Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Common Sense Security Tips for any Budget

The recent decision in the case of Yardley Love, a star Lacrosse player from the University of Virginia, who was killed after her boyfriend allegedly kicked in her door, has brought increased focus to the topic of security in apartments. While C & D Properties have historically been more concerned with security, this case underscores the importance of security in all properties.

In any type of home invasion, buying time is critical. If a potential intruder can kick in a door and be in your home in 10 seconds, you don’t have a lot of time to react. If getting in is more difficult, you have time to call the police, plan your escape or possibly prevent them from coming in at all. Home invasions can happen anywhere and at any time.

While this may seem to be an isolated incident, the Yardley Love case really underscores a recent national theme of bad things happening to good people in good areas. The sluggish economy has spurned a dramatic increase in burglaries and home invasions across the country. More alarming to many, has been the increase in rural or “better” suburban areas.

The numbers reflect what we have been hearing from listeners all over the country. The bad economy has caused an increase in crime, and it’s happening more frequently everywhere. Over the past 9 months, I have conducted nearly 200 radio interviews, giving listeners tips on how not to become victims of a growing burglary and home invasion epidemic.

While burglaries are up, I believe the reason for the sudden interest, is the fact that there is more of this criminal activity happening in areas where it has never happened before. More crimes are being committed in the suburbs and in small town USA. These are places where people didn’t even lock their doors just three years ago.

In 85% of all break-ins, thieves entered through a door. Kicking-in a door is simply the easiest way for an intruder to get in. However, property managers generally experience as many kick-ins from domestic disputes and lost keys as from burglaries. However it happens, someone must fix the damage, which has always been costly and another obstacle for those looking to pass REAC inspections. They also show that feeling unsafe is one of the most often stated reasons for residents moving.

In addition to burglaries, property managers experience kick-ins due to domestic disputes and tenants simply forgetting their keys. With a cost of $500 or more, the cost of replacing or repairing doors can add up, regardless of the reason for the damage. However, the costs can really escalate when you consider the potential cost of lost tenants due to security concerns.

While property owners and managers are always concerned about cost, they can take real steps to improving security without incurring substantial cost. The bottom line is that by taking some simple steps, they can significantly improve the security and profile of their properties.

One big step towards developing overall security, is improving the strength of the door. There are three weak points; which are the 1) Door Jamb, 2) Door Locks, and 3) Door Hinges. When a door is kicked, due to simple physics, one of these points will break. There are two inexpensive solutions that will help prevent this from happening, or repair the existing damage. The first is EZ Armor, which is a set of (5) plates that protect all three weak points of a door; the jamb, the locks and the hinges (retail cost $69). The second is Fix-A-Jamb, which provides an economical jamb repair solution. Both will save you money on door repair/replacement cost and also help to reduce vandalism and theft issues on your properties (retail cost $39). In addition to strengthening the frame, adding better locks can also reinforce these areas. Grade 1 locks are stronger and the cost has come down considerably over the past few years. You can now purchase a grade 1 lock for under $40.

“We were constantly spending money repairing damaged jambs. We put Door Jamb Armor on all of our doors three years ago have not had any problems since. This has saved us a fortune, Thank you,” Terry, Property Manager – Indiana

In addition to door security, other key methods of improving your property’s security are:

1. Join a Crime Free Association – The international Crime Free Association is a national organization that offers significant training and standards to help keep you community crime free. For more information go to:

2. Lighting and Landscaping- Make certain the exterior of your community is well lit. Start with lights close to buildings and then move to parking lots and pedestrian walkways. Some utility companies will even install lights around a community’s perimeter free of charge. Keep shrubs under 3 feet high and tree canopies above 6 feet to avoid obstructing views. Also trim any shrubs or trees that obstruct the view to doors or windows.

3. Involve your Residents- Encourage residents to be proactive in reporting any suspicious behavior or consider starting an apartment watch program or organize crime prevention meetings with your local police force. Offer prizes as incentives for residents to attend meetings.

By taking some simple, inexpensive steps, you can make your community safer and more attractive to future residents. Statistics show that if you make the thieves’ job difficult enough, they will go somewhere else. Simply put, if you and I were being chased by a dog, I don’t need to outrun the dog...I just need to outrun you. As terrible as it sounds, that same philosophy applies to securing your properties. Make sure that your community is better protected than those around you and criminals will go somewhere else.

Security does not need to cost a lot, it just needs to work. Anyone that tells you otherwise is taking you for a ride. Security also does not need to be ugly. Gone are the days of gaudy steel security bars that can make a community look like a prison. The security steps listed above are barely visible to residents. With some common sense and a little effort, you can effectively secure your communities and give your residents peace of mind without breaking your budget or negatively impacting your property’s curb appeal.

About the Author: Alan Young is CEO of Armor Concepts LLC, a company that develops, manufactures, and distributes door security and repair products. Alan and his company’s products have been featured on the CBS Early Show, NBC’s TODAY show, Fox News, Bloomberg, the Discovery Channel show, “It Takes a Thief”, HGTV, numerous local news segments and countless radio shows, national magazines and newspapers. Alan has given numerous talks to police forces, police academies and homeowners associations on ways to improve the physical security of their homes. Armor Concepts’ products are sold nationally through Lowe’s, Grainger, Wilmar and numerous local hardware stores and locksmiths.

If you would like to learn more about Armor Concepts product solutions please visit their web site at or e-mail,

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