What apartment or house features do you need to feel "safe?"

G

guest

Hi, I have been struggling over the last several years with not feeling safe anywhere I live... so I keep moving. I'm coming up on another move soon.

Right now I live in an apartment that is on the ground floor and I am constantly triggered and feel so vulnerable. So I need to move to higher ground.

It's all so exhausting and I get that a lot of it is internal/cognitive distortion. I live in a relatively safe neighborhood. I recognize that, yet I still feel unsafe. I am also anxious about moving again and potentially having similar or other issues. What if no where feels safe, ever??

I was looking at one apartment recently that was on the second floor of a two floor building. Access was through one exterior staircase. I feel that is just as vulnerable as being on the ground floor.

Sorry if this is all over the place. I am triggered at the moment because I came home and a light was turned on that I hadn't turned on. I've tried working through that by thinking of alternate explanations. I also had to check stuff to make sure my security camera hadn't gone offline. I still don't feel 100% convinced that someone didn't enter my apartment when I was not home, but I think it's unlikely. I don't see anything else amiss. I hate this so much.

What type of features do you look for in an apartment/house to feel comfortable and safe? Thank you for any help and I wish you a Happy New Year.
 

anthony

Founder
We live in an apartment, and its pretty secure, but there is no such thing as totally secure. The best security systems get circumvented.

For general piece of mind, our building is quite secure. We have secure boomgate and solid gate entry to the carpark. The carpark has total mobile coverage installed. We have an extensive 24/7 monitored 4K & 8K security camera system throughout the complex. Every floor is RFID entry, so you can only access the floors / areas you have the right to do so. All doors are commercial grade locks, making them near impossible to pick.

So entering our building, going to our apartment, we are quite secure the entire time. We simply keep our door locked when home too, as people have tried to open the door when home (just busy bodies who think they have some right to look in others apartments or something).

Our building is constantly looking for new security issues, and corrects them within a year or so generally.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
Ideally, locks on all doors, windows that are placed to have visibility from all directions or most as is possible, good lighting on the exterior, restricted access, a trustworthy landlord, but most of all if possible a large dog (some apartments allow here but not many, mostly only homes).
 
G

guest

Thank you both for your input.

Anthony you described what I think my ideal living situation would be. Sounds like an extremely advanced and well thought security design. Unfortunately I don't think I can find something like that where I live. I have a large dog and many of the luxury buildings around here have restrictions.

I don't particularly like being stuck between concrete walls, I like having access to nature and such especially for my dog. But for my peace of mind I think I would feel most secure in some sort of restricted access building.

I just got back from seeing another place. It did not have any of the above. Sigh.
 

EveHarrington

MyPTSD Pro
Quietness is a MUST! Bass sets me off horribly. I’m dealing with this right now and it’s a daily struggle. Hoping to find a new place soon. I like being not on the ground floor as I can sleep with my doors/windows open. I couldn’t do this on the first floor.
 

Sues

Confident
Hi, I can relate as I never feel safe. I've been out and escaped my abuser 10 years ago. I first lived in an apartment on the second floor. That helped, but I didn't feel safe. I now live in a 2 story condo. My bedroom is upstairs. That helps, but I still don't feel safe. I've discovered that it helps me to concentrate on feeling safe inside my living space...

I have an alarm. I have dead bolts on the doors. I have the metal poles that I put under the door handles to make it harder to get in (on the front door and my bedroom door). On the windows, I have the metal clamps that screw on and prevent anyone from opening them. I sleep with the light on. I go upstairs to my room and shut and lock the door and put that metal pole under the door handle any time I feel uncomfortable or stressed.

These aren't fixes, but they have helped.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
When I was looking for an apartment from the council, my support worker showed me a few. I eventually said that I really wanted the one on the first floor because it made me feel safer. It also had a security door downstairs. I was paranoid that if I was on the ground floor then people would be able to get to me.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
Without a dog, I like high but really high (a person I knew was 19 floors up), you couldn't go on the balcony because of the wind. I hate ground floor for the same reason @Survivor3 said. Sound is awful except I once had a guy play the sax every night til 3 a.m., but somehow that was ok (mostly). A good / close neighbourhood and a big dog and some awareness is the best IMHO. And normal things, like don't leave knives or keys etc in average places or visible.

