Apartment Robbed - Security Tips?

Hey guys, how are you? I’m writing because I need advice. Our apartment was robbed last night. Apparently they got in through an open patio door. We’re on the ground level of our complex, with a walkway in between our two buildings, so it wouldn’t be difficult for a robber to get in if we stupidly left the patio door open while going out for a couple of hours.

Luckily they didn’t get much…a karaoke DVD player, an old VHS camcorder, some jewlery, and a bunch of loose gameboy games I had in a case (some of which are hard to find, like Tetris DX or Cannon Fodder).

We’re still bummed about it, but I’ve decided that our apartment needs to be more secure. Therefore, I’m thinking of putting some kind of fencing around the patio and little alarms on the windows.

Is there anything you guys can think of that I can do to make my apartment more secure? Thanks in advance…

Alarms are good, and remember to put up the stickers or signs. I’ve never been a fan of fences, but I’m sure it makes a big difference. Try to be conscious of stuff like closing windows and doors (and locking/latching them). But more than anything, try and remember – and I know it’s easier said than done – that sometimes you just get robbed. It sucks, it’s wrong, you’d like to beat the MFer if you knew who it was, but it happens. Even if you’re careful sometimes it happens. It’s like having your car get hit by someone who doesn’t leave a note – sucky, wrong, infuriating, but ultimately just part of life, unfortunately.

Easiest? Get a dog.

Sorry about the robbery. I had 2 bikes stolen in the space of a year, that sucked.

But fencing and alarms? What sort of apartment complex is this? Usually those sorts of things lie in the domain of the lessor. Unless they’re paying for it, in which case you might as well.

Get in touch with the guys who made this:


from everything i’ve read, a dog is the way to go.

a fence might actually be counterproductive, if it allows people to more easily get in unobserved.

lights and alarms are also good, but by the time the person breaks a window, you are already out (potentially) several hundred for a new window. and obviously, they aren’t going to do anything if you leave the door open.

i have no direct experience, but i’ve heard/read lots of horror stories about what the police can’t/won’t do regarding thefts. like, neighbors say, “here is the license plate of the guy that broke in,” and cops say, “oh well.” or “here is video of the person climbing in my window,” and cops say, “oh well.” perhaps some of the lawyers on here would have better info about that…

Some simple things help, from what I’ve heard (from police, etc.):

  • Bright lights outside, always on at night or motion triggered.
  • Have your answering machine give the same number of rings regardless of whether it has messages or not.
  • Leave lights on when you’re gone, or maybe spring for a light timer.
  • Park your car in a garage.
  • Have someone pick up the mail/newspaper when you’re gone.
  • Put alarm stickers up even if you don’t have an alarm.
  • Backup important computer info remotely.

IMHO dogs are a bad idea. They’re a pain in the ass, expensive, and if you’re renting may not be an option anyway. Dogs are great if you’re looking to have a dog, and that’s about it.

In the end, is it really worth even sweating it? You’ll likely end up putting more effort into it than the value of what you lost. If you’re really just looking for peace of mind and physical security, perhaps instead keep something handy to scare off someone who busts in while you’re actually there. Pepper Spray for example.

Also - take note that crooks like to hit easy targets more than once to get stuff you recieved from any insurance. That’s not to scare you but to let you know that putting in alarms and stuff is a good idea sooner rather than later.

I also wouldn’t worry about getting a dog. Crooks have discovered that giving dogs meat with poison works really well.

This is probably going to provoke a negative response, but you did leave your patio door open, right? Honestly, there is a huge difference between dealing with professional thieves and dealing with a few kids who wandered by, saw you left the door open, and took advantage of it. I’d bet it was the latter in your case.

My point is that unless your complex has a crime problem or you see evidence of someone actually making an effort to rob you, spending a lot of money on security is probably not worth it. Maybe just get renter’s insurance.

I’m a dog man - living in middling to crappy areas, I’ve been broken into with no dog, never with a dog.

Keep in mind my idea of ‘dog’ starts around 70 pounds, and my current baby is more like 100. :D But it’s no good if you aren’t a dog person anyway, or at least it’s more output for less payout.

Move. If nothing else, if you decide future breakins are a worry, get off the ground floor if you’re going to stay in the same complex.

Get very good about locking up - this is the big thing, especially for casual asshole theft.

Get a motion activated security light for your patio door.

Alarms, maybe, alarm service, no. Light timers, etc - they’re cheap, no reason not to. They won’t stop a pro, but they’re something else on the keeping opportunists away list.

But seriously, if possible, move. You live in an apartment complex where someone felt comfortable breaking into your apartment. In my experience that tends to mean it’s a complex where that shit happens. Go someplace it doesn’t, if you can.

True dat.

Turn the radio on when you leave the house. Of course, the best advice is to lock you door when you leave the houe. If you can’t remember to lock your door, no amount of fancy shmancy security system is going to help.

