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Multi-Unit Residences Security – Few Steps To Maintain And Strengthening Residential Security

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Managing your property with peace of mind

Security is of great concern to homeowner’s associations (HOA) and condominium boards. Add in a modern blend of retail and dining on the ground floor and residential spaces in the upper levels of the mixed-use building and you need to consider even more issues. 

Each multi-unit building has a unique set of requirements when it comes to security.   Due to the high number of occupants, there is a constant parade of residents, visitors, repair people, domestic help, mail carriers, and delivery personnel.  An added issue is the number of entry points and common areas, including delivery areas, gates, elevators, and parking lots and garages. Large residential complexes can be vulnerable to criminal activity including burglary, home invasion, and even vandalism. Luxury developments can be particularly attractive targets for thieves.  And the more upscale the building, the more attractive it is to thieves.

Nowadays prospective tenants and buyers are a lot savvier about making their residence choices than in previous years thanks to the Internet to support their research.  They are accessing massive amounts of data ranging from crime statistics to walkability scores to help them decide. Safety and security are at the top of their list of things to check before signing a lease and handing over a check.

Increased concern regarding residents’ safety, property damage and alleviating incident-based claims place a spotlight on every condo and apartment organization’s security program. If you implement a security program with gaps in best practices driven by funding shortcuts you will have to deal with increased costs, possible liability issues and shrinking confidence from your residents.  

Residents’ sense of security and safety are major factors in maximizing rental rates and minimizing vacancy, key drivers for building value within the multi-family residential market.

Property management companies and HOAs should consider multiple methods of maintaining and strengthening residential security in and around the entire premises.  We recommend starting with the following few steps:

Undertake facilities survey and evaluation by a qualified Security Consultant.  Only an expert can provide a comprehensive view on all security issues, big and small, and recommend a complete solution. Contact LaMarco to setup free evaluation of your system

Institute smart policies and communicate those to residents to establish a cooperative culture of security.  All residents need to buy into the need for security and take some responsibility for that security. Post educational signage and issue newsletters to remind residents about closing times for pool areas, laundry room, fitness rooms and playgrounds.  

Secure parking areas, emergency stairwells and garages.

These are the most talked about issues at these properties.  Thieves, homeless and vandals take advantage of dark unnoticeable areas of the property.  Adequate lighting and strategically positioned cameras (infrared if necessary) are key to deter vagrants.

Utilize cameras in common areas

such as bike storage and mailboxes that should be in secured areas with access to residents only.  A camera system should cover these areas to identify issues with vandalism and theft.  And remember that cameras are only as good as the people monitoring them; without regular review of surveillance feeds, cameras only provide a false sense of security.

Ensure alarms on doors

to all emergency doors leading to the public should be alarmed to ensure the doors are closed properly.  A sensor system can be implemented to alert management of doors not closed properly.

Establish employee access onlyto all construction material, engineering rooms and supply closets need to be secured with limited access to authorized employees only.

Monitor and manage access for parcel deliveries.

As more people shop online, package delivery is now a bigger security issue in condo and apartment complexes due to potential traffic by unauthorized people.  With a remote access package management solution, security personnel can manage vendor or package deliveries by remotely granting access to a secured package room, which is also monitored by remote personnel at all times. Simply separating the delivery traffic from residential traffic will improve both security and ease building access for residents.

Evaluate and alter landscaping if necessary, for security.  You should work at keeping landscaping in good shape since neglect in this area could be interpreted as a sign that other areas in the residence, such as security, are also being neglected.  Maintain shrubbery to be under 3 feet to reduce hiding places.  Ensure that common outdoors areas are well lit, and that lighting is not creating shadows where someone can hide.

Secure trash bins to avoid illegal dumping and homeless.  In multi-level units all trash rooms should have cameras to ensure rooms are kept sanitary and clean.

We have noticed that many property owners and managers usually do not think about issues other than a key, key card and a few surveillance cameras. But in reality, it takes more than that: only with a well-planned, well-designed system based on the latest technology and best practices, you and your fellow residents can enjoy peace of mind.  LaMarco offers a full suite of integrated technology solutions custom tailored to your specific building needs.  

The good news is that many technology solutions are readily available and while some measures may be easy to implement, others require a greater investment in smart security.  Today’s security systems are drastically different from options available a few years ago due to advances in IP technology, optics, and wireless communication to mention a few.

System integration is yet another contributing factor to constant change. The new way to implement systems will often integrate a system bundle comprised of components from many brands. Keeping up with new technologies is integral to keeping your security system running the way it is intended run.  LaMarco Systems keeps current with technology innovations and is an expert in integrating multiple platforms and technologies into the best in class solutions to our customers.  Below are some examples of critical technologies we use.

IP Cameras offers digital video camera mostly used for surveillance. Unlike analog closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV), IP cameras can send and receive data via a computer network and the internet.  Another difference is video clarity. Today’s video surveillance footage can be much clearer. The picture quality for today’s video surveillance systems is so much more vivid than it was just twenty years ago.

Managed access control.

With advances in technology, security measures are rapidly becoming more effective. With an access control system, residents are issued either a security card or unique smartphone security key that can be touchlessly swiped to enter the building or secured common areas. The swipe also creates a digital log of who is coming and going, as well as a real-time manifest of who is in the building at any given time.

If a physical key card or smartphone is lost, the digital key can be easily discontinued and a new one issued. Proper access control also makes it easier to automatically cancel access to renters or seasonal tenants who are permanently leaving, so there is no more having to track down keys, remember to discontinue access, or change locks. In addition, remotely monitored video surveillance can be integrated with access control to grant access to authorized visitors – or quickly identify intruders.

Motion tracking and monitoring.

Motion detectors often work hand-in-hand with cameras and lights. With motion, the devices are activated – but useful detection relies on someone watching the video feed. The newest line of detectors automatically alerts remote monitoring personnel so they can direct their attention to the camera image and take appropriate action, whether that’s dispatching on-site security personnel or remotely warning intruders to leave with speakers placed in the area.

To schedule an assessment of your site or ask questions, contact us today at 847-239-7590 or click here to request evaluation of your system.