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Apartment Safety Concern?

ZeromusZeromus Registered User regular
edited June 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Hello all,

I recently moved into an apartment on Manhattan's Lower East Side. I love it, very nice apartment, pretty good area, but I've kind of hit a snag that I'd like some feedback on: the room I ended up getting after settling up with my roommate has a window that opens directly to a fire escape, and I'm on the second floor. The window locks and I have blinds, but every time my girlfriend spends the night, she gets nervous when we're in bed and is convinced that someone will find a way to lower the latter to the fire escape, climb up, shatter my window, and murder / rape / rob / fondle us. I'm not really anxious about it myself, as the Lower East Side is very lively and fine now (as opposed to, say, thirty years ago), but it's true that my block is a bit quieter and not as well lit as some that surround it.

The way I rationalize things is that there's a pretty slim chance that anyone would even gain access to the area that my fire escape leads to - a sort of back alley that's a bit of a walk (and behind a gate) from the sidewalk - and even then I don't think the prospect of someone selecting my window with the express purpose of committing random homicide is very likely. Of course I live in the city and so burglary will forever be a possibility until I have the money to live on the 50th floor of a doormanned skyscraper; this is something I'm pretty much resigned to, and it doesn't keep me up at night.

What I would like to ask is this: is there something I can do to increase the security of that window, if just to calm my girlfriend a bit? I can't put bars on the outside, as obviously I would perish in brilliant flame were there ever to be a fire in my apartment. Do you guys think there's any cause to be worried to begin with? I've lived in big cities all my life and have always just considered this to be the way things work, but my girlfriend is from a suburb in Georgia and I really would like her to be as comfortable as possible.

Thanks!

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Posts

  • SipexSipex Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Install bars on the inside of the window? That's all I can think of.

    Sipex on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Other than using sticks to hold the window frame down so it can't be easily opened is about as much as you can do. I'd tell her not to worry about it personally, if someone's intent on getting in to rape or molest you, anything you do to protect that window is going to be worthless, short of barring yourself in.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • ZeromusZeromus Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    bowen wrote: »
    Other than using sticks to hold the window frame down so it can't be easily opened is about as much as you can do. I'd tell her not to worry about it personally, if someone's intent on getting in to rape or molest you, anything you do to protect that window is going to be worthless, short of barring yourself in.

    That's a good point, though I'm not sure telling her that would calm her nerves. :P

    Zeromus on
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  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    There are some bars you can get for the inside that you can remove from the inside in case of a fire but I don't know if your landlord would be ok with it and it could hinder fireman trying to get in that way.

    Honestly, your girlfriend really is just going to have to grow up and get over it.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    You could put one of those fake ADT stickers on the outside.

    Xaquin on
  • SipexSipex Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Xaquin wrote: »
    You could put one of those fake ADT stickers on the outside.

    If movies and sitcom-esque shows have taught me anything, making sudden, obvious improvements to your security attracts burglars.

    How true this is, I don't know.

    Sipex on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Sipex wrote: »
    Xaquin wrote: »
    You could put one of those fake ADT stickers on the outside.

    If movies and sitcom-esque shows have taught me anything, making sudden, obvious improvements to your security attracts burglars.

    How true this is, I don't know.

    Most burglars avoid houses with posted security, there's always easier places. Just like they avoid places higher than 1-2 stories, because getting things out is a pain in the ass and there are easier places.

    As for homicidal maniacs, you probably won't come across them in your own home, it's so few and far between, but a few pieces of wood to make the window hard, but not impossible to open would probably be good enough to stop them.

    Might be wise to invest in a gun, though, but that's a matter of personal preference.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • ZeromusZeromus Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Not getting a gun.

    Zeromus on
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  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    All apartments have windows that open to fire escapes, don't they? I mean what good would a fire escape be if you couldn't get to it in case of a fire?

    My apartment in queens has a window that opens to a fire escape and I even put an air conditioner in it, I just think her fear is a little irrational. But like others have said, perhaps get those bars you can put in the window or prop it in a way that it stays shut.

    Cauld on
  • ZeromusZeromus Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Of course her fear is a little irrational. But it's a fear regardless.

    Hell, she may be worried about burglars, but I'm the one that had to have her smash a spider in the bathroom today. :P

    Zeromus on
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  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    She's going to have to deal unless you can convince your roommate to switch rooms. Installing bars on the inside of your window may violate fire code and will probably cause your landlord to flip his shit and unless he owns the building, convincing the Co op board, management company, or capital L Landlord to remove the fire escape is going to be a waste of time.

    OT, getting a handgun in the fair city of New York isn't really an option. It'll cost you about $500 to apply for the permit (not even a carry permit) and has to be renewed every two years (i think).

