Criminals prefer to act anonymously, and as such will look for properties where they won't be seen or identified. Good landlords know this and will make their properties visible to neighbours and police. Taken alone, few of the following crime prevention techniques will have a significant impact. Taken together, they are very effective in deterring would-be criminals from wanting to move onto the property.
How Does the Property Look?
NOTE : Not every property owner can afford to apply all of these principles, but the presence of at least a few suggests a concerned and responsible landlord:
- Community facilities. Recreational or other facilities encourage neighbours to become acquainted.
- Architectural planning. Alcoves and concealed areas where an intruder could gain entry unnoticed are nonexistent or minimal. In larger complexes, buildings are set back from the perimeter street to deter the casual passerby from entering the complex area. Off-street parking is provided in a secure place with controlled access.
- Lighting. Entrances, walkways, parking lots, complex perimeters, activity areas, and backyards should be well lit. Check the property at night to ensure the quality of lighting.
- Fencing. All parking areas adjacent to the perimeter of the complex have a six foot fence, or a wrought iron barrier to the outside, to deny access from the outside and to prevent parking lots from being used as shortcuts. Where possible, fence design should allow for maximum visibility (i.e. iron rod fencing, chain link fencing).
- Proper Signage. All signs need to be current, well-maintained, and placed in the correct areas (“no parking” signs should be placed in parking lots, for example).
- Landscaping. Bushes around windows and doorways are well trimmed and do not impair the view of entrances and windows. Plants are used as barriers to ground floor apartment windows, i.e., rosebushes planted under windows, trimmed to just below the window sill. Any trees should be “trimmed up” six feet from the ground to prevent criminals from hiding underneath them.
- Clearly-posted addresses. Only the criminal element benefits from the address being difficult to read from the street. If the complex consists of several buildings, each building should be identified on at least two sides with large building numbers clearly visible to adjacent parking areas both at day and night.
- Permanent map (for large complexes). Located at each driveway entrance, this includes a "you are here" point of reference. The maps are well-lit and clearly visible in all weather conditions.
- Doors/locks. Every apartment has solid core entrance doors with case-hardened steel single-cylinder deadbolt locks, one inch throw bolts, and corresponding security strike plates. These doors are equipped with 180º peepholes.
- Common areas. Storage areas are to be kept locked, and doors which are otherwise locked are not being propped open. Common area doors (stairwell doors, entrances to parkades, laundry rooms, workout rooms, etc.) should have windows built in that allow residents to see into the area they plan to enter. Please note that all doors must meet local fire code regulations.