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As part of SABRE's National Safety Month promotion giving special attention to home security, Jennifer Cassetta, self-defense expert, personal trainer, nutritionist (and so much more) is sharing her advice for apartment safety.
I signed my very first lease, without roommates, when I was about 24 years old. After college, I moved three times to different neighborhoods in New York City, each time with different friends. I lived in Soho and the edge of Spanish Harlem and I was finally ready to afford my own apartment in 2002. I found a studio on 15th street between 1st and 2nd Ave. for $1100 which just squeezed into my very tight budget!
There was the occasional cockroach sighting, bars on the windows, and I slept in a loft bed, but it was all mine! I felt reasonably safe except for the very close proximity to a methadone clinic and shady characters usually hanging outside of my building.
Luckily, I was raised by a man who served as a NYC police detective for twenty years and instilled in me a bit of security awareness. My dad checked out my apartment right away and made sure my door and windows were all secure as well as the entrance to the building. He didn’t approve that my apartment was on the first floor. I didn’t mind because there was a man on the second floor that pooped in the hallway (I can’t make this stuff up!).
One night when coming home from a party at 3 AM, some creep grabbed me (up my dress) on the street right in front of my apartment. Luckily, I had been training in Hapkido (a Korean martial art focused on self defense) and was able to scare off my attacker. After that incident, I got more serious about my martial arts training and my situational awareness.
I learned a lot, not only from that one experience but also from living on my own for the first time in general. Here goes:
See also: Home Security Checklist