Introduction Ensuring safety in apartments requires a lot of tact and planning. It requires a huge amount of coordination and communication. It also requires very good friendship with residents on the same floor in particular and with at least those on the floors above and below, in general. Those who live on ground floors should be very friendly with those who live on the two floors above. Specifically, the safety aspects relate to a) attending regular association meetings b) knowing local police station officials c) never relying only on watchmen d)Never ever leave the girl child alone e) forging very good inter-personal relationships.
Attending regular association meetings There are a huge number of instances where the association meetings are held even once in fifteen days. Many egoistic residents, particularly those who live as tenants, tend to never mix with the residents on the same floor and exhibit fairly pronounced snobbish attitudes. For them, money can buy anything. Or so they think and believe. When the house is robbed, the other residents simply claim that they do not even know them!! This is chiefly due to the attitude of the particular resident. Even if the rat race so dictates that the husband and the wife do not have any time to even discuss family details with each other, and the single child or the children are totally taken care of by a full-time servant maid, it normally happens that the servant maid provides vital clues to the thieves as how to go about their task, with meticulous planning and execution!! That is, when the house is locked and the presence of the servant maid is not required, the thieves strike, somewhere between 2 AM and 3 AM in the wee hours of the morning. The watchman would be fast asleep at this point in time and so would other residents. This particular pattern of robbery has been quite common in Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad. So, the key message is to attend meetings of the association on Sundays, throw away all egos and become very friendly with neighbours.
Knowing local police station officialsThis is important too. There are many instances where the thieves have been quickly arrested only because the police have been informed. There have been instances where the police have kept a close watch on locked houses and even passed on vital safety tips to the residents. It is always wise to develop good relationships with the local police officials by inviting them for some meetings of the association, or through the big contacts made possible through the use of Corporate Connections. This is one vital aspect of safety. It is also vital to take their advice on installing safety devices within the apartment complex. Their cell numbers ( that is, the cell numbers of key officials of the police station) should be known to all residents.
Never relying only on watchmenIf you are going out of the station, never rely only on watchmen of the apartment complex. They are often very old, mostly above seventy in age, and sleep during nights. Most apartment complexes have such security only in name. A wiser option would be to request a very young and reliable relative to be physically present in the house for as many days as you are out of the station. Please do note that this would ensure that the house is not robbed and the same person would at least be there to warn the other inmates to take their help and so on. You should also introduce such a person to all the residents on the same floor so that he can call up anyone and nab any thief easily. Safety is a very vital thing at all times, and it is wise to take the help of any young, dependable person. Of course, he could even be your own colleague in the office. If such a person is married and is living in a joint family, he may be willing to help you out. Even staying only for nights is fine enough.
Yes, it is always wise to keep the jewels only in safety lockers. The credit and debit cards should be kept under lock and key and the PIN numbers should never ever be stored even in the diary. They should be locked up in computers with passwords in secret files. The bare minimum amount of money should be kept at home. Since digital transactions are now possible, it is always possible to survive with the minimum amount of money at home.
Never ever leave the girl child alone A recent horror that came to light involved a differently able girl, just eleven years, who was physically abused for months by the watchmen and those who had access to the apartment complex in Chennai, which is still considered to be a fairly safe city for women. The case has opened up Pandora's box as far as the safety of women in apartment complexes is concerned. The girl was alone in the house. Her casual friendly relationships with the "watchman" uncle(s) lead her to ruin.
This should never ever happen. Whether your girl is just three years old or a twenty years old, never leave her alone. Please do put her under the care of some relative, who should be made to give her company in the house at all times. She could perhaps even stay in one of the nearby apartments on the same floor or in the other floors, with friends, for even as many as five hours. There are crooks who keep a close watch over such young girl children or women who stay alone and do all the damage. The watchmen are not there all the time to monitor who comes in and goes out. It also cannot be predicted that every man is always innocent. There are third rate crooks in every society, in every locality. One should always take extra care and ensure the safety of girl children/ women. The biggest lesson is to never allow the child to be alone in the house, at any point in time. The child should also be told (after the age of say, eight) to press the danger alarm, call the neighbour, or police or both and so on. The main door should also have another locking arrangement, which should always be locked from inside. There should be no compromise here. The "just fifteen minutes" excuses do not work here. There are crooks who can do the damage in minutes.
This is a very important aspect of safety in apartments. It is wise to have a full-time servant maid to take care of the girl child if the child is the only child of the parents and both the father and mother are employed. This is very important too. Of course, a close tab should also be kept on suspicious elements roaming around the apartment complex and the police should also be alerted.
