Ever since I could remember, my family lived in gated subdivisions. As such, I feel safe growing up within the confines of our village because we have security guards protecting us.

When I finally decided to go out on my own and be independent, my standards in looking for a place to rent were admittedly, idealistic. I wanted to have a place of my own where I could feel the same security as my childhood home and a place that I could be proud of. I finally settled on an apartment building that’s near the place where I work.  It was the only place that I checked that had security guards.

For nearly two years, I felt safe within the walls of my apartment building. Never mind the surrounding environment. I said to myself, at least I’m safe inside my unit. I knew almost all of the guards on duty in our building. Except until I encountered a particular incident that changed my view.

Before going to work one morning, I opened my door and I saw a key that was stuck in my doorknob. I immediately got suspicious when I recalled that I followed the building’s mandatory rule for tenants to give a duplicate key to the guard on duty. The guard I gave my key to was new and was a replacement for the regular guard on duty whom I knew. I kept the key I found and texted my landlord about the incident. I was lucky that I always use a deadbolt aside from my locks to keep me secured.

Days passed and I soon forgot about the incident. I simply doubled the security rituals before I go to sleep. Months later, an incident rocked all the tenants. The new security guard molested a tenant from our floor. It was said that the guard, knocked on my neighbor’s door one night asked to read the electricity sub meter. But when she opened the door to let him in, the guard immediately rushed in, toppled her and started kissing her everywhere.

She tried to scream for help again and again. Fortunately, a neighbor heard her and called a roving barangay patrol for help. Thus, the attacker was apprehended.

When I heard what happened, I was shocked and got scared that this could happen in our building. What was worse, the attacker was the very same person whom we trusted to protect us from criminals. This is not an isolated event. I’ve heard of other crimes committed by rogue security guards from friends and co-workers. It forced me to re-evaluate my perspective in terms of my own security. It made me think how someone like him could qualify to be a security guard?

Can we not be safe especially in our own homes? Isn’t there supposed to be higher standards when it comes to screening guards? More importantly, how can we prevent these incidents from happening to ourselves?