Apartment Security System

samsam7samsam7 Registered User regular
edited August 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey H/A

So today I noticed that the sliding door in my apartment living room had been tampered with. The screen door was open and the lock on the sliding glass door was open. Luckily I had a dead bolt on the door hidden from view. I checked out my my other windows and noticed that one had the screen dislodged. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for a security system for my apartment. I don't want anything hardwired or too expensive since I'll only be here for a year. Just something to scare off intruders/warn me. I've got two sliding windows, a sliding door and a front door as points of entry. And of course a ton of electronics and video games.

samsam7 on

Posts

  • SipexSipex Registered User
    edited August 2010
    A big hulking dog? I don't know, this is one of the reasons I will not live on the main floor of an apartment building.

    How'd they manage to open the locks on the screen/patio door?

    Sipex on
    Horseshoe wrote:
    I've got good news and bad news about 6th level, That Guy. The good news is that Forbiddance spell allows you to prevent enemies different alignment from entering a consecrated area, which is actually useful! The bad news is that the only other new sixth level spell makes lunch for everybody. Guess which one the party is going to expect you to cast.
  • edited August 2010
    dowels for any of the sliding glass anything, deadbolt for the door if you dont already have one. Dowels are super cheap and I just used them to secure my own new apartment

    hotlunch on
  • Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Major East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Did you let your landlord know, as well as file a (non-emergency) police report?

    Might be helpful if something happens in the future.

    Iceman.USAF on


  • ashridahashridah Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I've found sliding doors to be notoriously pathetic, as far as their locks are concerned.

    Currently, in our apartment, we've got pvc pipes that we jam into the doorframe, so that the door only slides open about a quarter of an inch (enough clearance to be able to get it back out when the door's completely shut). This isn't foolproof either, but it makes up for how crappy the locks are, which is fine since i'm on the 4th floor.

    If you want to do security for cheap, it depends what you mean by security. Do you want an alarm? Do you want it to try to notify the cops? Do you just want video surveillance of the entryways?

    There are plenty of internet-enabled webcams (we used to use one by Axis at a workplace of mine way back) that'll email photos around which are handy for evidence. We had ours wired up to an ultrasonic microphone to detect movement, but the same can be done with visible light movement detectors.
    The type of camera will depend on whether it needs to work in no/low light environments.
    Also, do you have pets? If so, that calculates into the type of detector you use. (ultra-sonic not so hot then, but there are movement detectors that only go off if the target masses more than 40Kg or so (aka, won't go off for cats or smaller dogs)

    ashridah on
  • samsam7samsam7 Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Sipex wrote: »
    A big hulking dog? I don't know, this is one of the reasons I will not live on the main floor of an apartment building.

    How'd they manage to open the locks on the screen/patio door?

    I have no clue. It's a shoddy lock, which is why I'm glad it has a deadbolt. I'm also gonna cut up a broomstick and use it as a jam on the sliding rail. I've thought about renter's insurance too, but I haven't got a quote yet, and also it wouldn't immediately protect me in the event someone did break in. I'd love to get a huge dog, but it wouldn't be fair to the dog to be in a small place like an apartment.

    I'm definitely picking up a baseball bat seeing that my rockband guitar doesn't work very well as a blunt instrument :P

    samsam7 on
  • FatsFats Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    samsam7 wrote: »
    I have no clue. It's a shoddy lock, which is why I'm glad it has a deadbolt. I'm also gonna cut up a broomstick and use it as a jam on the sliding rail. I've thought about renter's insurance too, but I haven't got a quote yet, and also it wouldn't immediately protect me in the event someone did break in.

    Go do it now, it's like $10 a month.

    Fats on
  • SipexSipex Registered User
    edited August 2010
    samsam7 wrote: »
    I'm definitely picking up a baseball bat seeing that my rockband guitar doesn't work very well as a blunt instrument :P

    *Rimshot*

    Yeah, go for renter's insurance, it's incredibly affordable. Also the broom handle for the door is a good idea as well, see if you can find s similar supplement for the windows.

    Sipex on
    Horseshoe wrote:
    I've got good news and bad news about 6th level, That Guy. The good news is that Forbiddance spell allows you to prevent enemies different alignment from entering a consecrated area, which is actually useful! The bad news is that the only other new sixth level spell makes lunch for everybody. Guess which one the party is going to expect you to cast.
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Plus, car insurance discounts unless you have a shitty insurance company. Or get it through a different company because you're crazy.

