With the way people are losing their employment and finding themselves having to take any job available, becoming under employed is sometimes only the beginning of their problems. Under employment can cause the loss of one’s home, marriage, and sanity because of not being able to afford the lifestyle one had previously lived. It’s a scenario occurring across the country. These under-employed families move into apartment complexes where their way of life changes dramatically. When you live in this environment, your thinking needs to change as well. You give up some basic freedoms such as privacy.
When you live in a complex, you normally don’t have your own yard and you share a common area. This area could have a slide, swings, and even a pool. You need to be diligent to make sure these are in good shape because of all the children (and/or adults) using them. Not everyone cares enough to help with the upkeep. Check the swing to make sure that the seat is in good condition and the chains are not rusted. As far as a pool is concerned, please don’t let your children play or swim alone. They could be pushed into the pool by other children trying to be funny or they could fall and get hurt. At most apartment complex pools, there is no lifeguard on duty.
Here are some tips to keep your family safe:
1. Make sure your door has a good dead bolt.
2. Always lock your door when you leave, even if only for a moment. Someone could be lurking in the breezeway.
3. Don’t hesitate to call the police if you notice a stranger hanging around the complex.
4. Use the peephole in your door to see who is knocking.
5. If you’re doing laundry at night, go with a friend. Laundry areas can be a place for people to hide.
6. Keep your vehicle locked. An apartment complex parking lot is a common place for vandals.
7. If you notice lights out in your complex, let management know.
If you live in a complex, you all should work together to keep it safe for your families. It can be an opportunity to build community if you respect your neighbors. Set up a neighborhood watch, and have monthly meetings to discuss common situations. Have a block party and make the best of the situation. It has been my experience, (living in a project as a child,) that it can be a great and memorable time. You learn to live closely with other families and you learn to look out for your neighbors. I have also been to complexes that the police don’t want to go into. It’s all as a result of the choices we make as individuals.
There is what is now known as the “broken window scenario.” If you see a broken window and do not have it fixed, soon there will be two, and so on. Before you realize what happened, you are living in a troubled place. If undesirables see that an area or apartment complex is not kept up, they will take it over, and that’s when the real trouble starts. Your children can be subjected to drugs, danger, and other negative situations. When we end up in a situation that we have no control over, we need to pull together. As I said earlier, living in a residential complex can be rewarding if we approach it in a positive manner and watch out for each other.
I have noticed at some complexes, children are dropped off by school busses near their homes. The children have to walk into their complexes. I would suggest that the parents have a rotating schedule where at least one adult is at the stop to ensure the safety of these children, and making sure they get to their homes.
As always, stay safe and aware.
By: Jim Doyle – owner of Madison Security Group
203 Us Highway 31 S, Athens, AL 35611