How to prevent intruders into apartment building

2 Replies

I purchased a 62-unit apartment building with senior housing 7 months ago.  No matter what I try, I can't keep intruders out.  They sleep in the halls, piss in the corners and there's some prostitution.  The two main points of entry are the main door (keyed single door with panic bar on inside) and back door (unkeyed double doors with panic bar on inside).  The main door is public and not really a problem.  The back door is where my battle is.  Previous intruders and tenants are damaging my panic bar, taping it shut, and wedging stuff to keep it open.  I'm already on eviction #3 of main tenant suspects.  The fire department is heavy handed here and won't let me lock the door or remove the panic bar.  I'd like to keep costs down and I'm open to all sort of ideas.

Will the fire department let you put on the knobs that lock on the outside but not the inside?

My initial thought would be a tamper-proof camera system. Would probably need to be built into the wall and behind glass (with a separate pinhole system that's not as obvious). Check with the city, but you might be able to add a fine for tampering with it. If it's an emergency exit fire door only, tampering with it might be a crime as well if it's well posted - so you can provide the video to the police for enforcement. Light can also be a great disinfectant - a pole-mounted halogen and motion-activated exterior lights might be helpful. You'll spend some money short term replacing all this a few times, but might work in the long run. 

I would also engage the owners of neighboring properties, and concerned tenants/neighbors. They've gotta be having the same issues and if you stay in communication and coordinate efforts (especially around lighting and requesting police patrols) you can make the neighborhood unpalatable. 

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