    Like... My original car insurance was $140 a month, and with renters it went to $90.

    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
  • samsam7samsam7 Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    ashridah wrote: »
    I've found sliding doors to be notoriously pathetic, as far as their locks are concerned.

    Currently, in our apartment, we've got pvc pipes that we jam into the doorframe, so that the door only slides open about a quarter of an inch (enough clearance to be able to get it back out when the door's completely shut). This isn't foolproof either, but it makes up for how crappy the locks are, which is fine since i'm on the 4th floor.

    If you want to do security for cheap, it depends what you mean by security. Do you want an alarm? Do you want it to try to notify the cops? Do you just want video surveillance of the entryways?

    There are plenty of internet-enabled webcams (we used to use one by Axis at a workplace of mine way back) that'll email photos around which are handy for evidence. We had ours wired up to an ultrasonic microphone to detect movement, but the same can be done with visible light movement detectors.
    The type of camera will depend on whether it needs to work in no/low light environments.
    Also, do you have pets? If so, that calculates into the type of detector you use. (ultra-sonic not so hot then, but there are movement detectors that only go off if the target masses more than 40Kg or so (aka, won't go off for cats or smaller dogs)

    It would be nice to have a wireless alarm set up with a motion detector in the living room to cover the home entertainment stuff is, which is right where the sliding door and front door are and possibly sensors for the windows. I have no pets or roommates. I don't think I need to go as far as having a subscription to a security company or police notification. The area I live in isn't rough at all. I just want an alarm to scare off people and something to physically protect myself.

    samsam7 on
  • SipexSipex Registered User
    edited August 2010
    Another question.

    Do you have curtains on your patio doors and blinds/curtains on the windows?

    They'll act as a decent deterrant to new thieves, if they can't see what you have they're less likely to take the risk.

    Sure, it blocks them from sight when they get in but most of the time nobody will see that anyways, even if your door is wide open.

    Sipex on
    Horseshoe wrote:
    I've got good news and bad news about 6th level, That Guy. The good news is that Forbiddance spell allows you to prevent enemies different alignment from entering a consecrated area, which is actually useful! The bad news is that the only other new sixth level spell makes lunch for everybody. Guess which one the party is going to expect you to cast.
  • samsam7samsam7 Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Sipex wrote: »
    Another question.

    Do you have curtains on your patio doors and blinds/curtains on the windows?

    They'll act as a decent deterrant to new thieves, if they can't see what you have they're less likely to take the risk.

    Sure, it blocks them from sight when they get in but most of the time nobody will see that anyways, even if your door is wide open.

    It's just vertical blinds. It looks pretty well covered visibility wise, but I'll probably get curtains anyways nonetheless.

    I'm definitely going to get the renters insurance if its really that cheap.

    samsam7 on
  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    yeah my renters insurance is $11/month, definitely do that. Talk to your rental company about the potential break in. they will probably blow you off, but i'm betting you aren't allowed to install any security systems anyways.

    Dr. Frenchenstein on
  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    You need to get renter's insurance ASAP. It's super cheap considering the peace of mind that it brings. When you get it though, make sure to document all your electronics with pictures/writing down their UPC codes.

    I remember it being brought up before that tech geeks have the hardest time with insurance companies since our purchases of high end electronics is so disapropiortinate to all our other purchases.

    Kyougu on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Yes. DVD collection too, document it all.

    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
  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Sipex wrote: »
    A big hulking dog? I don't know, this is one of the reasons I will not live on the main floor of an apartment building.

    How'd they manage to open the locks on the screen/patio door?

    So I want to mention right from the get go that I've only ever done this in strictly legal circumstances, but I've broken into just about anything you can imagine with the exception of a combination safe. The only thing that will reliably make me pack up my bag and call it a night before I've even tried the door is a dog. Doesn't even have to be a big dog as long as it's annoying and won't shut up when it unexpectedly meets someone new.

    Motion detectors are also all well and good; they can be defeated, but only if the person doing the B&E knows about them in advance. But my gut is that you probably need to focus on deterrents as opposed to alarms. Shy of a dog, options to look into are improved locking mechanisms for your windows, bars over same, some sort of thorny bush beneath your windows, and motion-detection floodlights. The goal is to make an individual think that there are easier places to break into.