We had a dog, but forgot to feed him. We had an alarm, but forgot to turn it on.

yea doesn’t sound like a professional - more like an opportunistic punk. :/

Sadly, Robberies are going to happen. They key is to make your house/apartment/etc a less desirable target then the next home.

Lights/alarms(stickers/signs)/clearly visible windows - all are deterrents. If you have some points of entry that are hidden from a main road, those are the places you want to make sure are locked up/secured 24/7.

Your open patio door sounds like it wasn’t overly visible to other people, not to mention, if I didn’t know that was your place I wouldn’t think anything of someone walking in to a patio door.

Now if they were taking a wrench to the lock mechanism, that might set off someone’s spidey sense to call the police, or something.

Setup the patio door to automatically lock somehow?

Moving is expensive, so I would only do that if there is a history of crime in that area. This sounds like a one time thing, most likely.

Also, why use pepper spray, when you can shoot someone and make sure they don’t get to sue you? ;)

Put a stick in your sliding glass doors, so the window has to be broken for them to get it. It might also be easier to notice whether the stick is in place than whether the door is locked (or did you mean literally open?).

Tell your neighbors to keep an eye out. It’s in their interests to catch such people too.

Document everything.

Technically, you suffered a burglary. Robbery requires a threat of violence.

You probably feel pissed off and vulnerable, and that’s normal. Lock your door from now on. Your home doesn’t have to be impenetrable. It just has to be more impenetrable than your neighbor’s home.

We had our home in England broken into once. Afterwards, we made sure to lock the deadbolts on all doors after exiting, and to install anti-theft locking mechanisms on the windows (because it was possible to jimmy the latches from the outside by sticking stuff through the crack between the upper and lower windows). We did not have any further problems with burglaries after that.

Exactly. So when you go to bed, lock your door, and break open one of your neighbor’s windows.

If it was kids, you shouldn’t worry too much, as they typically are just one timers who stole some stuff for the thrill of being thieves and usually do not try to come back. If it was adults, they may have scoped your place out, knowing you keep the place unlocked, and they may even live close to you. If you aren’t anti-gun, get some training and get a gun. If a burgler thinks there is even the slightest possibility you or someone else may be home and armed, your risk of burglary or home invasion goes down significantly.

Make friends with some of your neighbors, and they can help watch your place.

A dog is a good idea if you can have one in your apartment. Most places you can’t, especially the kind that barks and would be good against an invader.

I’m in an apartment in a very good neighborhood and I still have a monitored alarm through Orca, because if I leave on vacation I don’t want to worry about not knowing if someone broke in. Sometimes these things can be more trouble than they are worth though, and it should never be your only plan.

Get good insurance. Get a safe that is fairly heavy and if you can mount it, do that. A burglar may be able to lift and run off with it, but they’d certainly look suspicious leaving your place with it.

But ultimately, don’t keep anything too valuable around. If you’re afraid of losing it, you should probably keep it in a secure vault.

Now, as for people breaking into my car, I’m a freaking expert on having it happen to me. Back when I lived in Lakewood, I had it broken into 5 times, and once was just to steal a smelly old blanket I had in the back-seat. I had to replace my passenger side window three times. Had someone use a coat hanger or slim jim once, and when one of the windows was busted out, had someone tear out the plastic and steal my air freshner. This particular car was finally finished off by a 16year old girl who decided to drive into it at 40mph while it was parked. I then got a used car with the money from the insurance, and someone the next week side swiped it while it was parked and ripped off the front end and crushed the fender.

I now have a garage.


Put up alarm stickers and ensure you always lock your door. Really, that is enough deterrant in an Appartment area to ensure you don’t get robbed.

Chris Woods

We use roll shutters on all our windows. They require a lot of house modifications to install properly, but you can hit them with a baseball bat for an hour and only wind up making them annoyingly dented.

A week ago I suffered a burglary as well, although it wasn’t my home. We have gated underground parking at out apartment complex, and someone decided to steal some of the things we had been storing down there. They even took a 25 lb bag of dog food. The feelings of vulnerability and helplessness were there, and not helped by the fact that the police never followed through on their promise to show up and take a report.

As far as protecting yourself, in all likelihood you just had a few goofball kids break into your place because it was open. Just remember to keep it closed, and you’re all set.

If it was someone a little more professional, all you can do is make your place less attractive to them. Basically, make their “job” harder, and they’re more likely to move on to another place. A dog always helps, because they bark and nobody wants to take that risk. Impressive locks are good, a security system is nice, etc.

Also, it would be worth checking the police reports for your area to see if there’s a robbery epidemic, or if it’s a rarity. If there seems to be a crime problem, you could consider moving out, or give your landlord hell until they provide you with a security system of some sort (if you want to make a stink of it, this would probably be within your rights as a renter). Good luck.

I’d try to move into an upstairs apartment, if you could. Additionally, line your patio wall and windows with these babies. Thick, stiff, and bristling with big nasty thorns.