Apartment Home Security: Ambush Locations

When it comes to home defense, renters, and especially those who live in an apartment, face difficulties homeowners may not need to consider. Here are some things to think about if you are considering renting, or already do and own firearms:

How defendable is the place you are planning to rent? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your new home? Attempting to see through the eyes of a potential criminal will help you plan properly for home defense.

You won’t find a perfect apartment or house in which you don’t have any potential security risks. It’s about recognizing where the risks lie and having an adequate solution in place ahead of time to help mitigate the danger.

Each house and apartment building and even each individual apartment has its own unique challenges.

Ambush Locations

Fatal Funnels are especially common in apartment buildings where there are long, alley-like corridors where renters can access the door to their apartment.

If the place you are looking to rent has one of these long hallways, know that this location could be a prime position for ambush. No reason to become overly fearful, just be alert when passing through and don’t spend unnecessary time in these funnels.

Photo credit: B&J Enterprises Inc

Some corridors have convex mirrors installed so residents can see if anyone is going to round the corner in front of them. You can use them for spotting an ambush but be aware these mirrors work both ways. If you can see them, they can see you.

Convex Mirror

Keep in mind other potential ambush sites as well. Places like around corners, behind bushes or cars, the mail or laundry room, or anywhere else you can imagine a person hiding can make a perfect ambush spot. This doesn’t mean you need to tactically clear the way to your vehicle but being aware at these locations can help significantly.

One of the things which can help you pay attention is good lighting. If the rental property is worth your money, it should have adequate lighting.

If the exterior of the building is not well maintained, chances are good the lights won’t work well either. If you do find that a bulb has burned out in an area you frequent, let that apartment manager know so they can fix it right away.

Pay attention to how well the apartment managers take care of the landscaping. Overgrown bushes, hedges, and trees could hide potential threats and provide cover for individuals with bad intentions. Ask your landlord to trim the foliage if you see it becoming a problem. Cite security risks if they question why.


If the last five families who rented your residence have copies of the keys, your home is less secure. Ensure there are new locks installed, with new sets of keys and aren't leftover’s from the 1970’s.

A popular tool of burglars, the Bump Key.

Let your landlord know you need this accomplished for you to be able to rent there. If they have a problem with such a small, reasonable request, it might be a sign of a poor place to reside in the first place.

If you have two locks, a dead bolt and a door knob lock, use both of them. If you have a door chain, make sure you use it when you are home. It won’t do much to prevent a determined intruder, but it’s better than nothing.


If you have roommates try to choose good ones, if you get a choice. Not only does it affect your quality of life, but trustworthy roommates help ensure your valuables aren’t stolen by someone who legally has a key to your home.

Buy a decent lock for the door to your room and keep it locked when you aren’t home just like the front door to your house. Even if your roommates are trustworthy, you don't control the guests they may invite over when you're not around.

Keep the key on you and not hidden somewhere around the home where an unscrupulous person may find it.

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About Brian McLaughlin

Brian grew up hunting and shooting on the Eastern plains of Colorado. He joined the Navy and spent time working in the 29 Palms Robert. E. Bush Naval Hospital Emergency Room before being sent to Afghanistan with the USMC.
Brian has extensive experience in treating and teaching combat trauma management and has acted as both a student and instructor of live fire and Force on Force training.
Currently, Brian is a full-time student at UC Denver for English, and the father of 3 small boys.


  1. BillyBob Texas on February 26, 2019 at 9:05 am

    Related note: When in your own HOME, and you go to bed at night, consider LOCKING your bedroom door – so IF someone has broken into your home, at least they will have to break down your bedroom door to get to YOU. THAT should awaken you – and give you time to wake up and react (..like ARM UP…) before the bad guy is standing over your bed. We have decided that whoever is IN our house at night – can have anything in it. WE are gonna’ ‘stay safe’ behind a locked door with our cell phone, flashlight, and LOADED and easily assessable weapon, until we can call 911 and stay in there until help arrives. NOTHING, NOTHING in my house is worth going out and confronting whatever and whoever and how many are out there……NOTHING is that valuable. Obviously, if you have family members on the other side of the home, you will have to adjust these plans. But for empty nesters…..STAY BEHIND A LOCKED DOOR !!

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