    What's on the other side of your sliding glass door? A parking lot, a field, an alley, a street?

    SammyF on
  • samsam7samsam7 Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    SammyF wrote: »
    What's on the other side of your sliding glass door? A parking lot, a field, an alley, a street?

    Unfortunately, a privacy wall about up to my shoulders surrounding the patio, and after that are parking spaces. My windows both face these parking spaces, and these parking spaces/windows face towards the center of the complex, they're not along the outside edge.

    samsam7 on
  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    samsam7 wrote: »
    SammyF wrote: »
    What's on the other side of your sliding glass door? A parking lot, a field, an alley, a street?

    Unfortunately, a privacy wall about up to my shoulders surrounding the patio, and after that are parking spaces. My windows both face these parking spaces, and these parking spaces/windows face towards the center of the complex, they're not along the outside edge.

    Hmm. See, if you can see the sliding glass door but it isn't visible from the street, then what this is suggesting to me is that one of the following statements are true:

    1. The person who attempted to break into your apartment either currently lives or works in your complex or has previously lived or worked in your complex.

    2. The person who attempted to break into your building is a friend or family member of one of your neighbors.

    3. Someone from outside your complex has been casing your building in anticipation of future burglaries; in point of fact, whoever was poking around your sliding glass door may not have been trying to break in, he may have only been testing the locks on your windows and doors in case he decides to come back.

    I didn't see you answer an earlier question from Iceman about whether or not you filed a non-emergency police report. If you haven't, you definitely should. Indeed, the more visibility this attempted break-in raises, the less likely it is that the culprit will want to risk another venture in your complex. The management company for your complex should strongly consider sending around an email to all the residents and post large, highly-visible notifications in the public spaces about the event. These notifications should mention that the police are already on the case and that security around the complex is being tightened.

    SammyF on
  • ThomamelasThomamelas Only one man can kill this many Russians. Bring his guitar to me! Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    ashridah wrote: »
    I've found sliding doors to be notoriously pathetic, as far as their locks are concerned.

    Currently, in our apartment, we've got pvc pipes that we jam into the doorframe, so that the door only slides open about a quarter of an inch (enough clearance to be able to get it back out when the door's completely shut). This isn't foolproof either, but it makes up for how crappy the locks are, which is fine since i'm on the 4th floor.

    If you want to do security for cheap, it depends what you mean by security. Do you want an alarm? Do you want it to try to notify the cops? Do you just want video surveillance of the entryways?

    There are plenty of internet-enabled webcams (we used to use one by Axis at a workplace of mine way back) that'll email photos around which are handy for evidence. We had ours wired up to an ultrasonic microphone to detect movement, but the same can be done with visible light movement detectors.
    The type of camera will depend on whether it needs to work in no/low light environments.
    Also, do you have pets? If so, that calculates into the type of detector you use. (ultra-sonic not so hot then, but there are movement detectors that only go off if the target masses more than 40Kg or so (aka, won't go off for cats or smaller dogs)

    Generally you don't want to use an IP Security camera for a home deployment like that. Almost all home internet providers block SMTP from the user end, and almost all security cameras support only SMTP, not IMAPI or POP. So those e-mails would go into the void. If a home user does insist on a camera, you want to have it connected to an NVR/DVR to do the recording.

    For home users, generally a PIR or other motion detector is overkill. The Axis cameras you mention have decent motion detection built in. An NVR or DVR will have slightly better motion detection. Most homes will be low light rather then no light environment, particularly by a door. Camera placement under the circumstances becomes a headache. Looking right out a door means you want a camera with WDR to reduce the light difference. A better solution is to change the camera angle but it requires the home to be set up for it.

    The best solution for the original poster is to get something like a metal rod for the sliding door and renters insurance. Document well and keep up on your premiums.

