Apartment security

I’m thinking about moving into an apartment but I have some reservations about the security of the place. It wasn’t until I had made my second visit that I realized that it might be a problem. I suppose I’m used to there being big metal doors, security cameras, bars on the windows, and/or magnetic card locks wherever I stay but not here. It’s an older building in a very high-traffic area immediately across from a train station and hospital in central Taiwan so I’m not too worried about people prowling about without being noticed… and the landlord informed me that cameras were being installed at the entrance and an extra deadbolt was to be added to the door of the apartment I was looking at (which just looks like a cheap wooden door you’d find on a bedroom inside a house, really, so I can’t imagine a deadbolt doing much of use)… but still, it’s does not look like a particularly secure place.

Now I’m wondering whether I really have anything to worry about or not. Taiwanese friends say I’m being paranoid, the landlord seemed quite confused when I was asking about locks and such (but cooperative), and from my reading on Forumosa it appears like burglary is common even when security is high. I’m not too sure what to make of this discrepancy and, in any case, I don’t have many valuables that aren’t on my person in a typical day. For this reason I’m starting to wonder if there’s anything else I could do to beef up security with or without my landlord’s help. Install an alarm, stash important documents in a safe or a locker somewhere, or something along those lines. Any thoughts or opinions about this sort of situation? I’m not 100% committed yet but the place is otherwise ideally located and I’m only planning a 3-6 month stay anyhow.

if you’re worried about theft. you could buy a safe for important documents. i don’t know if they sell tall safes here but it is also an option.

i don’t know if banks here have safety deposit boxes, but back home that would be an option.

I have a safe mostly because I fear losing important stuff -passports, original of my thesis and college diplomas- to fire. Burglary is not really much of an issue, especially because most locals knows the foreigner has no cash stash/gold/easy resellables.

It is not Central America where they park a truck in front of your home, charge in with AK 47s and pick the place clean.

Your neighbors are your best line of defense. Ask around about burglaries. Most neighbors watch for each other. After the attempted break-in last year, a neighbor who lived alone set up an alarm deal with a local company, which also watches out for elderly people. They have a pretty nifty deal, SEFCOM or something like that they are called. Maybe you can look into that. Please note in my hood that was the first such incident in over 10 years.

Mostly, you do not have “red districts” or areas where you shouldn’t live, traffic is usually a good thing but if you feel uneasy trust your gut.

Bank safes are really coveted, and they usually have a waiting period -if any available- plus a lot of documents and take one year contracts. Otherwise, it is a good idea.

Buy a small safe, fasten it to the wall with some big ass expanding screws and the thieves will likely let it be.

I got that setup in my office, however we have yet to be burglarized. It’s more to guard against inside jobs.

If you’re just looking at 3-6 months, then just get a plug-in timer and use it with a lamp near a window. Set it to go off at 6:00 p.m. or shortly after dark so that it’ll appear like somebody’s home. (Lots of burglaries take place in the early evening when folks are out having dinner.) All the other suggestions are good but make little financial sense considering the brevity of your stay at this place. Even a security deposit box in a bank vault requires a minimum of a one-year contract.

Thanks, that’s good advice. I’m not overly paranoid about these things, especially not for such a brief tenure, but I had the landlord install a much more secure lock on the door which will certainly help matters.