How I Have Been Evaluating Securability Of Various Properties

My self, my things, for the past 6 months minus one day have been largely secured through either attachment to my person or through being in spaces where the attendant locals perform certain social functions. Occasionally certain high value items get locked up. This has involved near constant contact with latino/as and separation from the abjectly idle.1 As far as crime here goes violence against persons outside of intimate relationships and the narcotics trade is rare. Simple bag snatchings, rapiƱas as the locals call them are a frequent occurrence afflicting the Latinas. Burglary of unoccupied residences and commercial properties is also common, and this is the major risk factor I see requiring mitigation.

Uruguay is a poor country with a population that skews elderly. By headcount this means a substantial portion of the population is idle and hungry opportunists of the least effort variety. Many households contain three generations living together in close quarters, and this means:

  1. They are poor targets for the least effort opportunists as someone, even if it is just a zombie, is always home
  2. Younger generations get earfulls of information on all the the neighbors relayed by undead zombies that just won't do the right thing and quit trying to live.

The classic mitigation to this threat appears to be getting a dog or crewing the safehouse so someone is there around the clock. Residential construction commonly features barred windows, and substantial feeling gates, but they are fans here of a large type of brass key on exterior gates that looks fairly circumventable.

The other mitigation is distance and psychological barriers. Early in the search the barrio Villa Dolores seemed like a solid option based on its map location. I'd walked its southern edge countless times on my way to the city center. Walking deeper into the barrio revealed signs substantial and fairly permanent bum encampments inside the once municipal zoo now occupied by lower animals. The construction style there favors front doors opening directly to the street,2 and there goes the neighborhood.

The other big hazard is environmental. It rains here, and roofs tend to be nominally flat. The use of any possible roof space as terrazas and laundry means foot traffic. Foot traffic means puddles. Puddles eventually become leaks. And the locals complain about these leaks the way folks back home complain about ice storms.3 The remedy here also seems to always involve pulling up the roof carpet, and putting down another coat of roof sealant paint while they repaint the interior ceiling to cover the mildew.4

Back home when a roof leaks, there is an issue for the property owner to resolve. Here, where it isn't uncommon for every unit to have a seperate owner… There are several systems for handling this. In one system common in towers and newer construction "common costs" are collected seperately from rent and used for business maintenance and upkeep.

In the other system the structural defect is either an honored part of the building's historic character or the tenant faces "Fuck you, it started leaking with you!" This renders a number of property types a source of liability. If not in the strict financial sense, in the sense that decades of prior neglect turns the lease into a collision course for confrontation with idiots in a system build to coddle their idiocy and adjudicated by similar idiots.

These considerations and the favorable rental market conditions resulting from the overbuilding of residential towers near the datacenter are leading me to the current course. Comments, critiques, and insight welcome.


  1. I mean bums and the undead.  

  2. Along with flimsy ports allowing access to and from the roof.  

  3. By this I mean the complaint is seasonal, and the subject of the complaint is treated as inevitable.  

  4. At no point do they inspect the roof deck or structural members.  

2 thoughts on “How I Have Been Evaluating Securability Of Various Properties

  1. If permitted by your rental situation, a few upgrades to the exterior doors could offer considerable resistance to break-ins. Replace hollow core wooden doors with residential steel doors (light, not too expensive) or as a last resort, solid wooden doors. If desired, paint to match the previous door. Replace existing locks with something nice by Abloy (disc detainer) or Mul-T-lock (dimple with active elements) with steel strike plates. Have a reputable outfit perform the work, otherwise measure everything twice and do the work yourself. Discrete camera surveillance (int/ext) would be icing on the cake… Good luck!

    Cheers,
    S.

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