    Thomamelas on
  • ashridahashridah Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Thomamelas wrote: »
    Generally you don't want to use an IP Security camera for a home deployment like that. Almost all home internet providers block SMTP from the user end, and almost all security cameras support only SMTP, not IMAPI or POP. So those e-mails would go into the void. If a home user does insist on a camera, you want to have it connected to an NVR/DVR to do the recording.
    Uh. Why would an isp block SMTP from an end user, if the end user is sending it through the ISP's mail server? I mean, sure some isps could just start handing out gmail/hotmail/whatever accounts, but i haven't heard of them turning off SMTP completely, yet. The key is looking up the name of the server. What ISPs don't want you to do is send email to random SMTP servers on the internet, since that's a good sign you're relaying spam.
    For home users, generally a PIR or other motion detector is overkill. The Axis cameras you mention have decent motion detection built in. An NVR or DVR will have slightly better motion detection. Most homes will be low light rather then no light environment, particularly by a door. Camera placement under the circumstances becomes a headache. Looking right out a door means you want a camera with WDR to reduce the light difference. A better solution is to change the camera angle but it requires the home to be set up for it.
    This was years ago, they've probably gotten better. I think we switched to the ultra-sonic so that it would only detect people on this side of a glass door (was an office with a shared hallway), didn't need pictures of people walking past, only walking in)
    The best solution for the original poster is to get something like a metal rod for the sliding door and renters insurance. Document well and keep up on your premiums.

    I agree on the renters insurance. Many apartment complexes require it anyway, but not all. IT's not a bad idea, and if you do sane things like backup your data offsite, you can be cleaned out without too much long-term pain.

    ashridah on
  • PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2010
    Get renter's insurance, and then take pictures of your hard to properly catalogue stuff (wall of DVDs, books), and consider scheduling some of your higher end shit (if you have a new laptop or a fancy camera or a nice bike, you can often pay between <$1 - $3 a month extra to get a reduced or $0 deductible on those items specifically).

    Also do the broomstick/pipe trick. Can't believe they didn't give you a bar to use for that.

    Pheezer on
    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
  • ThomamelasThomamelas Only one man can kill this many Russians. Bring his guitar to me! Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    ashridah wrote: »
    Uh. Why would an isp block SMTP from an end user, if the end user is sending it through the ISP's mail server? I mean, sure some isps could just start handing out gmail/hotmail/whatever accounts, but i haven't heard of them turning off SMTP completely, yet. The key is looking up the name of the server. What ISPs don't want you to do is send email to random SMTP servers on the internet, since that's a good sign you're relaying spam.

    Actually a lot of them just straight up block port 25. It's a very common problem that we have encountered for home users, they simply can not send any traffic via port 25. They will often kindly unblock it if you switch the business cable/DSL packages for much more money.

    Thomamelas on
  • PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2010
    Thomamelas wrote: »
    ashridah wrote: »
    Uh. Why would an isp block SMTP from an end user, if the end user is sending it through the ISP's mail server? I mean, sure some isps could just start handing out gmail/hotmail/whatever accounts, but i haven't heard of them turning off SMTP completely, yet. The key is looking up the name of the server. What ISPs don't want you to do is send email to random SMTP servers on the internet, since that's a good sign you're relaying spam.

    Actually a lot of them just straight up block port 25. It's a very common problem that we have encountered for home users, they simply can not send any traffic via port 25. They will often kindly unblock it if you switch the business cable/DSL packages for much more money.

    You know all those trojans running free on the Internet?

    If port 25 weren't blocked by default by virtually every residential ISP on the planet they'd all be running SMTP servers in the background of every single infected PC.

    Do you have any idea how bad that would be for spam propagation

    Pheezer on
    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
  • ThomamelasThomamelas Only one man can kill this many Russians. Bring his guitar to me! Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Pheezer wrote: »
    Thomamelas wrote: »
    ashridah wrote: »
    Uh. Why would an isp block SMTP from an end user, if the end user is sending it through the ISP's mail server? I mean, sure some isps could just start handing out gmail/hotmail/whatever accounts, but i haven't heard of them turning off SMTP completely, yet. The key is looking up the name of the server. What ISPs don't want you to do is send email to random SMTP servers on the internet, since that's a good sign you're relaying spam.

    Actually a lot of them just straight up block port 25. It's a very common problem that we have encountered for home users, they simply can not send any traffic via port 25. They will often kindly unblock it if you switch the business cable/DSL packages for much more money.

    You know all those trojans running free on the Internet?

    If port 25 weren't blocked by default by virtually every residential ISP on the planet they'd all be running SMTP servers in the background of every single infected PC.

