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Local apartment complexes lock up

BY EMILY MELVOLD | APRIL 15, 2009 7:38 AM

Apartments Downtown recently installed door locks on building entrances to increase security and prevent interior damage.

“I came back from class one day to find my apartment building locked,” said UI junior Charles Kramer, a two-year Apartments Downtown tenant.

Kramer said fliers were put up inside the buildings next to the mailboxes to notify renters of the new locks.

Tenants said workers began to install them around three weeks ago, and renters of the complexes received new keys via mail to gain entrance to their apartments.

“Locks were installed to promote a safer environment for our tenants,” Apartments Downtown management wrote in an e-mail to The Daily Iowan. The rental company — which owns dozens of buildings in and near downtown Iowa City — declined to comment further on the topic Tuesday.
Students living in the buildings said they think locks are a good idea, but they aren’t sure they will provide better security.



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“Most of my friends live in apartments with either locks or key pads in them,” said UI sophomore Mike Meyers, a resident of Downtown Apartment’s Pentacrest division. “I didn’t even have a door knob before, so it’s nice to have some security, but I don’t know if they are the greatest locks.”

Kramer demonstrated how easy it is for him to pick the locks on his building, using his student ID to click one open. On a different occasion, he said, he used a newspaper to unlock a door to another Apartments Downtown building.

“I, myself, don’t really feel that much safer, but I’m pretty relaxed,” he said. “I didn’t feel unsafe before, though.”

Signs hanging throughout the buildings note one of the main reasons for the new security is the constant damage to common areas of apartment buildings including stairways, hallways, and entryways.

If the landlord cannot determine who caused the destruction within seven days, each apartment in the complex is required to pay a proportional share of the cost for repairs.

Some tenants of Apartments Downtown buildings said they wish locks were installed earlier to prevent some of the damage they’ve had to pay for this year.

“We’re pretty upset, because we get charged for just about everything that happens in these hallways,” said UI junior Lucas Kosoglad, a third-year resident of Apartments Downtown buildings, and he thinks cameras should be put up to make people more accountable.

Renters also said they often see people passed out on the porches of their buildings, homeless people smoking inside the doorways, and large parties of people they don’t know.

“People might feel safer knowing drunk people can’t come in,” Kramer said.

A few of the residents in the Pentacrest division noted the recent increase in violence downtown and their close location to the bars as possible reasons for the company to install locks.

Overall, students living in the Apartments Downtown seemed to appreciate the new locks.
“It’s kind of nice knowing you have that extra door to keep everyone safe,” Kosoglad said.


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