I find in time it got better @Sues . 🤗
 

siniang

MyPTSD Pro
I prefer not to live ground-level ... although I have lived ground-level for the last 15+ years (not by choice). If I ever move to an appartment building again, I will make sure to get an apartment that is at least 2nd floor if not higher. I prefer high-high, too (because view), but with a dog you'd need to make sure the building has an elevator (unless you have a small breed you could easily carry). Also, apartment buildings with internal stair cases.

I've lived ground-level in houses for the past forever years, and that has been a stressor (although I try not too think about it too much). We just moved from a previously very quiet neighborhood to the suburbs and now we live directly on the main street. While this is more exposed, I think it actually helps because it *is more exposed*, i.e. anyone trying to break in will be highly visible for passing cars etc - so less incentive for someone to break in, hopefully. Particularly because we have double-doors, i.e. they'd need to pick two different locks (even four, actually, if I chose to lock *everything*, deadbolts and normal locks - but which I hardly ever do)

I'm personally not the biggest fan of security cameras, can't even quite explain why. Certainly not for inside - I'm still debating on whether or not to get one for the carport, but they're expensive.

We recently upgraded our locks to smart locks, so everytime they're opend (even when manually with a key), I get a notification. Something like this might give peace of mind whether or not someone was there during your absence. However, I realize this might not be an option in rentals, although they now do make options that can work with existing locks.

And first and foremost, I guess, is neighborhood. Though no guarantee, but definitely helpful.

Also - not sleeping alone. If my husband is away for work, I sleep with the lights on.

Timers on lights for when we're away during the evening or weekend etc., to simulate presence.

Blinds! My paranoia is not only someone breaking in - but someone just looking in, especially when I'm home (alone), especially at night.

When staying in two-story houses, I've personally actually felt less comfortable with bedrooms on the second floor. Because in the event of someone breaking in, I'd be trapped. So I guess, if I ever live in a two-story house, our bedroom will be on the ground-floor - preferably away from the main entrance door (or any door, for that matter).

One thing I'm personally still working on - and that you already have - is getting a dog again.
 
G

guest

I am so thankful for all of the responses. It brought tears to my eyes that others understand and share some of these experiences, but feel badly that others have had to deal with such issues. I have felt so alone with the constant moving and feeling in this persistent state of being unsafe. I'm really good at flight. I look at some places, normal homes with widows and doors facing out on a street, and it just seems so exposed, but people live there and feel safe. I feel crazy that I can't be one of those people. I'm not sure if my body would know what to do if it finally felt safe. I suspect I would sleep for a good bit, and then maybe, hopefully start to live my life again.

@Sues thanks for sharing and I am sorry you're dealing with these struggles. I like what you said about trying to make the inside feel safe. I wrestled with the idea of getting an indoor security camera for the longest time. I didn't know if it would be worse for my anxiety, or would help alleviate it some. I finally got one and wish I had gotten one sooner. It does help. However I've been thinking recently I need a back up system if service goes down.

@siniang that's a great idea to get smart locks. I don't have the option where I live now but I am going to keep that in mind.

@Survivor3 that's precisely how I feel. So exposed and vulnerable.

I lived on the third floor once and felt safe. Every other place before and after that, not safe.
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
I need smoke alarms and a GOOD carbon monoxide sensor. We decided to harden up our home and bought lights and better locks and best of all motion-activated cameras with cloud storage. Seeing cameras should scare off intruders but if it doesn't there is a rolling 30 days of video of everything that happened.
We are very rural so I don't worry about nearby neighbors but I do feel like we are adrift in a sea all alone and that makes us a target for anyone looking to get something the easy way- go to the getting place, and that's us.
Structurally, I hate basements. When I shared big houses with roommates, I would rather be hot all summer in the upper, even attic spaces than sleepless in any basement. I never lived over a story up, you folks living up where you can feel the tremors of the elevators shaking the floor under your feet are a different breed of cat from me. I don't suppose I could do it.
it must be hard to fear being in your home to the point of moving it all to another place to try again, you have my best wishes in your search.
 
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