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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Security in common areas of apartment blocks depends on everyone being alert.

Precautions to be taken to minimise risks.

Each resident is jointly responsible with the other residents and the resident manager in their apartment block for security in the apartment block common areas. See below how to protect yourself, your family and neighbors.

Some residents complain that the concierge contacts them through their apartment intercom to announce a guest, but they forget that these dependable employees are performing their duties and ensuring that all visitors are identified and announced before entering the building. Instead of complaining, residents should praise these professionals for performing their duties properly, because many robbers manage to enter the apartments when building employees fail to perform their duties.

Also, residents should inform the concierge of any delivery orders (restaurant, drugstore, etc) and ask the concierge to ensure the ordered items are delivered at the entrance of the building and that they are called on the intercom to go downstairs and contact the delivery guy at the entrance. Delivery guys should not be allowed upstairs because they may become familiar with the building and take a glance through the open door of your apartment. However, should the delivery guy go upstairs, we recommend that as soon as he leaves the apartment the resident contacts the concierge on the intercom phone to inform him that the person in on his way out. This allows the concierge to control the amount of time the guest spends inside the building. Such precaution facilitates the concierge work and provides security for everyone.

It is not recommended that residents leave the apartment keys with the reception: in case of robbery, these appartments would be most likely to be robbed. If there are no alternative solutions, it is recommended to leave the keys with a neighbor and lock the rooms that do not need to be accessed.

It is important that residents and employees have a password, which should be constantly changed, to be used in emergency cases. Unexpected gifts require special attention. They should be kept in the entrance and not allowed to be personally delivered to the recipient. It is recommended that the resident pick them up later at the reception or else an employee of the building delivers them at the resident’s apartment.

When a resident is called by a guest at the building entrance it is important to make sure he/she is really the person wanted. There is no need to expose oneself to unnecessary risks.

If you are coming into your building driving your car and see suspicious people around, we suggest that you make a few laps around the building until you make sure those people are not around anymore. Many robberies are carried out this way: The resident is attacked as soon as he/she stops the car in front of the entrance gate.

Security is a very serious matter, so do not be fooled by strangers, however well-dressed or polite they may be. Don’t forget that appearances can be deceptive.

Residents should refrain from making comments on their personal belongings when building employees are present. Also, residents should ask the employees to refrain from making comments on their personal habits with their friends – even if these friends are caretakers of buildings in the neighborhood.

Not even the garage of the apartment building is totally safe. We’ve all heard of thefts in garages. So, always close your car, activate the alarm and never leave anything on display when you leave it. Preferably do not leave the keys with the concierge. And, if necessary, you should obtain motor insurance coverage to be protected against accident or theft of your vehicle in the garage.

Resident managers should be careful when recruiting and hiring employees. Being a friend of a maid employed in one of the building units should not be considered as a relevant qualification.
We recommend that candidates for the job should report to the entrance of the building for the interview. They should not go upstairs. All pertinent documents should be submitted before the employee starts working. Also, it is essential to ask previous employers for references. Finally, everyone in the building (employees, residents or guests) should be aware of his/her duties. And in case of emergency such as robbery or assault, nobody should fight back because many peoples’ lives are at risk. We recommend that people pay attention to biological characteristics of the robbers (height, hair color, race, way of speaking, distinguishing marks, etc) and to any possible nicknames used by the offenders. Such information is valuable to police investigation.

Eramir Russo

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