back down.

A Lack of Community
There is a certain prestige that comes with living in a 50-floor high-rise. You feel like you’re on top of the world in your apartment, far-removed from the grimy streets and hustle and bustle of the city. However, it’s that sense of being removed that poses a security threat. Residents of high-rise buildings rarely know each other by name. In fact, they can rarely recognize the faces of their fellow residents. This anonymity alone puts your building at risk for a burglary because you couldn’t identify an outsider if he looked you in the eye. Push for the building to have monthly mixers so you can all get to know who lives there and who doesn’t. Introduce yourself to the neighbors on your level and describe to one another who your regular visitors are.

While burglaries may be rare in high-rise buildings because it is harder for burglars to get in, when they do occur, they can be more severe than ground-level burglaries. Police need far more time to reach your apartment on the 40th floor and nobody from the street can hear you yell for help. Taking safety precautions isn’t just an option when you live in a high-rise.

Posted on Friday, January 27th, 2017