True Story: Condo Insecurity

23 Apr True Story: Condo Insecurity

I was the first to close on my condo in the warehouse-turned-18-residences on the very southern edge of the Rino Art District. It was 1990.

For some reason, and I’ll always be thankful but never will understand why, I made a point to stop at my dad’s office on the way home from the closing and gave him a copy of my new front door key.

That evening my daughter helped me move into my new digs. Repeat rounds of car-lobby entrance-condo door and back again were nearly hypnotic. When we finally unloaded the vehicles, we started hefting boxes to storage in the basement of the building.

That was when my daughter proactively asked, “Is that basement door unlocked?”

“Of course!” I chirped.

Well, it wasn’t and we were locked out of our new life.

With no one else in the building to turn to, we went to Blake Street and watched the intermittent cars pass by.

My daughter flagged a car down and asked if she could pleeeeeease use their cell phone. (Ours were locked in the condo.) It wasn’t as if we were guilty of traffic-stopping on Blake because there was no real traffic. Rino wasn’t even Rino in those days. There were no other condos within blocks. The area was sketchy to say the least. My daughter reached her buddy who made her way to our new address and then drove my daughter all the way to Littleton where my dad held the key. An hour later, she was back and we were in the condo.

It was a year before the next key situation went down at this condo. I came home from work in a driving rain with laundry in hand, my handbag and briefcase. With one swoop I pointed my condo key into the lock and pushed the door wide open. I dropped my briefcase on the floor, my handbag on the kitchen counter and dashed to the bedroom with the laundry, jamming the hangers in the closet and heading into the potty. Whew!

That’s when I heard a door slam…my front door.

I dashed out to the kitchen and heard another heavy door slam…the back door to the entire building. Where was my purse? This was crazy. I had only been in my condo for 2 minutes and I couldn’t find the last thing I set down before heading to the head. Luckily I had never set down my keys, so I ran back out in the rain to my car and searched the floorboards. Maybe I’d forgotten my handbag in the car, I fretted. Nope. It wasn’t there. I retreated to the condo and dialed 9-1-1.

Denver PD buzzed, I responded into the intercom that I’d be right out to let him in.  “No need, ma’am,” the cop said. Then he demonstrated how anyone with a screwdriver could access the building. Anyone.

It’s a tendency when buying into a multi-unit residence to presume the developers/builders or managers/HOA board have taken all precautionary measures to keep the building secure. Don’t fall into that trap. Instead, buyers must take on the responsibility of checking the security measures in place. Common areas of the building should be as secure as individual units. The PD recommended installing strike plate covers all external doors of the condo building.

Alexius Locksmiths for Denver Colorado installs locks the right way the first time. They make keys that don’t bend in the lock. They imprint controlled inventories of keys with DO NOT COPY. They respond in an emergency. You can count on them.

Oh, and the situation (my missing handbag) was resolved…somewhat. Turns out there had been an intruder in my condo. When I walked in with my laundry, briefcase and handbag and headed toward the bathroom, the intruder ran out with my handbag and contents: wallet, credit cards, checkbook.

Days later, after I had reported the cards stolen and closed the bank account, I got a call from a man working in an alley on Larimer Street. He’d found my handbag in a pile of dirt soaked through. The following day I witnessed a 300-lb homeless woman, seen around the ‘hood, sitting with her back against a wall applying lipstick IN MY SILVER LIPSTICK CASE. I braked suddenly, set to get my lipstick back. But then I thought twice and put the car in gear and drove away.

It wasn’t worth it to get into a physical altercation over lipstick, even if it was Chanel. It also isn’t worth it to question your safety in a building with neighbors just a wall away. Safety is even more of a concern when you live in a building with so many fellow residents who also have common area keys, individual residence keys, garage door openers, and more.

Don’t presume that you’re safe because multiple people live in the building. Get your HOA involved in the concern over security too. Service techs, pest control techs, fire and alarm inspectors, plumbers, electricians, cleaning ladies, and others have access to the premises either ongoing or infrequently. There’s no telling how the word spreads as to the building’s security loopholes.

Call Alexius Security for lock and key changes. We’ll add deadbolts to doors that currently only have handle set locks. We’ll rekey your doors. We cover all your security needs and we’re just one call away.

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