Forging inter-personal relationships In huge cities like Chennai, Coimbatore, Bangalore and so on, it is common for residents of apartment complexes to forge very good inter-personal relationships with the shopkeepers, the plumbers, and the kirana shop owner near the complex.
The reason? The always keep a very close watch on who comes in and goes out. Many residents who buy groceries in bulk from the kirana fellow do have a big advantage. They leave their girl children in the shop, under the careful care of the owner, for as many as four hours, even either parent is not around. This helps a great deal. The safety is ensured too. Another big plus is that the strangers do not dare to question such people, who know the locality so well and would have set up their shops when there were just a few houses. The massive developments would have happened in the last decade, but the kirana shop owner would even know every single person by name. He would have their cell numbers and is also very friendly with the police officials.
If you think that such interpersonal relationships are a waste of time, think again. These are the very same people who will always help out at any point in time, as they have no axe to grind. They are generally very honest people. The kirana fellow, for example, relies on early morning purchases in bulk. The friendships get cemented early in the day. Apart from the neighbours, it is also essential that you have a very good friendship most other residents in the complex as well. The senior citizens, who have time at their disposal, can help too.
Conclusion There is no rule book as far as safety in apartment complexes is concerned. Shady characters among men can be seen everywhere. One always has to be careful. However, based on experiences, one can always learn. Certain aspects, as discussed above, might as well prove useful in opening up the doors for further thinking and action in this regard. Safety and security are very important aspects that should never be neglected.
I do not approve of parents leaving their child at a kirana store. How does that make it a safety tip? No matter that one has forged a many years' relationship with local store owners, but how can that be a reason to guarantee the safety of the child? We do hear of cases where a parent of a child abuse victim would say, "This shop owner has been supplying groceries to us for years and we know him well. We can't believe that he would do such a thing." Leave aside the owner's character, can one give 100% guarantee that, with the owner busy with customers and not really paying attention to the child, the kid would be safe from other staff, customers, dangerous things lying around such as a matchbox? Yes, local kirana store owners and other regular vendors may come to your assistance if you need it, but parents could surely have better and safer alternatives for their little ones than leaving them in the care of such people.
Also, the author has spoken only of girls for the tip of not leaving her alone at home. What about little boys? Is it Ok to leave them at home alone? It would be better to consider all children, surely, and not give tips based only on a single gender.
Yes Madam, I do agree that I should have spoken about safety of boys too. Regarding the safety aspect in terms of the kirana fellow, I have seen it work in so many pockets of Chennai and you see, there is always some senior citizen to also relate to the child in the shop. This goes on for a good three hours in the evenings. If the child studies in a play school, the homework burden is that much lesser, and this helps too. The kirana fellow is generally very responsible, as he gets a good amount of repeat business by such acts of help. Even in Coimbatore, I have seen it happen.
It is another story that if there is a very young fellow in the shop, something dangerous could happen. I wrote something based on real world observations. I do agree that it may not be so easily possible to generalize a point of view in the manner I have done. Am sorry for that.
The author has given some good security guidelines for the people living in the apartments.
Today in our society, we are living on our own and not mixing much with our neighbors or the residents in the society. This is giving the outsiders an opportunity to peek in the common verandahs and corridors and understand the geometry of the place well and then decide his plan of action. In a socially healthy environment, the outsiders will be identified immediately.
In our multi-story apartment, an unknown person was coming down the stairs and when he was asked about the credentials he tried to flee away. Finally, he was caught and the watchman told that he pretended as a lift examiner and showed some papers and went upstairs.
Such incidents are very common and we have to live united and vigilant in this type of environment and all the residents have to be watchful if they want the security of the place. The watchman is also to be trained time to time in such matters to talk to the secretary or other authorised residents before permitting anyone inside the buildings.
This is an irony that in apartments/flats people don't know much about their neighbors which is not good. It may be dangerous to leave a child alone at home. There had been lots of cases in the past which made parents wary of leaving kids alone at home. But that's the only option left with the couple when both are employed. Its the relations with the neighbors which help a lot in such situations. I remember when I and my brother were kids our parents left us alone for around 5-6 days due to some emergency but told our neighbors to keep a watch on us. Our neighbors use to provide us with lunch and dinner and so we had no such problem.
It's very imperative to have CCTV and hi-tech security systems at your home when you have to leave your child alone frequently and you should watch the recording of the day to know the things.