    Do you have any idea how bad that would be for spam propagation

    Oh I'm well aware of how bad it can be. Simply pointing out that if it's a requirement, it often can resolved with the application of more cash. I don't think it's a good idea, and I feel that at that point you're already wasted quite a bit of money. But some people like to be silly gooses.

    Thomamelas on
  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Thomamelas wrote: »
    ashridah wrote: »
    Uh. Why would an isp block SMTP from an end user, if the end user is sending it through the ISP's mail server? I mean, sure some isps could just start handing out gmail/hotmail/whatever accounts, but i haven't heard of them turning off SMTP completely, yet. The key is looking up the name of the server. What ISPs don't want you to do is send email to random SMTP servers on the internet, since that's a good sign you're relaying spam.

    Actually a lot of them just straight up block port 25. It's a very common problem that we have encountered for home users, they simply can not send any traffic via port 25. They will often kindly unblock it if you switch the business cable/DSL packages for much more money.

    That's kind of fascinating to know, actually. But my impression of what the OP's asking about is focused much more on deterrence than anything else. A camera that will email him vids or pics when its motion detector goes off is cool, but what he would likely prefer (as far as I can make out) is something that will make an ear-splitting noise that will scare off a would-be intruder.

    What would be even better are external deterrents so that a would-be intruder will take a pass on his apartment in the first place. Either in the "security-through-obscurity" department (black-out shades or something else to prevent people from seeing into his apartment and assessing the value of his belongings) or more overt deterrence like prickly holly bushes just inside his privacy wall, thorny rose bushes under his windows, a dog, window bars, a big ADT sign on his glass door that suggests higher-tech security, motion-sensor floodlights...hell, you can mount a security camera up over the door and not even connect it to anything, and it will function as a deterrent. Which is better than nothing.

    I obviously wouldn't call the advice to procure renters insurance bad, but insurance != security. It can give you some piece of mind w/r/t the question of "what happens if all my stuff gets stolen?" but the OP has also mentioned that he feels personally unsafe in his home and wants some sort of physical, tangible protection against the potential of future home invasions. Which is totally rational and understandable.

    SammyF on
  • ThomamelasThomamelas Only one man can kill this many Russians. Bring his guitar to me! Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    SammyF wrote: »
    Thomamelas wrote: »
    ashridah wrote: »
    Uh. Why would an isp block SMTP from an end user, if the end user is sending it through the ISP's mail server? I mean, sure some isps could just start handing out gmail/hotmail/whatever accounts, but i haven't heard of them turning off SMTP completely, yet. The key is looking up the name of the server. What ISPs don't want you to do is send email to random SMTP servers on the internet, since that's a good sign you're relaying spam.

    Actually a lot of them just straight up block port 25. It's a very common problem that we have encountered for home users, they simply can not send any traffic via port 25. They will often kindly unblock it if you switch the business cable/DSL packages for much more money.

    That's kind of fascinating to know, actually. But my impression of what the OP's asking about is focused much more on deterrence than anything else. A camera that will email him vids or pics when its motion detector goes off is cool, but what he would likely prefer (as far as I can make out) is something that will make an ear-splitting noise that will scare off a would-be intruder.

    What would be even better are external deterrents so that a would-be intruder will take a pass on his apartment in the first place. Either in the "security-through-obscurity" department (black-out shades or something else to prevent people from seeing into his apartment and assessing the value of his belongings) or more overt deterrence like prickly holly bushes just inside his privacy wall, thorny rose bushes under his windows, a dog, window bars, a big ADT sign on his glass door that suggests higher-tech security, motion-sensor floodlights...hell, you can mount a security camera up over the door and not even connect it to anything, and it will function as a deterrent. Which is better than nothing.

    I obviously wouldn't call the advice to procure renters insurance bad, but insurance != security. It can give you some piece of mind w/r/t the question of "what happens if all my stuff gets stolen?" but the OP has also mentioned that he feels personally unsafe in his home and wants some sort of physical, tangible protection against the potential of future home invasions. Which is totally rational and understandable.

    The problem is that there is a limit to the modifications you can make to an apartment. Planting bushes under a window might be a lease violation. Same with window bars. It's hard to make an apartment more secure because you can't really change much. That's why the renters insurance suggestion is very important for him.

    Thomamelas on
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