If you live in an apartment building with an intercom system, you know what a great convenience it is. Each time a friend, delivery person, or other visitor arrives at your building, you don't need to take a trip to the lobby just to see who it is. Instead, you communicate with visitors using the intercom, then choose to press a button to unlock the door, all from the comfort of your apartment.
Although an intercom is a convenience, it can easily become a security risk. If you're not careful, unauthorized people can gain access to your building and possibly commit a crime against you or another tenant. Play it safe by keeping the following tips in mind.
Confirm Each Visitor's Identity
Always use the talk-and-listen features of your intercom. If you're expecting a friend, don't assume it's her when your intercom buzzes. Similarly, when you're having a party and expecting many people, it's easy to get lazy and let in everyone who buzzes you. Instead, take a few seconds to communicate with each visitor and only open the door for those whom you recognize as your guests.
Don't Let Anyone in Other Than Your Visitors
People trying to gain unauthorized access to a building come up with all sorts of excuses and tactics to get in. For instance, someone may claim to be delivering a package for another tenant who's supposedly not answering his intercom or regular phone. Someone else may pretend to be a new tenant who's lost her keys. Another person might try buzzing every apartment at once in the hope that at least one tenant will press the button to open the door. While sometimes a request to be buzzed in can be legitimate, it's too risky to take that chance.
Don't List Name and Apartment Number Together
It may sound like a convenience to have your apartment number listed beside your name on the intercom panel, but it's a security risk. For example, someone can follow you back to your apartment building and then figure out which apartment you live in by looking at the panel. If tenants' names appear next to apartment numbers at your building, consider pointing out the risk to your landlord. At the least, request your name be removed. If you have a tenants' association for your building, you can bring up the issue for discussion at the next meeting.
Report a Broken Intercom to Your Landlord Immediately
If your intercom doesn't work, or if you notice that something is awry with the intercom panel in your building's lobby, tell your landlord. Remember, an intercom isn't just a convenience—it's an important security measure. So if your buzzer stops working or you have trouble hearing people in your lobby, you should bring this to your landlord's attention as soon as possible.