How to Stay Safe in Your Apartment in Mississauga

Living in a condo can feel pretty safe. Unlike houses, there’s typically only one main entry point to your unit (unless you live on a ground floor suite where your home can be accessed from a street level patio) and that can make you feel a little less vulnerable.

But while condo and apartment living is often quite secure, a building with a lot of visitors and foot traffic can be more susceptible to break-ins and unwanted guests.

With high-rise living on the increase in Mississauga (especially in light of the insane growth in low-rise housing prices), safety in communal residences is as relevant as ever and it pays to be a little vigilant.

Living in a condo or apartment isn't like living in a suburban townhouse, as high-rises provide an urban style of living that might be unfamiliar to people used to suburban areas. This means that while living in a condo, it's hard for residents to get to know one another, or to develop a sense of community. There are vulnerable shared spaces like lobbies and parking garages in condo buildings that simply don't exist in housing developments.

Shared spaces, and the size and vertical nature of high-rises present a unique set of challenges for tenant safety.

A Peel Regional Police fact sheet on residential high-rise security expands on some basic tips that everyone should know, especially if they live in an apartment building.

Police advise tenants and landlords to make an effort to get to know their neighbours, only open locked doors for people they know, keep the building locked, take steps to improve security, and use caution in shared spaces like elevators, laundry rooms, and parking garages.

Tenants are encouraged to:

  • Take notice of the people in and around their building, and introduce themselves to those they recognize as neighbours,

  • Make sure that doors latch properly after entering or exiting the building,

  • Report suspicious activity like extended conversations on the inter-com to their superintendent,

  • Have a peephole viewer, a deadbolt with a one inch throw, and a four-hour security strike plate to hold the deadbolt latch on their apartment door,

  • Only get on an elevator if they're comfortable with who's inside,

  • Try not to be in a laundry room alone, and

  • Keep valuable property out of their vehicles.

Landlords are encouraged to:

  • Facilitate introductions between residents,

  • Host information meetings for residents,

  • Post a sign outside saying "We cannot open our door to strangers,"

  • Keep doors in good working order,

  • Introduce a window from a well-travelled hall into the laundry room to make it a less private area, and

  • Keep trespassers to a minimum by ensuring the overhead door to the parking garage isn't open for more than 40 seconds at a time.

Tenants are urged to use caution at their high-rises, while landlords are urged to look out for their residents.

"High-rise residential security is a shared responsibility," said police.

Much of the time, tenants and landlords can benefit from looking out for one another, and making an effort to create comfort and community is essential to hi-rise safety for everyone in the building.

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