    Deebaser on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Yeah it probably wouldn't be the best solution either, how about a baseball bat just to calm her nerves? That's about all you can do.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Since a gun is out in NYC, bear mace(unless you can get good High OC rated self-defense mace-some states cap the % of active ingredient at stupidly low levels). It will fuck anyone sprayed with it up down and sideways, but there is a non-zero chance of killing someone with it.

    tinwhiskers on
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  • PirateJonPirateJon Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Window security film is cheap, clear, and sturdy - meaning that anyone trying to smash in will have to take more time. that means more time for you to escape or call authorities.

    It's pretty ubiquitous all over the south at your lowes and home depots for hurricane-proofing glass windows.

    PirateJon on
    all perfectionists are mediocre in their own eyes
  • TagTag Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I've lived on the second story apt with a fire escape outside my window for 3 years in Queens without issue. So far, only one person has been out on it (inspection I think, to make sure it still works).

    If it makes her feel better, those things are insanely loud when in use. The ladder going down in particular, but even just walking on the metal grating. So unless you guys sleep like the dead or he's already out there, no one is going to sneak up on you.

    Other than that, you are probably out of luck if you are renting as you can't make major changes like internal shutters or bars. If you have space you could put something bulky and mildly heavy in the way. You could push it aside to get out in an emergency, but it would require anyone breaking in to first break the window and then get it out of the way before entering. A rolling filing cabinet or dresser / chest-of-drawers* that blocks the window would probably work great, and hey, you could actually use it.

    Edit: PirateJon's suggestion of window film would work well too if the landlord allows it. Since the fear is sort of irrational I'm not sure what kind of peace of mind a simple film will provide your girl though.

    *Edit2:On rollers or mounted on a rolling frame. Ideally you get a frame with a foot release lever so that you can easily roll it away in case of fire but it can't be rolled away from the window. If the would-be burglar has to tip over a sturdy piece of furniture after breaking glass, you should have plenty of warning.

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    If it's just the window she's worried about, get a pull-the-pin grenade style Rape Alarm some fairly heavy gauge but flexible wire to tape across the window with some clear packing tape (so it's obvious to anyone looking that your window is not to be fucked with) and some duct tape / small wood screws to anchor the grenade portion to the window frame.

    Run the wire across the window at an angle from top corner to bottom corner on the glass of the window. Secure it to a keychain loop so you have a ring dangling at the end.

    Secure the grenade on the wall or side of the window frame. Connect the pin to the wire that's coming off the window in such a way that movement will pull the pin. Thus waking everyone in a six block radius when your roommate forgets to unhook the alarm before letting in a breeze.

    I'd recommend finding one where the pin can be replaced, so in the event of such an occurrence, you can quickly shut it off without hitting it with a hammer a lot.

    You can figure out something convenient involving hooks or even a crappy keychain with a carabiner on it.

    dispatch.o on
  • MetroidZoidMetroidZoid Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    If it's just the window she's worried about, get a pull-the-pin grenade style Rape Alarm some fairly heavy gauge but flexible wire to tape across the window with some clear packing tape (so it's obvious to anyone looking that your window is not to be fucked with) and some duct tape / small wood screws to anchor the grenade portion to the window frame.

    Run the wire across the window at an angle from top corner to bottom corner on the glass of the window. Secure it to a keychain loop so you have a ring dangling at the end.

    Secure the grenade on the wall or side of the window frame. Connect the pin to the wire that's coming off the window in such a way that movement will pull the pin. Thus waking everyone in a six block radius when your roommate forgets to unhook the alarm before letting in a breeze.

    I'd recommend finding one where the pin can be replaced, so in the event of such an occurrence, you can quickly shut it off without hitting it with a hammer a lot.

    You can figure out something convenient involving hooks or even a crappy keychain with a carabiner on it.

    I was hoping that the grenade would look like an actual grenade, thereby eliminating all but the most suicidal would-be fondlers and doers of dastardly deeds.

    Also, my thinking is along the same as Cauld's ... don't all the bedrooms have a window to the fire escape? I know it depends on the girl, but maybe rationalizing the fact that it could happen to anyone, but rarely does (in your area, at least) might help.

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  • braineatsbraineats Registered User new member
    I just made an account to post because a google search brought me to this thread.

    I live in San Francisco in an older building with my bedroom on a fire escape, and at midnight I was awoken by the noises of movement at my window. I opened my eyes to see the dark figure of the entrant leaning in my window, the window already open the maximum amount, poised to leap into my room.

    Yes, I'm a girl, although how they could have known that from the street below or anything is beyond me. Not so irrational as this entire thread made it seem now, is it, and I've got almost nothing from it because all these fools are convinced it's impossible!

  • zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    PirateJon wrote: »
    Window security film is cheap, clear, and sturdy - meaning that anyone trying to smash in will have to take more time. that means more time for you to escape or call authorities.

    It's pretty ubiquitous all over the south at your lowes and home depots for hurricane-proofing glass windows.
    3M makes a good product that is clear, does the trick and is inexpensive.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=96x2tO9Xuxw

  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    If it hasn't happened in seven years, they're probably OK. OP is from 2010.

This discussion has been closed.