Suggestions for high rise condo security?
This is a discussion on Suggestions for high rise condo security? within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I'm moving into a highrise condo in the city. It has 24/7 concierge and surveillance, card activated elevators for individual floor access and there is ...
March 21st, 2010 04:00 AM
Suggestions for high rise condo security?
I'm moving into a highrise condo in the city. It has 24/7 concierge and surveillance, card activated elevators for individual floor access and there is only a single door into my condo. Apart from Spiderman climbing 20+ stories to get me, I'm thinking through what my best options for home security are.
Here is my list so far:
- Short barreled shotgun. Probably not a good idea to use handguns because of the risk of overpenetration through walls.
- Peephole lens with internal cover for door
- Safe bolted to wall.
- Change out door lock to a Medeco or BiLock (or at least get it rekeyed)
I have an alarm system in my current house but not sure if it would add much to a condo, and I don't want problems with my new neighbors.
Thanks for any other suggestions. I suspect I'd be most at risk on the city streets rather than at home, but it never hurts to think through the alternatives.
March 21st, 2010 05:50 AM
First thing I would do is to construct a "safe room" in the condo. Most people harden the master bedroom and make that the safe room. Your safe room should have the usual flimsy hollow core door replaced with a solid core, heavy wooden door with a reinforced door frame, hinges and striker plate to prevent it from being kicked in without a fair amount of effort and brute force.
Consider a book shelf with lots of books or large furniture with dense wood construction against the "common wall" shared with the neighbors condo to "assist" as a back stop to "reduce" the likelihood of stray rounds passing through to the next condo.
Some people find an AR-15 platform carbine to be easier to wield in close confines of a home environment than a shotgun. Certainly the recoil is easier to manage and control in a rapid fire type situation where multiple shots are needed. Proper ammunition is the key factor in using a carbine in the home. According to the instructors at Gunsite, using Hornady TAP home defense rounds in .223 is much less likely to penetrate walls than the average 12 ga. buck shot round.
I have no problem using my Colt AR-15 Govt. Carbine in the home. I have three 30 round mags filled with the Hornady TAP rounds.
Remember, any round, be it a handgun round, shotgun round or rifle round that is capable of being effective against people is going to readily penetrate dry wall.
Some helpful links:
Strikemaster II Pro Reinforced Door Frame
The Ultimate Dead Bold Lock
Bump Resistant Dead Bolt Locks
"The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."
March 21st, 2010 12:17 PM
I lived in NYC for a number of years on the 10th floor of a similar building. It sounds like you are in pretty good shape. Is the concierge tough and disciplined about letting people in the building or lazy and do nothing? They are the first and most effective line of defense. Make good friends with them and the maintenance staff (can you bake cookies?)
I might try to add a camera showing who comes and goes to your apartment. A neighbor of mine sued the building after the super illegally entered their apartment. It was a mess. If can be done fairly cheaply with an old computer:
Newegg.com - Surveillance Cameras, Security Cameras, Digital Spy Camera, Home Surveillance Camera, Hidden Spy Camera
or even a game camera: Trail Cameras, Scouting Cameras & Motion Sensor Camera : Cabela's
I think a bigger concern is fire. Assuming you have a modern building with enclosed fire escapes it shouldn't be much of a problem. Know where all the emergency equipment it, know how to operate it, and exit the building for every false alarm. Many people ignore the alarms only to die in an actual emergency.
"a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility" - Bill Clinton 2010.
March 21st, 2010 04:50 PM
Thanks - all good suggestions. As it happens I have an aluminum bookshelf which would block stray rounds nicely. I'll check out the Hornady rounds.
A camera is a great idea as well. The building is brand new so I'm hoping fire-wise it should be fine. My unit is less than thirty feet from a fire escape.
March 30th, 2010 02:41 PM
You have only 1 door. That means you have a very tiny point at which to place your attention.
Use peepholes, get door re-keyed or replace locks, add good quality locking chains on the inside and a simple alarm on the door. (I used to stand at my door and listen to what was going on in the hallway for a minute or so before opening the door to leave.)
Your biggest danger point is your threshold as you are attempting to enter your apartment. BGs are known to hide in adjoining doorways, stairwells, follow on the next elevator, or be standing in ambush position to the side of the elevator as the door opens.
Situational awareness is what is going to keep you safe, not elaborate safe-rooms and security systems. At most, maybe have a security system with a panic button on your key chain. Carry pepper if legal, and stay armed if legal.
I lived in high rise apartments for more than 24 years. Your danger points are the laundry room if it is outside your apartment; the garbage collection location regardless of whether that is a closet somewhere on your floor or a collection location in the basement of the building.
Your other danger point might be a self-parking garage and the hallways and entries to your building from such a garage. These are great places for intruders to enter secretly and hide in ambush. Does the condo have a pool, a sauna, a game room? All are places where extra caution is necessary.
Keep in mind that the "fine young man" providing services at the front, might have friends who aren't fine young men. Or, he might become distracted and not notice slip-ins.
Check an elevator out before you enter it, and also stand outside one in a way that will allow you to assess the person exiting before you go in. If you aren't sure, don't get in the elevator.
I was in the habit of listening carefully and looking carefully at these danger points. I suggest you get very proactive about them.
Once locked inside, you are probably in great shape.
Get used to the layout of the various building hallways and entry points. Think about how to approach each intersection as if you were clearing a house, so that you get maximum protection, minimum exposure, and an opportunity to see what is going on in the closest segment of the next leg of the hallway. (Same advice for folks in large hotels. Approach intersections of hallways carefully.) With practice these things become part of your natural movement and bearing.
Last edited by Hopyard; March 30th, 2010 at 02:52 PM.
Reason: Added stuff
March 30th, 2010 06:43 PM
I lived in a high rise for a while some years back before I left the big city behind. Risks included getting from the parking lot into the building; in the parking garage; the elevator ride up to my floor; and fire.
I highly recommend a good peephole at the door so you can see who is calling. Also, don't forget about the fire risk. Have a good evacuation plan, including a handy flashlight. I've been in 3 mid rise hotel fires over the years, and the emergency light does not always work, and sometimes the smoke is too much you can't see anyway. The flashlight is key, and fire IS YOUR highest risk in the high rise. When the alarm sounds, don't wait, go right away, and run down those stairs.
April 5th, 2010 10:52 AM
High Rise Condo Security
When you put the alarm in do not put a bell or horn. Just use the buzzer on the keypad. Let the dialer do it's work. There are some short shotgun shells that are like bird shot that are used in Cowboy Competetion that you can get more like 10-12 in your Mossberg 500 pump gun. They are cheap but may be hard to find. As others have said, with one door in/out, focus on securing that point as much as possible.
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