There are 3 things that many tenants continually hope will deter thieves: glass, alarms, and cameras. Time and time again, we see tenants relying on any combination of the above to protect their unit from break-ins, and time and time again we see them surprised when all three are proven to be unreliable.
Quick Summary: If your “security system” relies on only a glass barrier, an alarm, and cameras to protect your unit from theft, you will soon have problems. Thieves are not stopped by any of these, and the reasons are quite intuitive.
Glass: Glass breaks!! And some thieves would not hesitate to cause thousands of dollars in glass damage to make a few hundred dollars.
Alarms: When an alarm sounds, monitoring stations are called and people within ear shot may call the police, but thieves are quick and given 10 minutes can do a lot of damage. Having an alarm is important to limit the damage that is caused by a break-in but is very unlikely to stop a break-in from occurring in the first place.
Cameras: Masks, hoods, the dark, and low-quality camera resolution often work together to render most camera footage useless for the police. In managing tenants through hundreds of break-ins, zero have led to an arrest and property recovered from identifying a culprit to a break-in.. this is not to say it doesn’t happen, but the odds are very slim.
3 Suggestions to combat break-ins for better results:
- Astragal panel and proper commercial door hardware. This is a tenant’s best defense from picking/drilling/prying doors open. It would surprise you how many multi-million dollar developments install cheap residential door hardware; check it, and take ownership of your own security by making the necessary upgrades.
- Conceal expensive items that might attract theft. The most common items to steal are not always the most expensive, they are small, light, and accessible: electronics are a favorite (computers, ipads, monitors). The less things of this nature that can be seen from outside your unit, the less problems you will have.
- Security cages/gates. Ensure that behind the glass is a reinforced metal gate that has been professionally installed. The main reason this is not done is that it can be expensive; in our experience, it is expensive not to have.
Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, please feel free to ask us questions when it comes to security. Having managed many properties in some tough neighborhoods (particularly Surrey, Vancouver, Abbotsford) we have had a front row seat to a lot of criminal activity and are happy to share our thoughts or suggestions in your security design.