"It's very uneasy, unsettling to know that somebody has that kind of access to all your private things that you trust are safe." — Corey Dolbear, University District tenant
Landlords are responsible for protecting their tenants' safety by limiting access to apartment keys. Unfortunately, if keys are not secured properly, they can easily end up in the wrong hands.
In Seattle, WA, a University District tenant stole the master key to all of the units in his building and used it to burglarize other residents' apartments.
Joshua Laning, the man convicted of the thefts, has had his fair share of encounters with the law. His background check revealed that he had 13 felony convictions under his belt. Though aware of Laning's colorful history, the apartment complex hired him anyway.
Seattle police believe that Laning stole the master key from a lockbox in the complex's utility room.
Apartment personnel discovered that the master key had been stolen only after a tenant called to report that their car keys had been stolen from their apartment along with their car. Fortunately, authorities were able to catch and imprison Laning before he did any more damage.
If you own or manage a property, opt for an electronic key control system over a lockbox to enhance key security and reduce the risk of robberies such as this one. By fully securing all keys and keeping a real-time verifiable audit trail of who has them, you can prevent keys from slipping into the hands of unauthorized users, reduce the risk of criminal activity and increase your tenants' safety.
For more ways to protect tenants, check out our post "Four Ways Apartment Complexes Can Reduce Liabilities".