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Security High On Some Apartment Rental Amenity Lists

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The murder of a young woman in her North Raleigh apartment is changing the way many people look for places to live and how apartment complexes market themselves.

Stephanie Bennett was killed in May when someone broke into her first floor unit at the Bridgeport Apartments near Lake Lynn. The complex does not have alarms for its residents.

At nearby Northridge Crossings, brochures list free, monitored intrusion alarms above all other amenities the complex offers. All units there have a keypad at the front door and a panic button in the bedroom.

"After everything that happened on Lynn Road and that area, I've been setting it more regularly while I'm asleep," said resident Michelle Troch. "It does focus on the doors and windows being opened. The sounds will go off when those things happen."

Northridge Crossing management said customer inquiries have changed a lot since the Bennett murder.

"More and more over the past few months, a lot of people are requesting having extra security systems in the apartment," said Julia Arnold, property manager.

Dominion Apartments on Lake Lynn, which is located next to the complex where the Bennett murder happened, recently started posting lawn signs indicating its intruder alarms. Its management said it is only a coincidence that the signs came up after the murder.

"No one can guarantee resident safety and security," said Lawrence Berry, Triangle Apartment Home Association president.

Berry said demand for alarms has increased in recent years and not just because of the Bennett murder; however, he said the murder has been a wakeup call for both apartment managers and tenants.

"I think we have become more cognizant of the issues of perceived safety and security within our apartment home communities," he said.

The majority of apartment communities do not have intruder alarms, but they are not always the easy answer. Many people who have the alarms said they do not use them.

Berry said security systems are good, but tenants must play an equal part in their security.